16th November 2023
One year since the publication of the Devon Carbon Plan
The Devon Climate Emergency project is raising awareness and encouraging everyone to act.
A range of organisations across Devon have declared a climate and ecological emergency and have endorsed the principles of the Devon Climate Declaration.
Together, we are working on…
Devon Carbon Plan
Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy
The Climate Impacts Group is using its collective knowledge to create a Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy. This will consider how the region and its citizens can adapt to living in a warmer world.
As well as working to create a Devon Carbon Plan and a Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy, partners are also taking action on many immediate projects.
How have local people been involved in the Devon Carbon Plan?
The Devon Carbon Plan has been produced with extensive collaboration with the people of Devon – from the general public and communities to organisations, businesses, local authorities and climate experts.
It was developed in stages from 2019 to 2022:
You can read more about how the Plan was produced here.
What could our neighbourhoods look like?
Communities in Devon have started imagining what their places will look like in a net-zero future through our Net Zero Visions project. We can expect more trees and green spaces, healthier rivers, estuaries and beaches, more space for people to walk and to ride bicycles safely and plenty of electric cars making our streets quieter and the air cleaner. Buildings will have solar panels and water butts and may have external insulation to make them easier to heat and keep them cool in summer.
A resurgence of truly local services would enable people to have the choice of accessing the services they frequently need (e.g. food store, school, medical practice, post office) within a short walk of their home. This reduces the need to travel longer distances (saving money, time and reducing carbon emissions), keeps money in the local economy and offers local employment. It can help us become healthier, too, because those of us who are able to would find ourselves walking or cycling more often. This idea is sometimes referred to as a ’20-minute neighbourhood’ and there are plenty of places in Devon where these already exists. We all have a role to play in making a place like this though, because the local shop, post office or pub only thrive if we use them. But of course people would still able to travel to services further afield – it would be entirely up to you!
How will we travel?
To lower emissions from transport, we need to reduce the need to travel, shift to sustainable transport options and use technology to reduce emissions from vehicles. This looks like:
What will we eat?
You can continue to eat whatever you wish! However in a net-zero Devon there will be a greater choice of sustainably-produced, affordable and healthy food options generally involving less red meat and dairy, that give more information to you about how they have been produced. This will help you make the healthier and more environmentally-friendly choice, which will often support local growers, if you want to.
How will farming change?
Farmers will continue to produce high quality food and they will have been helped to make their practices more climate friendly to restore soil quality and the amount of carbon it contains.
Practices that enhance and maintain soil carbon include:
In addition to the practices above, there is evidence that organic farming can enhance and maintain soil carbon and provide more nutritious food.
Alongside producing food, farmers will be paid by government to provide other public goods through the Environmental Land Management scheme. These goods are:
These will be achieved by, for example, planting buffer strips (areas of permanent vegetation) between fields and streams, planting cover crops in bare fields to reduce soil erosion, planting trees on riverbanks, planting areas of woodland and installing ponds and dams.
What opportunities are there for new jobs?
New industries will be needed to meet net-zero. Devon has world-class expertise in environment and green technologies to facilitate the transition and benefit from the opportunity to create new jobs and local value.
Green jobs are a huge growth opportunity across the UK. Since 2020, 68,000 jobs have been created in renewable energy and clean technology roles already! The government has setup the Green Jobs Delivery Group to create and support up to 480,000 green jobs by 2030. These jobs will be in sectors such as:
The Built Environment
Agriculture and Land Use
Get in touch with your local further education and training centre to find out how they can help you into a green career!
What will be done about waste?
We need to get better use from everyday items and see waste as a resource, so that instead of each of us buying items, using them and throwing them away, we share resources, lease instead of own, swap, repair, buy second hand, reuse and recycle. This is often easier said than done, like many things to do with net-zero, but support is available!
Communities are being supported to setup waste and resources projects like Repair Cafes, Swap Shops and Community Larders. In the future you won’t have to throw something away when it breaks – you’ll be able to find somebody locally who can repair it for you. This should save you money and help make the planet’s limited resources go further.
Waste collection services across the County are becoming more consistent to reduce confusion between areas and give everybody the opportunity to recycle a wider variety of separated materials.
Where will our energy come from?
Energy will come from low carbon and renewable sources. The latest analysis from the Committee on Climate Change, shows that 20% will come from nuclear and biomass power stations, 70% from renewables (largely wind and solar) and the final 10% from solutions that include battery storage, compressed-air storage and ‘responsive demand’ – this means paying large energy users to change the time of day they are using power. In addition, a small amount of supply will come from hydrogen or gas power stations fitted with carbon capture technology – this is needed should the UK experience gaps lasting days to weeks where the wind is light and it is cloudy. This solution, relying largely on renewable energy, is the cheapest way to generate the bulk of the country’s electricity.
In Devon we’ll see more solar farms, onshore wind turbines, storage technologies, hydrogen manufacturing and solar on buildings. Wastes from farms will be used in anaerobic digestors to produce electricity and biogas for use in the local community.
What will our homes look like?
Our homes will be more energy efficient, having been upgraded with more insulation, low carbon heating systems like heat pumps (maybe operating in tandem with a green gas or hydrogen boiler), a solar PV system on the roof and high performance doors and windows. We’ll also have improved ventilation systems that will keep the air inside fresh and dry without letting all that lovely warmth escape!
This will mean cheaper energy bills and more comfort. We’re establishing a Devon energy advice service to help people make these improvements.
For more information about understanding climate change, please see our climate science FAQs.
Changing your behaviour not only helps reduce your carbon footprint but can help encourage others to adopt more sustainable habits!
Community groups and local councils are in a great position to engage people on the ground and raise awareness of the climate crisis.
A range of public, private, and voluntary organisations from across Devon came together on 22nd May 2019 to form the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.
The project is aiming to create a resilient, net-zero carbon Devon – where people and nature thrive.
Achieving this will require collaborative action from everyone across Devon.