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Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 30th November 2022

Attendees

Meg Booth
Doug Eltham
Emily Reed
Sara Gibbs
Chris Clarke
Mark Clapham
Steve Marks
Charlotte Brown
Andrew Butler
Mark Kentell
James Cooper
David Edmondson
Claire Gibson
Rebecca Miller
Jason Ball
Penny Tranter
Matt O’Dowd
Alex Gandy
Devon County Council (Chair)
Devon County Council (Environment Group)
Devon Climate Emergency
Public Health Devon
Wales and West
Devon Association of Local Councils
Environment Agency
Devon Climate Emergency
National Farmers’ Union
North Devon District Council
Environment Agency
Torbay Council
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Plymouth City Council
Mid Devon District Council
Met Office
National Grid ESO
Dartmoor National Park Authority

Apologies

Neil Hamlyn
Drew Powell
Angus Berry
Donna Sibley
Janet Williams
Adam Williams
Sally Basker
Harry Barton
David Bartram
Polly Frost
Keir Duffin
David Eaton
Stephen Walford
Victoria Hatfield
Local Resilience Forum
South Hams and West Devon District Councils
South West Water
Torridge and North Devon District Councils
Torridge District Council
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Exeter Science Park
Devon Wildlife Trust
Exeter City Council
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Teignbridge District Council
Mid Devon District Council
Exeter City Council

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were accepted to be a true record.

Members confirmed that endorsement of the Devon Carbon Plan is progressing through committees at North Devon, West Devon and Torbay councils as well as the Devon Association of Local Councils and Dartmoor National Park Authority.

2. Project Progress Report      

2.1 General Project Communications

Charlotte provided an update reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. Charlotte added that the January newsletter will go out slightly later in the month and we would like to mention initiatives planned for 2023 as a ‘climate action to look forward’ section.

ACTION: All to send information to Charlotte for inclusion in the January newsletter.

Doug added that the bid submitted by Devon County Council to the Innovate UK Net-Zero Living fund proposes to continue the scoping work for a Devon-wide community enabling support service for net-zero.

No further questions asked.

2.2 Net-Zero Task Force Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 2.1 and 2.2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes and invited questions.

No further questions asked.

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

No further questions asked.

3. Developing New Governance Arrangements

Doug introduced provided a PowerPoint that detailed the objectives of the alternative structure, an overview of the original structure, what progress has been made so far in researching models used elsewhere, and ideas for the new structure.

Doug asked for feedback on the ideas for the new structure.

Sara Gibbs suggested that a stakeholder map would be helpful to understand which existing groups and partnership could be involved in the oversight of the Carbon Plan. Sarah said that annual action could be focussed on a particular theme to achieve maximum from all partners delivering against a particular issue.

Claire said that using existing groups and partnership for oversight and delivery will mean that the amount of control the Response Group has to deliver will be reduced, but that this is necessary to encourage ownership of net-zero by a wider range of stakeholders. Memorandums of Understanding could be used to set out clearly the expectations. New groups will be needed to deliver on issues that don’t currently have an appropriate partnership in operation.

It was AGREED to make best use of existing groups and partnerships for oversight and delivery.

It was AGREED that a solution for youth representation is needed. Emily suggested engaging with young people through their existing networks and in their own space. Meg supported this suggestion. Alex noted that a mechanism for continuous representation is needed over time as young people inevitably become older.

Jason said he liked the idea of a dashboard to report progress on the Carbon Plan and the Adaptation Plan. This woul dbe particuarlly useful it was kept as live as possible and available to partners and the public. Meg said it would be good to be able to filter the dashboard by theme and geography.

It was AGREED that a dashboard should be developed.

Doug asked for specific feedback on how frequently the Response Group should meet.

It was AGREED to schedule Response Group meetings every month but to cancel meetings if necessary.

It was AGREED that some of the Response Group and Tactical Group meetings should be in-person meetings to visit projects.

ACTION: Secretariat to continue refining a new structure with the Tactical Group for presentation to the Response Group on January 10th.

4. Any Other Business and Partner Updates

Andrew said that 112,000 trees will be distributed in the New Year via the NFU’s Tree Give Away. There will be press activity about this nearer the time.

David reported that the Brokenbury solar farm has received planning consent. The Torbay Climate Emergency Plan will be launching in December.

Matt advised the Group that whilst grid reinforcement costs can be high for new projects looking to connect to the local distribution network, no projects should have been refused a connection. Matt encouraged any partners who have been refused a connection to contact him. From April 2023, Ofgem will introduce new regulations that will enable National Grid ESO to reinforce distribution networks ahead of anticipated demand to plan for growth, which will being to alleviate the issue of excessive connection costs.

Rebecca reported that the city-wide Climate Connections website is launched. Work now begins to encourage stakeholders in Plymouth to upload their initiatives to the site.

ACTION: Charlotte to link to the Climate Connections website from the Devon Climate Emergency website.

Mark Kentell said the launch event for the planting of 20,000 trees as a community woodland on the edge of Barnstaple will happen on Saturday 3rd December.

Chris Clarke noted that Carlton Power has received planning permission for a green hydrogen facility at Langage. Doug added that Rheenergise has received an innovation grant for a pump storage facility near Plymouth, that is hoped to be active by summer 2024.

Emily asked the Group whether the partnership should send letters to Members of Parliament highlighting the support from the Devon Climate Assembly about onshore wind given the activity by backbench MPs about this. The Group AGREED and for the need for continued landscape protection to be mentioned. .

ACTION: Emily to prepare a letter in collaboration with Peter Doyle at Devon CC.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: November to December 2022

Status Indicator Key:  

🔴 [RED] = Significant issue that requires Response Group intervention;  

🟠 [AMBER] = Minor issue that will initially be managed by the secretariat, but the Response Group should be aware;  

🟢 [GREEN] = No issue.  

1. Partnership Update 

1.1 General Project Communications [GREEN] 

1.1.1 Following 

Growth rate across all channels remains at around 2%.

We are set to finish 2022 with just under 9500 total followers. This is an increase of roughly 2000 followers (21%) over the past calendar year

A line graph showing increases in the Devon Climate Emergency Online Communications Following
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

1.1.2 Campaigns

Business Engagement 🟠[AMBER]

Delayed due to other priorities – Secretariat is looking to do more work around business engagement. Initially, this will consist of putting together a slide pack with actions for organisations sourced from the Devon Carbon Plan Quick Read slides, which can be distributed via the South West Business Council. These will encourage businesses to endorse the Devon Climate Declaration. We will also be reviewing and updating the resources for business available on the DCE website and asking businesses to put forward case studies that we can showcase as part of a longer campaign.

Challenge-setters for the University of Exeter 🟢 [GREEN]

  • DCE are acting as one of several challenge-setters for the University of Exeter’s second year Thinktank module. The students will be researching the question, “What is required to enable and encourage young people, including university students, to adopt more net-zero habits and lifestyles?” on behalf of DCE.
  • We will be attending the students’ final presentations, detailing the results of their research, on Monday 12th December. We can then aim to integrate their findings into DCE action and communications in the new year, with the hope of increasing the number of young people engaged with the project.

Adaptation Plan Consultation 🟢 [GREEN]

Communications around the Adaptation Plan consultation – expected to take place in February/March 2023 – are currently being planned. More updates will follow closer to the time.

Devon-Wide Community Engagement 🟠 [AMBER]

The Community Engagement Sub-Group nominated Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council to bring a proposal back to them to enhance the Community Action Group activity across Devon. This has yet to happen due to other priorities. However, a funding bid to Innovate UK was submitted by Devon County Council on 30/11/22 which includes resources to accelerate the design and scoping work for this service. We will be notified in January 2023 on the outcome.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website.

  • The Devon Wildlife Trust are hosting 20 tree events throughout winter as part of the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project, aiming to restore trees lost to ash dieback disease.
  • Devon County Council have submitted a Strategic Outline Business Case for the reopening of the Tavistock to Plymouth rail line to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway programme.
  • BBC Radio Devon’s ‘Make a Difference’ Environment Award 2022 has recognised the achievements of the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme.
  • A new nursery garden project in Torbay is developing a micro-nursery site for trees that can then be planted elsewhere to improve local green spaces.
  • Free training courses delivered by Devon County Council and Cornwall Council are available for specialisms including regenerative farming, electric vehicle maintenance and green construction.
  • Edwards Court, the first Extra Care facility in the Exeter area and the first in the UK to be built and certified to Passivhaus standards, has now opened.

1.3 Governance

At its meeting on the 30th October, the Response Group agreed to review the future governance arrangements for the partnership to see if an alternative could be developed that would be less resource intensive and enable a greater focus on delivery.

The Secretariat has reviewed governance models used elsewhere, as recommended by the Local Government Association, ADEPT and political science and geography researchers at the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter. The Tactical Group has also fed-in to the scoping through a workshop.

The Response Group considered the findings at its meeting on the 30th November and provided further recommendations on a future structure. These will be shared with the Tactical Group and refined into potential structures during December.

The Response Group is expecting to select a preferred option at its meeting on the 10th January. However if more time is necessary to develop a workable and useful setup then this will be extended.

2. Devon Carbon Plan Update 🟢 [GREEN]

Partners, as well as organisations beyond the partnership, are now encouraged to endorse the Plan through their governance arrangements during the autumn. Organisations that have endorsed so far are:

  • Plymouth City Council
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • Devon County Council
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Devon Association of Local Councils

North Devon, West Devon, Exeter and Torbay Councils have the Plan progressing through decision making processes. A number of partners developed funding bids to the Innovate UK Net-Zero Pioneer Places fund. Devon County Council submitted a bid on the Devon Carbon Plan cross-cutting theme of ‘Knowledge Sharing, Skills and Learning’, bringing together the projects on this theme that need developing in partnership, such as the Farming Advice Service, Energy Advice Service, SME Net-Zero Advice, Net-Zero Skills Training. West Devon Borough Council and Exeter City Futures also prepared bids.

3. Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Plan Update 🟢 [GREEN]

RSK has completed its first draft of the climate risk register and has shared this with the Climate Impacts Group for comment. Sub-group workshops occurred during October for colleagues to meet in four themed groups to discuss magnitude and urgency scoring.

Further workshops occurred in November to capture the potential adaptation options and actions against each risk.

Case studies are being collected to illustrate the Adaptation Strategy.

The Adaptation Strategy is expected to be completed by January 2023 for public consultation in early spring. The Group is discussing how that consultation would be handled in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

4. Devolution Update

Government has advised that devolution is paused until at least January.

5. Summary Comments

  • The Devon Carbon Plan has launched and partners continue to implement it. 
  • The Adaptation Plan is being prepared.
  • New governance arrangements are being reviewed.

         

                                             

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