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Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 7th June 2023


Meg Booth
Doug Eltham
David Bartram
John Amosford
David Edmondson
Donna Sibley
Emily Reed
Charlotte Brown
Mark Clapham
Mark Kentell
Polly Frost
Keir Duffin
Rebecca Miller
David Eaton
Paul Elliott
Chris Clarke
Sally Basker
Adam Williams
Lewis Garvey
Victoria Hatfield
Jason Ball
Devon County Council (Chair)
Devon County Council (Environment Group)
Exeter City Council
Public Health Devon
Torbay Council
Torridge and North Devon District Councils
Devon Climate Emergency
Devon Climate Emergency
Devon Association of Local Councils
North Devon Council
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Plymouth City Council
Teignbridge District Council
Plymouth City Council
Wales and West Utilities
Exeter Science Park
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Wales and West Utilities
Exeter City Council
Mid Devon District Council


Andrew Butler
Emmanuelle Marshall
Penny Tranter
Drew Powell
Stephen Walford
Matt O’Dowd
Alex Gandy
Sara Gibbs
Claire Gibson
David Rose
Claire Reid
James Cooper
Lesley Newport
Harry Barton
Angus Berry
National Farmers’ Union
Plymouth City Council
Met Office
South Hams and West Devon District Councils
Mid Devon District Council
National Grid ESO
Dartmoor National Park Authority
Public Health Devon
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
South West Water
Exmoor National Park Authority
Environment Agency
Environment Agency
Devon Wildlife Trust
South West Water

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were accepted to be a true record.

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.

2.2 Devon Carbon Plan Update

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

2.3 Climate Adaptation Strategy Update

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

Emily advised that 120 responses had been received to the consultation so far and that most people are hearing about the consultation via community networks.

3. Built Environment Priority Actions Progress Report

Doug presented the progress report and asked for:

  • Comments on the style of the progress report
  • Challenge about whether the traffic-light key applied to each action feels appropriate
  • Whether the Response Group can intervene to address issues facing certain actions.

The group AGREED the format of the report.

The discussion focussed on Action B1 – Expand whole-house retrofit by working with social landlords to aggregate their housing stock and collectively procure retrofit, as this is the only action reporting ‘red’ status.

The Group agreed that the issues with social housing are bigger than just retrofit, and that the existing Devon Housing Commission led by Team Devon, and the Devon Housing Taskforce being proposed via the devolution deal, are opportunities to get strategic leadership on this.

ACTION: Meg to determine whether the need for retrofit is being incorporated into the work of the Devon Housing Commission and future Devon Housing Taskforce.

ACTION: Emily to arrange for the progress on the priority actions to be published on the website.

4. Owning Net-Zero

Paul Elliott introduced Plymouth’s Pioneer Places project, funded by Innovate UK, called Owning Net-Zero.

The project is looking into how collaboration in marine and heat (buildings) can be used accelerate net-zero, and how the different organisations involved in these sectors look to for leadership.

It’s a 3 month project initially, and will have access to a £15m pot for phase 2 that could be up to 18 months. The second phase will look into the resources needed to make the collaborations happen.

Lewis and Chris offered support from Wales and West, including the opportunity to compare approaches with those being used in Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent around energy.

Polly added that Devon County Council has been awarded a total of £300,000 over two years to attract more “green finance” into the county to help deliver actions identified in the Devon Carbon Plan. This is part of the same grant fund series as Plymouth’s project. The funding will help harness new investment opportunities to support innovative activity which will enable Net Zero commitments to be delivered in the county.

5. Chair of the Climate Task Force

The Climate Task Force is replacing the Net-Zero Task Force, to reflect the need have independent challenge for the delivery of the Devon Carbon Plan and the DCIoS Adaptation Strategy.

The Response Group discussed a short list of nominees and ranked them in order of preference.

ACTION: Emily to invite the preferred nominee to chair the Climate Task Force.

6. Net-Zero and Adaptation Delivery Issues

The Group noted the current cost of construction which is affecting the ability to deliver energy projects and also the ambition for new public buildings to exceed building regulations. Delaying projects until the market has cooled down is rarely an option because of funding deadlines. However it’s not just supply chain issues, it’s also being caused by workforce and skills shortages.

Doug has added this to the issues register.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: May to June 2023

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 remains positive on all channels. Newsletter subscribers have seen a significant jump of 3.5% due to efforts encouraging the public to sign up at the County Show and at a pop-up stand at the University of Exeter. Sign-ups were an optional part of a pledge for people to take action to reduce their emissions. Total newsletter subscribers are now 3,968.

We also received the highest number of total monthly visitors to our website so far, at 2,356.

A line graph showing the increase in online communications following
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Business Engagement 🟢 [GREEN]

A week-long online survey ran at the end of April to understand the usefulness of, and appetite for, a business badge scheme to recognise local businesses acting on net-zero. The findings have been analysed and next steps are to explore a partnership with the Green Accord and to produce a printable DCE poster for partners to display in the windows of buildings that have been upgraded, particularly via the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

County Show, 18th – 20th May 2023 🟢 [GREEN]

DCE showcased the Net Zero Visions project. 114 people committed to a net-zero pledge and 51 of those joined the email mailing list.

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The resource pack has been finalised following feedback and will be made available to all schools. The Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all schools in Devon will be used to do this.

Devon-Wide Community Engagement Service 🟢 [GREEN]

The design and scoping work is underway, being led by Devon County Council. The initial research phase to understand the gaps in community support that need filling by the project has concluded. This is now being used to design the support programme for 2023/24, which will be an extension of the Community Action Group initiative.  An additional extension is being planned for delivery from April 2024.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • Devon Wildlife Trust’s ‘Big Spring Sow‘ has planted miniature wildflower meadows across Exeter with the help of local communities, and more meadows are on their way.
  • The BIG FIX celebrated Repair Cafés and skilled menders who provide broken items with a new lease of life, reducing waste and saving money.
  • Over 100,000 free water-saving devices have been provided to people and businesses across the South West as part of South West Water’s Save Every Drop campaign.
  • The Department for Transport are set to run approved e-scooter trials across the UK, and a fleet is now available in Barnstaple as of Wednesday 17th May.
  • A new two-way, segregated cycleway along Rifford Road in Exeter has been approved by Devon County Council.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟠 [AMBER]

Activity of the Secretariat is has been focussed on preparing for the consultation of the Adaptation Strategy, so there has been little progress this month. However, progress has been made with refining nominations for the chair of the Climate Task Force, and an initial meeting of the Devon Energy Planning Group is arranged for the 22nd June.

2. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN]

Partners continue to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. Whilst the new governance is being established, the Secretariat has begun preparing highlight reports for the priority actions of each section of the Plan. Each section will be seen by the Response Group every 6 months.

The Taking Action pages have been setup so that the actions are filterable by theme, goal and geography. The secretariat is working through the legacy pages so that all of the Taking Action pages will behave in the same way.

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

The consultation launched successfully and will conclude on 30th June.

Communications activity includes:

  • The distribution of a communications toolkit with assets for partners to use to share content
  • A webinar on Tuesday 16th May
  • A paid social media and Google Display Network advert campaign in Devon
  • A radio advertisement on Greatest Hits Radio Devon
  • A press advert in the Western Morning News
  • Distribution of messaging to local newsletters and a special feature in the DCE newsletter
  • A press release sent to media
  • Organic social media posts
  • Pop-up, in-person engagement events

Activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is at the discretion of partners in those areas. However, social media posts by the DCE and regional partners (e.g. Environment Agency and South West Water) are likely to be seen by residents in those areas, as will the Western Morning News advertisement and transmitter-spill from Greatest Hits Radio Devon.

4. Devolution Update

Further enhancements are being added to the Net-Zero and Environment ask about energy planning (incorporating retrofit and unlocking grid issues) and natural environment enhancement. Plymouth and Torbay along with DCC are expected to meet with DESNZ in the next month.

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan, and support available to communities to act will increase soon through the CAG project.
  • The draft of the Adaptation Strategy is subject to public consultation. 
  • The establishment of new governance arrangements have been slower than anticipated but additional time is available for this now that the Adaptation Strategy consultation has launched.



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