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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes, 14th October


Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
Harry Bonnell
James Shorten
Lyndis Cole
Sue Goodfellow
Tim Jones
Nik Bowyer
Laura Cardenas


Hannah Lawrie
Cornelia Guell
Iain Stewart
Ian Hutchcroft
Ian Bailey
Jodie Giles
Gill Westcott


Emily Reed
Emily Widdecombe
Doug Eltham

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

2. Progress Report

Emily invited questions on the Progress Report. No further questions.

3. Task Force Response to the Climate Assembly

3.1 Onshore Wind

Patrick and Jodie prepared a first draft of the Task Force’s response to the Assembly’s resolutions and conditions about the role of onshore wind in getting Devon to net-zero. This was circulated to the Task Force ahead of the meeting.

Patrick noted that the Assembly’s resolutions are particularly supportive of onshore wind, which is not what had been expected from the previous evidence heard at the themed hearings and the public consultation.

The Task Force discussed enhancing the role for spatial planning and particularly the need to communicate the assembly’s findings with policy makers and decision makers.

ACTION: Patrick and Jodie will update the first draft.

3.2 Mobility

Nik introduced the first draft of the Task Force’s response to the Assembly’s resolutions and conditions about making car use less attractive whilst maintaining mobility.

Nik highlighted that one of the strongest messages is that the viable, low-carbon options for moving around need to be in place before the financial measures are introduced to encourage people out of their cars. Also that the revenue raised from financial measures must be ring-fenced for investment in transport measures.  

A further point is that only one of the financial mechanisms received more than 50% of support, which was for congestion charging, but even then there were various conditions attached to that.

Patrick asked if the Assembly’s recommendations feel reflective of experiences elsewhere. Nik said that they’re largely what would be expected based on the acceptance of similar policies elsewhere in the UK.

Patrick asked if the Assembly’s suggestion of an independent authority to oversee the collection and spending of revenue raised from financial measures has been implemented elsewhere that partners could learn from. Nik was not sure of examples but will look for some.

Sue said she was surprised by the absence of resolutions about shared transport opportunities. Lyndis agreed and said parish councils can get involved in promoting car sharing.

James reminded the Task Force that electrification of cars is not the silver bullet, but there are few downsides to electric bikes. Nik agreed but noted that there is a hurdle to overcome in people seeing a bike as a transport tool rather than just a leisure tool.

With regards workplace parking, Tim Jones said that businesses across Devon are reliant on staff and clients travelling long distances. There is also a disconnect between employment opportunities for young people in hospitality, tourism and leisure and the location of affordable housing. These issues may have been in the minds of the Assembly participants.

 Lyndis suggested that the repurposing of country lanes for cycling, known as “quiet lanes”, could be considered.

The Task Force discussed whether further research was needed into why people anecdotally appear to continue to use a car for short distance trips when public, shared and active travel modes are available to them. E.g. the example of Cranbrook. This needs to be understood if the new measures are to have the outcome anticipated.

ACTION: Nik will incorporate the discussion into a second draft.  

3.3 Retrofitting Buildings

ACTION: Emily will catch up with Ian Hutchcroft about the retrofit paper.

Patrick asked if there was an alternative Task Force member who could lead on this with Ian’s input?

4. Launch of the Citizens’ Assembly Report

The report was published on the 12th October on the Devon Climate Emergency website.

A public webinar is scheduled for the evening of the 18th October 18:00 – 19:30 to present the Assembly’s recommendations.

Engagement on social media and in the press has been less than anticipated. Patrick and James supported Emily’s suggestion of breaking the recommendations down into bitesize chunks for further communication.

Tim noted that as we get closer to COP26 there are likely to be further opportunities to communicate this.

ACTION: Emily Widdecombe will find ways to synthesise the key messages whilst not losing the conditions provided by the Assembly.

ACTION: Emily Reed will discuss with Devon County Council’s Communication Team about engaging media outlets further.

5. Next Iteration of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan

Revisions to the chapters of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan are continuing but the resource available means this is not at the speed anticipated. The implications of this are not significant as the Interim Plan is already being implemented and action is being collated on the website.

Emily met with Lyndis to discuss structure updates in the last month.

Further progress will try to be made by Emily and Doug alongside the processing of the Assembly recommendations into actions with the partnership.

6. COP26 Green Zone Events

The secretariat has coordinated successful a bid from the Devon Climate Emergency local authorities to run 9 events during the COP26 fortnight. These will be run with community organisations in each area. Some of the events will be physical and others will be the production and sharing online of video case studies of projects.

As part of this, a set of case studies will be collated about carbon reduction and resilience projects in Devon which will be submitted via the Energy Hub for sharing at COP26.

Tim encouraged the Devon Climate Emergency project to coordinate all comm’s coming out of Devon to ensure the suite of activity from all partners has maximum impact.

7. Adaptation Integration

Patrick and Gill raised concerns about the extent to which adaptation and mitigation are being linked within the Devon Climate Emergency process.

Emily outlined the process within the governance of the project for this to occur: Doug and Emily provide the secretariat function for the Climate Impacts Group and the Net-Zero Task Force and so are able to raise areas of opportunity or issues that could impact on one or the other. The Response Group itself is a further opportunity for issues to be picked up as the chair of the Climate Impacts Group attends the Response Group and Patrick is invited to the Response Group, too.

Lyndis said that a practical example of where mitigation and adaptation are meeting is in the development of the Land Use Framework.

Tim explained that the skills, training and apprenticeships agenda are equally important for adaptation as they are for mitigation. Lyndis supported this.

8. Net-Zero Ruby Country Farming Forum

Lyndis asked what was happening with the forum given that its findings would be helpfully integrated into the Final Devon Carbon Plan.

Emily advised that the final report is expected by Christmas.

9. Land Use Framework

Lyndis reported that this project remains at a stage of appointing the contractor to lead the process.

10. Gloucestershire Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group

Lyndis attended this group which is highlighting the need for accredited and impartial farming advice. Possibly learning to be incorporated to farming advice service to be developed in Devon.

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