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3. Devon Now

Devon Now

3.1 Geography and Economy

Devon has distinctive characteristics that provide the context for planning for net-zero emissions.  Devon is the third largest English county, is generally rural in character and has over 200 miles of shoreline split between 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. Thirty-five percent of Devon’s land area is within Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks and five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are also two World Heritage Sites (the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and Jurassic Coast) as well as the North Devon Biosphere Reserve and Exmoor’s International Dark Skies Reserve. 

The County’s biological and geological diversity is illustrated by the presence of over 200 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 2,100 County Wildlife Sites and 360 County Geological Sites. However, Devon’s habitats have become increasingly fragmented and are vulnerable to development pressures and the effects of climate change. More information about the health of Devon’s environment is available in Devon’s State of Environment Report

Figure 3.1 illustrates the Gross Value Added (GVA) economic profile for the Devon, Plymouth and Torbay area compared to that of the UK. GVA is a measure of the increase in the value of the economy due to the production of goods and services. Devon has a slightly higher economic contribution from agriculture, construction, real estate and substantially more from the public sector than the UK as a whole.

The composition of the Devon and UK economies. Devon has a slightly higher economic contribution from agriculture, construction, real estate and substantially more from the public sector, than the UK average.
Figure 3.1 – Composition of the Devon (top) and UK (bottom) economies by Gross Value Added.

This diversity in geography and economic structure means that the challenges of reaching net-zero will vary between different parts of the County. For example, a net-zero future will look different in Plymouth compared to that of villages in Torridge or a coastal town in the South Hams. The challenges of decarbonisation vary and so do the opportunities, but all areas of Devon need to fully contribute, respecting their individual identities, to creating a resilient, net-zero carbon Devon where people and nature can thrive. 

3.2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

3.2.1 Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

3.2.2 We are Not Starting from Scratch 

3.2.3 Consumption Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

3.3 References

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