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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 22nd March

Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 22nd March 2021. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


  • Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
  • Doug Eltham
  • Emily Reed
  • Hannah Oliver
  • Ian Hutchcroft
  • Kerry Hayes
  • Lyndis Cole
  • Nik Bowyer
  • Tim Jones
  • Harry Bonnell
  • Iain Bailey
  • Hannah Lawrie
  • Gill Westcott


  • Ian Stewart
  • Cornelia Guell
  • James Shorten
  • Sue Goodfellow

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

Lyndis asked for the Any Other Business point about quantifying carbon savings to be accompanied with an action point to set up a one-off sub-meeting to discuss this further.

Action: Emily to update minutes and check with Task Force members not here as to who will join in with that meeting.

Other than the above, it was AGREED that the minutes are a true record of the discussion.

2. Progress Report

2.1 Meeting with Response Group

Ian fed back from his attendance at the Response Group on the 18th March 2021. The Response Group understood the need to collectively lead the system change required to achieve net-zero and discussed with Ian the priority steps.

The Task Force discussed whether the theme boards proposed as part of the governance structure within Section 12 of the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan would achieve the step change necessary to take action quicky.

ACTION: Secretariat to feed back to the Task Force the outcome of the next Response Group where this will be discussed further.

ACTION: Task Force to review the suggested working group structure for implementing the Plan in light of the consultation.

2.2 Revised Devon Carbon Plan Process

The Task Force members commented on the revised timetables they initially saw at the previous meeting.

The Task Force expressed concern at the length of the revised process. The Task Force AGREED for this to be raised with the Response Group and to be encouraged to streamline the process.

Options that could be considered by the Response Group are:

  1. Does there need to be a public consultation on the actions to be implemented by the partners as a result of the recommendations from the assembly, considering the actions will have already been informed by the assembly?
  2. Use a deliberative poll instead of a full public consultation which could make the processing of consultation response shorter.

ACTION: Secretariat to discuss options to truncate the timetable with the Response Group.

3. Citizens’ Assembly

3.1 Update on Procurement of Provider

Emily advised that the procurement process for the recruitment and facilitation provider is now in its standstill period until April 8th.

3.2 Citizens’ Assembly Project Team

Emily asked for two volunteers to sit on the Citizens’ Assembly Project Team, which will have delegated authority to make day-to-day decisions to keep the citizens’ assembly project on schedule. The team is likely to meet at least once a fortnight.

ACTION: Task Force members to advise Emily if they would be happy to sit on the Team.

3.3 Assembly Chair

Emily asked the Task Force to continue to think about potential chairs. Patrick asked for the role to be firmed up which Emily confirmed will happen once the contractor is place – bearing in mind that the contractor may recommend not having a chair at all.

Hannah Lawrie favoured going with the preferred contractor’s view on whether or not a Chair is required given their experience of running such events.

3.4 Framing the Issues

Emily had circulated a paper combining the six issues for potential deliberation at the assembly, as described in the Interim Devon Carbon Plan, into three overarching issues that enable all issues to be discussed.

The Task Force AGREED with this principle.  

Patrick suggested the road capacity issue feels almost too focussed and would be better combined with the measures that would need to accompany it – active travel, public transit etc. Nik confirmed that the original wording was a framing from specific concerns raised through the Public Call for Evidence and agreed it is too narrow.

Ian Bailey suggested ensuring the questions are all open. Ian suggested “How should Devon’s transport infrastructure and provision change to meet the objective of reducing emissions? Please consider linkages between reducing emissions, protecting and enhancing mobility, and promoting vibrant economies in both urban and rural areas (and links between the two)?” or “What is the role of reducing road capacity within a wider strategy to reduce traffic, and what approaches are appropriate for Devon?”

Gill said that the assembly members will need examples of options to inform deliberation. Doug advised that the expert witnesses will do this, which the contractor will help us select.

Nik said that incorporating the carrots and sticks options for transport into the transport question could work. Patrick agreed and said that we’d just need to be careful that the questions don’t get so large that useful outcomes are not achieved from the deliberation.

Ian Bailey suggested giving more prominence to the onshore wind discussion. Lyndis expressed concern that the wind issue may eclipse other landscape issues due to the sensitivity of this issue, however Kerry felt that having wind as part of the broader landscape conversation was useful.

Gill and Lyndis said that the diet issue needed to reflect the complexity of the links between dietary recommendations and the implications for pasture in Devon. Whilst we need to reduce livestock emissions pasture is an important carbon store, as well as habitat.  

The Task Force AGREED having one question on transport, one on buildings and one on landscape felt the right way to go, subject to further refinement with the contractor.

ACTION: Secretariat to elaborate initial thoughts on what the sub-topics will look like under each theme. Lyndis said she will help with the question on land use.

4.     Engaging Under 16s Further

Emily reported that ideas are being developed with colleagues in the Devon Climate Emergency Partnership to improve engagement with young people alongside the citizens’ assembly. 

Tim suggested it would be helpful to split the age groups out further to help think about communication strategies with each. Engaging with schools has a double effect of reaching parents, teachers and governors too but some Task Force members urged caution with the potential resource implications of engaging with schools.

Task Force members suggested reaching out to existing networks working with schools, such as Careers South West, with a call for action. 

Doug suggested a set of curriculum resources developed for the SEACS project in 2012 could be updated to the present day context and relaunched.

Nik emphasised the importance of being clear how we are considering and incorporating the views of under 16s if we are engaging them.

Action: Secretariat to continue developing a plan to engage under 16s.

5.     Communications Update

Hannah reported a 57% increase in social media followers over the previous 5 months due to the consultation on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan.

The Devon Climate Emergency has been updated to make navigation to Taking Action more clear in response to the Task Force feedback. The actions are linked to the action in the Carbon Plan that they are helping implement.

Hannah also said that resources for organisations, particularly SMEs, have been added to the website too. Tim suggested getting this out via other commercial partners would be useful, such as local retailers. Tim further suggested that the Federation of Small Businesses and South West Business Council would be useful advocates here.

Action: Tim to share contacts with Emily

8. AOB

Lyndis suggested some ideas for student research. Lyndis will send these through to Emily.

Patrick advised that the outcomes of the Perceptions on the Citizens’ Assembly research will be available for the next Task Force meeting.

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