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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 11th January

Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 11th January 2021. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


  • Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
  • Sue Goodfellow
  • Doug Eltham
  • Emily Reed
  • Hannah Oliver
  • Ian Hutchcroft
  • Kerry Hayes
  • Lyndis Cole
  • Nik Bowyer
  • Tim Jones
  • Harry Bonnell
  • Iain Stewart
  • Hannah Lawrie
  • James Shorten
  • Cornelia Guell
  • Gill Westcott


  • Ian Bailey

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was AGREED that the minutes are a true record of the discussion.

2. Progress of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan Preparation

2.1 Responses to Date

The consultation has had 220 responses to date. The conversion rate between page landings and questionnaire completion is 20%.

Geographically, there is a good spread across most of Devon, particularly North Devon, other than Plymouth from where there have only been two responses.

Over 55s are represented strongly but very few 16 – 24 year olds have responded to date. This will influence the strategy over the next few weeks – see item 3.1.

The Task Force discussed the comparators we have available as to whether this level of engagement is good. Currently no comparators have been found.

ACTION: Secretariat to continue looking for comparators to judge progress.

2.2 Webinars

We’ve had excellent feedback on the webinars held so far. Three are remaining. Patrick suggested having a look at the consultation responses received to see if they influence what needs to be communicated at the remaining webinars.

ACTION: Secretariat to continue reviewing consultation responses so far.

2.3 Print Copies

Print copies will no longer be available from libraries due to their closure during the lockdown. They will continue to be available direct from Devon County Council.

2.4 Consultation Report

A Consultation Report will be produced summarising the key themes raised through the consultation for the Task Force to consider for 1) changing the text of the Interim Plan and 2) informing the Issues to be discussed at the assembly.  

3. Communications Update

Hannah Oliver outlined plans for increasing social media advertising and specifically new YouTube advertising. This will be used to target 16 – 24 year olds particularly. Gill suggested thinking about how to parents undertaking home schooling, potentially with learning resources.

Hannah asked for Task Force members to contribute to personal videos for social media.

ACTION: Task Force members to contact Hannah if they would like to do this.

3.2 Print Media

The Task Force suggested using local MPs who generally have columns in local newspapers to highlight the consultation opportunity.

ACTION: Secretariat to consider the opportunity for MPs to promote it.

Patrick suggested forward planning for media attention to the citizens’ assembly process.

ACTION: Secretariat to review the communications plan for communication opportunities around the assembly process.

4.     Future Timetable

Learning from the pre-Christmas period is that more time was needed to 1) finalise documents and 2) allow the web contractor to upload the documentation and sort  teething issues.

Looking at the future timetable as currently planned, there needs to be more time added to the timetable.

ACTION: Emily will update the timetable and circulate for comment.

5.     Citizens’ Assembly

The Task Force discussed exactly how the Final Plan will be informed by the Citizens’ Assembly. Doug advised that the Assembly will probably have time to discuss three or four of the six significant challenges identified in the Interim Plan, and its recommendations will be used to update the Interim Plan into a Final Plan. It may be that the public identify further areas of action in the Interim Plan that should be discussed at the Assembly – we’ll be awaiting to see what comes out of the consultation. The Task Force expressed concern that it must be clear that the Assembly is integral to the Final Carbon Plan.

The Task Force discussed how the Issues that won’t be aired at the assembly will be considered in the Final Carbon Plan. Emily advised that actions to address all of the issues were submitted through the Call for Evidence and from the Thematic Hearings, so those actions for the Issues not selected for the Assembly can be fleshed-out and consulted upon as part of the Final Plan.

Iain advised that the learning from the Scottish Assembly is that we may have enough time to look at all six issues, which Patrick agreed with.

Doug reported that the tender for the procurement of the assembly has been launched. The contractor will be in place by 4th April. Following this the contractor will engage with the Task Force to design the assembly sessions. Doug gave the opportunity to Task Force members to sit on the evaluation panel; this will require a full week of resource during the last three weeks of February.

ACTION: Task Force members to advise Doug by Friday 15th January if they wish to be part of the evaluation panel.

Iain asked that we give further thought to how the under 16s can be engaged alongside the assembly process.

ACTION: Secretariat to consider how the under 16s can be engaged further.

Lyndis suggested that further data modelling might be needed ahead of the assembly to make it clearer how much carbon particular actions save. Doug advised that it has been complex to do this because inevitably assumptions have to be made and the resulting margin of error on the numbers becomes considerable. That is why the Committee on Climate Scenario has been used to indicate the emissions trajectory within each sector in Devon.

Patrick suggested there could be a role for research students here, particularly regarding financial questions.

ACTION: Secretariat to document which financial questions would be helpful for potential research at the universities.

6. Any Other Business

Harry reported that Devon Communities Together will be running a project to assist Parish Councils to develop local responses to the climate emergency.

Ian Hutchcroft asked how the partners are doing with their own emissions reductions. Patrick endorsed this, noting that it is now the 2-year anniversary of the county-wide initiative.

ACTION: Secretariat to ask partners to report their progress.

Ian asked how the actions are going to be implemented. Emily advised that the governance structure proposed at Section 12 of the plan will be used to implement the actions that the project partners have control over, whilst there is a more general call to action to wider Devon to implement the Plan collectively. Doug added that there has been good progress in developing new projects in the county over the past year that map directly onto the actions in the Interim Carbon Plan.

ACTION: Secretariat to plan communications showing how new projects in the county map onto the actions in the Plan.

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