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Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 8th September 2023


Meg Booth
Doug Eltham
Chris Clarke
Sophie Herd
David Eaton
Emily Reed
Charlotte Brown
Sara Gibbs
Hannah Clark
Trevor Wills
Victoria Hatfield
Claire Gibson
Lewis Garvey
Andy Gunther
Adam Williams
Donna Sibley
Jason Ball
Polly Frost
Devon County Council (Chair)
Devon County Council (Environment Group)
Wales and West Utilities
National Farmers Union
Teignbridge District Council
Devon Climate Emergency
Devon Climate Emergency
Public Health Devon
Devon County Council (Transport Planning)
University of Plymouth
Exeter City Council
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Wales and West Utilities
Torbay Council
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Torridge and North Devon District Councils
Mid Devon District Council
Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)


David Bartram
Rebecca Miller
Lesley Newport
John Amosford
David Edmondson
Mark Kentell
Sally Basker
Penny Tranter
Drew Powell
Stephen Walford
Matt O’Dowd
Alex Gandy
David Rose
Claire Reid
Exeter City Council
Plymouth City Council
Environment Agency
Public Health Devon
Torbay Council
North Devon Council
Exeter Science Park
Met Office
South Hams and West Devon District Councils
Mid Devon District Council
National Grid ESO
Dartmoor National Park Authority
South West Water
Exmoor National Park Authority

1. Torbay Council Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIPs)

Andy Gunther presented on this issue. The Torbay LCWIP was adopted in April 2021 with 71% of consultees in support. The co-benefits of healthier people and easier movement around the Bay are prominent.

The Marine Drive to provide more space for walking and cycling has been well received.

The Shiphay Lane scheme will correct a broken link on a thoroughfare to the hospital.

Looking at provision of routes for older people in Watcombe, which has identified quick wins that could easily be applied to other areas.

Business cases are being developed for segregated cycle lanes between Edginswell and the Hospital, Torquay to Paignton Seafront and Waterside to Windy Corner.

Mock ups need to be prepared to visualise these schemes to make the more engaging and to get real engagement from local people before taking forward.

Chris asked whether good parking for bicycles will be part of the plans. Andy said it would be, following an audit of cycle parking in the Bay. Emily added that promoting electric bikes would be worthwhile, which Andy agreed.

Following questions from Sara, Andy said that the ‘Torbay on the Move’ initiative brings in aspects of behavioural science to understand how to sell the benefits of these schemes, but more work is needed. The route selections have considered deprivation and health data.

2. Devon County Council Local Transport Plan (LTP) 4

Hannah Clark presented on this topic. The LTP describes what a local authority wants its transport infrastructure to look like and prioritises investment. Hannah explained that the Devon Carbon Plan will be a golden thread through the LTP.

There are three big themes in the LTP – Net-Zero, Sustainable Choices and Supporting Economic Development. These have fed into the Vision and Objectives, which include a specific objective about health and wellbeing.

The Plan is separated into four geographies – Exeter, Growth Areas, Market & Coastal Towns, and Rural Areas.

Expecting a public consultation on aspects of the Plan development in November and December 2023 with full adoption expected for May 2024.

Hannah also noted that Devon has three LCWIPs in place, with a further three under development. The Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy is currently being amended following consultation.

3. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were accepted to be a true record.

No further questions asked.

4. Project Progress Report

4.1 General Project Communications

Charlotte provided an update reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

Charlotte added that short videos on social media will be used in October to showcase projects that have implemented during the first year of the Carbon Plan.

No further questions asked.

4.2 Devon Carbon Plan Update

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

No further questions asked.

4.3 Climate Adaptation Strategy Update

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

No further questions asked.

5. Net-Zero and Adaptation Delivery Issues

No new issues reported this month

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report 

Period: August to September 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 🟢 [GREEN]

Growth has picked up again as expected following the summer lull and is positive on all channels.

In order to improve how we track our communications activity, new methods of reporting are being trialled drawing on tools such as Meta Business Suite, Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console. As the core goal of our communications is to encourage engagement and behaviour change, the new analytics being evaluated will give us a better picture of how effective our activity is rather than focusing on follower growth alone. Furthermore, expanding our reporting allows us to better understand our website performance so we can boost our Google Search rankings, improve user journeys and ensure that viewers find content engaging.

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

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all schools in Devon in September will be used to do distribute this. 

Challenge Setters with the University of Exeter 🟢 [GREEN]

As we did last year, we will be acting as one of several Challenge Setters for a second-year University of Exeter Liberal Arts module.

Groups of students will complete a research piece on our behalf to tackle a problem that we are having. They will answer the questions, “How aware are young people of the potential impacts of climate change? What practical actions should young people be encouraged to take to improve their preparedness and resilience to extreme events, and how could we best communicate this?” Their findings will inform how the Climate Adaptation Strategy is promoted to a younger audience.

Students will present their research to us in December.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • The Environment Agency and Torridge District Council have begun works on flood defences in Kenwith Valley Nature Reserve.
  • The Ropes to Reefs project, led by the University of Plymouth, will assess the wider ecological benefits of the UK’s first offshore mussel farm, located in Lyme Bay.
  • The Clean Energy Powerhouse Prospectus – developed by independent centre of energy expertise, Regen – has said that the Great South West of England is set to become one of the leading providers of low carbon energy in the UK by 2035.
  • Devon Wildlife Trust is planting a hectare of Northbrook Park to transform the area into a new meadow for people and wildlife.
  • Yealm Community Energy (YCE), a Community Benefit Society (BenCom) based in the South Hams parishes of Brixton, Holbeton, Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo, Wembury and Yealmpton, has launched a community share offer to fund the transfer of three nearby operational solar farms into community ownership.
  • In May this year, over 800 volunteers from Devon and across the UK joined forces for the BIG FIX 2023, to help 2242 residents fix their broken belongings and prevent them from going to waste.
  • The Higher Bullring in Cullompton is undergoing works including the installation of new cycle parking, a bus shelter with a green living roof, planters and bins.
  • Exeter City Council and Circular 11 have teamed up to recycle low value waste plastics collected from local doorsteps, as well as from litter picks and beach cleans, into benches.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

  • Following the endorsement of prospective members of the new Climate Task Force by the Response Group at its previous meeting, those individuals have been invited. The first meeting is scheduled for 26th September.

2. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN]

Partners continue to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. In a change of process, the monthly progress reports on a section’s priority actions are to be reviewed and updated by the Tactical Group before being presented to the Response Group. This should provide a further opportunity to gather as much pan-Devon information as possible into the report.

A solution for displaying the Priority Action Progress Reports on the website is being reviewed by the Tactical Group.

The Secretariat is updating the data for the monitoring indicators.

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

A draft consultation report, including proposed amendments to the strategy was made available for the Climate Impacts Group to review from the 17th August through to the end of September. Further amendments may be necessary in October. The Response Group will be invited to endorse it by its November meeting, after which individual partners will be encouraged to endorse it via their formal procedures.

4. Devolution Update

No formal update this month. 

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan.
  • The Climate Task Force is meeting for the first time at the end of September.
  • The adaptation strategy consultation report has been drafted and is with the Climate Impacts Group for initial comment.



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