3.1 Geography and Economy
Devon has distinctive characteristics that provide the context forplanning for net-zero emissions. Devon is the third largest English county, is generally rural in character and has over 200 miles of shoreline divided along two coasts. Devon also has major urban centres, the largest of which – Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter – account for almost half of its population.
Devon is recognised for landscapes of national importance and its biological and geological diversity. However, Devon’s habitats have become increasingly fragmented and are vulnerable to development pressures and the effects of climate change.
Devon has a slightly higher economic contribution from agriculture, construction and real estate, and substantially more from the public sector, than the UK average.
This geographical diversity means that the challenges and solutions for reaching net-zero will vary across the County.
3.2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
3.2.1 Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Figure 3.1 shows Devon’s production greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019, the latest available data and the data used throughout this Plan. ‘Production’ means these data reflect the GHG emissions that arise from activities within the boundary of Devon. These totalled 7.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The most substantial emitters are Buildings (39%), On Road Transportation (30%) and Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (17%).
International trade means that many of the GHG emissions associated with life in Devon are not emitted locally but instead occur elsewhere. For an explanation of consumption emissions see the Full Version of this Plan.
1 Mitchell A. et al. (2020) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report – Devon, Plymouth, Torbay 2019. Centre for Energy and Environment, University of Exeter. Available at: https://devonclimateemergency.org.uk/studies-and-data/devons-carbon-footprint/