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Devon Climate Task Force

The Devon Climate Task Force is using its specialist knowledge and experience to offer advice on and scrutiny of the implementation of both the Climate Adaptation Strategy and Devon Carbon Plan. The Climate Task Force has now superseded the Net-Zero Task Force, who developed the Devon Carbon Plan.

The Task Force members have expertise in topics relevant to carbon reduction and climate adaptation and are drawn from business, environmental, community and academic organisations.



Minutes of the latest meeting:







Claire Pearce a woman with short dark hair and a red top

Claire Pearce (Chair)

Claire is a project manager at the University of Plymouth, where, over the past 10 years, she has managed a variety of European-funded economic development projects, including the Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre’s PMCN and Low Carbon Devon, supporting Devon companies in the low carbon economy.  She is now working on further net-zero knowledge exchange projects throughout the south west, including Cornwall.

LinkedIn profile.


A man with short hair and a big smile with a shirt on

Patrick Devine-Wright

Patrick is Professor in Human Geography and an environmental social scientist at the University of Exeter. He specialises in researching issues of social acceptance and community engagement with sustainable energy transitions. Patrick is Director of the ACCESS (Advancing Capacity in Climate and Environment Social Science) leadership team for environmental social science funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. He was a Lead Author for the IPCC Working Group III in the 6th Assessment Round contributing to a chapter on ‘Demand, Services and Social Aspects of Mitigation’. 

Twitter profile.


George Middlemiss

George is a Local Energy Analyst with Regen where he supports their community energy work. George plays a significant role in the Devon Community Energy Network, supporting local community energy organisations to develop their expertise, share knowledge and collaborate. This has involved organising the annual Spring Gathering, a two-day, open space event in Dartington, Devon, that helps build a community of practitioners who want to take practical action to reduce emissions and support their community. Before joining Regen, George studied sustainability at the University of Leeds, and worked at a start-up energy supplier and a social housing provider.



Nik Bowyer

Nik has over 16 years experience as a Chartered Transport Planning Professional. He is a national council member, Fellow, and a Director of one of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation’s Strategic Boards. He specialises in strategic transport planning, modelling, and transport economics. Nik has a strong interest in promoting Public Transport and walking, wheeling, and cycling. 

Nik is currently Programme Manager at Bath & North East Somerset Council, delivering the West of England Combined Authority’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement programme.

Previously, Nik was an Associate Director at AECOM. He studied Geography at the University of Exeter.

Nik’s LinkedIn profile


White woman with long blond hair and small stud earrings in a floral top standing outside.

Hannah Lawrie

Hannah has 24 years’ experience as a waste management, resource efficiency and sustainability consultant, is a Chartered Waste Manager and an Earth Sciences graduate from the University of Oxford. 

She manages Ricardo’s Global Sustainability Practice which provides expertise to organisations to measure where they are on their sustainability journey, set strategies and monitor their impact on society and the environment.

Hannah is the Circular Economy (Waste & Resources) Sector lead for the South West Infrastructure Partnership Steering Committee and sits on the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management’s South West Centre Council. 


Laura Cardenas

Laura is leader of the Atmospheric Emissions Section at Rothamsted Research in Devon. Laura has a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of East Anglia and has more than 30 years experience in research to assess and mitigate emissions from agriculture. She is a key contributor to the Defra UK’s agriculture greenhouse gas inventory and is an expert agriculture reviewer for the UNFCCC.



James Shorten

James is a geographer and planner at TerraPermaGeo. For over 30 years he has been working to increase the effectiveness of the planning system as a key tool for better protecting and engaging with the natural world whilst meeting communities’ needs. The climate and ecological crises bring this into even sharper focus. James has set up the Regenerative Settlement CIC to help accelerate this work.


Tim Jones

Tim is Chairman of the South West Business Council and Chair of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Foundation. Previously, Tim was the first Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. As a chartered surveyor, Tim has been involved for over 30 years in a wide range of property issues. Tim is now extensively involved in commercial property development across the south-west peninsula.


Gill Westcott

Dr Gill Westcott is Co-Chair of Transition Exeter, a co-founder of Cheriton Bishop Community Land Trust and a freelance researcher. She is a Mid Devon District Councillor, grandmother, and a director of New Prosperity Devon, a social enterprise promoting fair and sustainable local economies.



Ashish Ghadiali

Ashish is the founder/director of Radical Ecology, Co-Chair of the Black Atlantic Innovation Network and Co-Principal Investigator of Addressing the New Denialism, a programme of research and public engagement for the University of Exeter quantifying the human cost of global warming. He advises the Representation and Decolonisation process at The Box , is a governor of Exeter College, a writer (including for The Guardian and The Observer), artist and curator. Recent credits include the exhibition Against Apartheid (2023), Planetary Imagination (2023), and the documentary, The Confession (2016).


Kalkidan Legesse

Kalkidan is a social entrepreneur who works to deliver scaling businesses that are environmentally sound and socially inclusive. In 2015, she founded Sancho’s Shop, operating as one of the largest solely ethical and sustainable fashion retailers in the UK. She is Co-Founder at OWNI, an AI powered digital resale platform for sustainable fashion brands, facilitating the circular economy. Kalkidan advocates for intersectional environmentalism, anti-racism and effective social leadership.

Kalkidan’s website provides an overview of her work.


Peter Nickol

Peter has for many years been an active campaigner for public transport, and represents Exeter & District Bus User Group on the Task Force, as well as taking a wider interest in active travel (walking and cycling). He was for some years chair of the River, Canal and Quayside Group within Exeter Civic Society. Professionally he is a book editor specialising in music education, now largely retired but still active as a composer and choral singer.



Ian Hutchcroft

Ian is part of the Energiesprong team adapting the Dutch developed approach for the UK market, working closely with teams in Netherlands, France and Germany.  He is leading ground-breaking delivery projects across the UK, including the Mayor of London’s Retrofit Accelerator Homes programme and the Zero Energy Buildings Catalyst project in Devon, and is working with leading social landlords and industry partners to build a volume market. Ian is also Chair of Plymouth Energy Community and has previously worked with leading NGOs, local authorities and architects developing low carbon solutions.  He has won two Ashden Awards for sustainable energy innovation.

Ian’s LinkedIn profile.


Paula Hewitt

Paula Hewitt is the chair of the South West Infrastructure Partnership. She was Deputy Chief Executive, Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure and also the Director of Commissioning at Somerset County Council. Paula was acting CEO at Somerset County Council during 2022. Paula led Somerset’s work to secure a legacy from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. She was also heavily involved in co-ordinating the Local Authority response to the Somerset winter 2014/15 floods and led work to minimise future flooding through establishing the Somerset Rivers Authority. Consequently, she was an expert advisor to the European Committee of the Regions in relation to disaster resilience.


Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

Ian is Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Plymouth. Ian’s research interests span several areas of environmental policy, including national climate change acts and local net-zero transitions, the politics of carbon environmental markets, social debates on renewable energy transitions, plastics pollution, and environmental and climate justice. He is a member of the University of Plymouth’s Sustainable Earth Institute Executive and has keen interests in environmental values and conservation from living and working on his farm.



Harriet Bell

Harriet Bell is Regenerative Farming Lead, Riverford Organic Farmers. Having started her career with a communications focus for sustainable brands, Harriet’s been taking a “learn by doing” approach to agriculture for more than a decade. Working, largely in the organic sector, on farm diversification, innovative estate management and agricultural policy, Harriet has been the Regenerative Farming Lead for Riverford Organic Farmers since December 2021. Agroforestry is a prevalent theme in her work but Harriet’s overriding interest is in building resilience to climate change within agriculture.

Harriet’s LinkedIn profile


Jo Atkey

Jo is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Devon Communities Together and a Director of Plymouth Energy Community Homes. A proud Plymouthian, Jo returned to Devon after studying at Manchester University. Jo worked with Plymouth City Council, initially in planning, economic development, and urban regeneration, before moving to the social inclusion unit, after which she spent 5 years as a senior policy advisor. Since 2011, Jo has worked in the voluntary sector on projects tackling social isolation, as planning and engagement manager at the Dartington Hall Trust and setting up a new charity for the National Trails network. 

Jo’s LinkedIn profile


Lyndis Cole

Lyndis is an ecologist and landscape planner. She was a Director at Land Use Consultants (LUC), latterly leading on all aspects of landscape planning.  Over the last 15 years she has focused on the interface between landscape and climate change mitigation and adaptation, including leading major national research studies for government on the future of Agri-environment schemes. She has recently retired as a member of CPRE’s national policy committee and writes on landscape and environmental issues.



White man in a beard with a red baseball cap and a red and white striped shirt holding a microphone

Richard Betts

Richard is Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter and Head of Climate Impacts Research in the Met Office Hadley Centre. He has worked in climate modelling since 1992, particularly focussing on interactions between the atmosphere and land ecosystems, and he has played a pioneering role in incorporating biological processes into climate models. Richard has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was technical lead for the UK’s 3rd national Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3). He is now serving as Expert Advisor to the UK’s Climate Change Committee. He is a keen advocate of enabling people to make more sustainable transport choices such as cycling or walking.

Richard’s profile


Clark Denby

Clark is a faculty Manager for Higher Education: Curriculum Development and Student Engagement at Petroc College. He lectures primarily upon community development, active travel and mobility. Clark is an active cycling advocate and researcher who has always felt the freedom that a bicycle can bring to life. He’s interested in telling more stories about just how good cycling is for our sense of happiness and our communities.

Clark’s profile


Terms of Reference




To use its specialist knowledge and experience to offer advice and scrutiny of the implementation of the Adaptation Strategy and Devon Carbon Plan. The Climate Task Force will prepare a schedule of themed meetings and will be provided with a progress report against the actions of that theme on a quarterly basis. This activity will focus on the priority actions initially. The Task Force will be able to invite additional attendees to their meetings in order to ask questions relating to progress on actions.

The Climate Task Force will also use their influence in Devon to be ambassadors and advocates for action on climate change.



An annual, concise report to the Response Group commenting on implementation progress of the Adaptation Strategy and Devon Carbon Plan.  

Quarterly recommendations to the Response Group, as necessary, arising from the Task Force’s regular meetings.



Meetings will be quarterly, additional meetings may be called if necessary.




The minutes of the Climate Task Force will be published on the project website following their sign-off.



The number of Task Force members will be determined by the representation required to achieve the required Qualities, Experience and Knowledge as outlined in Appendix 1. All members will be invited by the Response Group and will represent a variety of stakeholder groups and sectors.

Members may be privy to sensitive information at times and papers shared with the group and their contents should not be shared beyond the group without prior agreement with the Secretariat. Should the Devon Climate Emergency partnership feel a member of the Task Force has brought the group into disrepute they may be asked to step down.  



The secretariat will consult the Devon Climate Emergency partnership in order to present nominations for the chair to the Response Group who will invite and appoint a chair accordingly. The Response Group can change the chair.




The Task Force will seek to make decision by consensus. If necessary, decisions can be taken by a majority vote, with the chair holding an additional casting vote.



The Project Manager will provide practical support to the Task Force. The Task Force can seek advice and input from others to inform its activities.



Devon County Council’s Environment Group will provide the secretariat, including the Project Manager.

Appendix 1. Climate Task Force Qualities, Experience and Knowledge

Qualities of each person

    • A passion for addressing climate change

    • A desire to find workable solutions to problems

    • A willingness to provide honest and constructive feedback

Lived experience across the Task Force

    • Experience of living in in social housing or private-rented accommodation

    • Business owner or manager

    • Experience of working in local government

    • Representing businesses e.g. via a  Chamber of Commerce

    • Having your home or business premises retrofitted

    • Experience of engaging communities or organisations on environmental and social issues

    • People aged 18 – 25

    • Experience of land management, farming or fishing

    • Involvement in the Community Energy sector

    • Regular users of active travel in Devon

    • Regular users of Devon’s public or shared transport

    • Experience of using electric vehicles

    • Provision of net-zero skills training

    • Having dealt with the effects of extreme weather e.g. flooding or overheating

    • Experience of planning to reduce climate risks in communities or business

Knowledge across the Task Force

    • Public health issues relating to climate change

    • Retrofitting buildings

    • Embodied carbon

    • Innovative finance

    • Climate adaptation in the built environment

    • Climate adaptation for infrastructure

    • Climate adaptation for the natural environment

    • Climate adaptation for the economy

    • Climate risk planning

    • Local planning processes and development plan preparation

    • Low-carbon construction

    • Delivery of new housing

    • Circular economy

    • Behavioural change

    • Skills

    • Sustainable energy generation and storage technologies

    • Nature based carbon stores, including in the marine environment

    • Procurement in large organisations

    • Food supply chains

    • Active travel

    • Public transport

    • Delivery and freight logistics

    • Deployment of low-carbon transport technologies

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