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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 26th May


Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 26th May 2021. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


  • Doug Eltham
  • Emily Reed (chaired this meeting)
  • Hannah Oliver
  • Ian Hutchcroft
  • Kerry Hayes
  • Lyndis Cole
  • Nik Bowyer
  • Tim Jones
  • Ian Bailey
  • James Shorten
  • Gill Westcott
  • Iain Stewart (from Item 3.4)
  • Kaela Scott (from Involve)
  • Dominic Ward (from Involve)


  • Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
  • Sue Goodfellow (Vice-Chair)
  • Hannah Lawrie
  • Cornelia Guell
  • Harry Bonnell
  • Iain Stewart
  • Laura Cardenas

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was AGREED that the minutes are a true record of the discussion other than that Ian Hutchcroft was actually not in attendance.

Action: Emily to amend the previous minutes to change Ian’s attendance.

2. Citizens’ Assembly

2.1 Recruitment

Fourteen-thousand invites were sent out on 11th May. Window for people to express an interest closed on the 24th May. By the 31st May the 70 people will have been selected by the Sortition Foundation and passed across to Involve to begin the onboarding and training process. Sortition have been impressed with how many young people have responded to the call.

Tim Jones raised the issue that the wider pool of people not selected within the final 70 may feel ‘left out’ of the process and could potentially be disruptive. Emily advised that further communications with those people about how they can remain engaged with the process are being developed.

2.2 Update from the Assembly Project Team

Kaela Scott reported that planning has been continuing. The six big challenges identified in the consultation on the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan have been refined down to three by the Assembly Project Team, which cover four of the original six. The refined issues are currently (still with further refinement to do):

  1. Reducing car and road use while retaining mobility
  2. Retrofitting homes and commercial buildings
  3. Role of onshore wind energy generation in Devon

Emily provided clarity on why these had been developed and how the remaining two challenges are being taken forward through other approaches.

These are:

  1. Pressures on landscape. Take this forward through updates to the landscape strategies and guidelines within Devon’s Landscape Character Assessments to plan positively for achieving net-zero and the changes which climate change will bring. The Devon Landscape Policy Officer Group leads on this. It has been acknowledged that whilst the Landscape Character Assessments do involve gathering the opinion of local people, the extent of engagement in the past has been limited and this time round the engagement needs to be much stronger. The proposed Land Use Framework and Nature Recovery Network also provides opportunities for engagement around landscape change.
  • The need to change diet to eat at least 20% less meat. Take this forward through the new Devon Food Partnership to address demand-side issues and the Ruby Country Farming Forum which is looking at how the beef industry can transition to net-zero.

Clarification questions on this were asked by Lyndis, Laura and Gill.

Action: Secretariat to arrange an opportunity for Lyndis to meet with the Devon Landscape Policy Officers’ Group.

Kaela explained progress on the wider framing and operation of the deliberations and responded to questions and suggestions from the Task Force members.

3. Consultation Report and updating the Interim Plan

A draft of the Consultation Report on the consultation exercise on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan has been shared with the Response Group and Tactical Group for comment. It will be taken to the Response Group in June for sign-off and publication.

Action: Task Force members to provide comment on the draft Consultation Report to Emily ASAP.

Lyndis suggested making more prominent the comments received about how the report format could be improved to make it clear that we will address those comments.

ACTION: Emily to make the comments about the report format for prominent in the Consultation Report. James asked how the draft Consultation Report has been received by the Response Group and the Tactical Group considering the overwhelming level of support for quite challenging actions. Emily and Doug advised that the project  partners are committed to the changes described in the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan and they have been involved in the drafting of the actions throughout the process so they are content with what it proposes. The real challenge will be turning the actions into reality, which will need new finance, investment models, behaviours and resources.

4. Refining carbon savings from actions

Doug explained how the proposed approach is two-fold – top-down and bottom-up:

  1. We will improve how the Interim Plan links its actions to the carbon reductions attributed to particular outcomes within the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Further Ambition Scenario. To do this, we’ll group actions that are designed to overcome issues to achieve a particular outcome. E.g. we’ll group the actions in the Built Environment section that will help achieve the carbon reductions associated with getting all homes in Devon to Energy Performance Level C.
  • The theme boards to be established to oversee the implementation of the Plan will develop more detail related to each action and collect proxy data to demonstrate progress on delivery whilst getting on with implementing the Plan. For the Built Environment example, this will involve understanding exactly what the domestic retrofit opportunity is (in terms of the number of each type of measure), assigning an estimated carbon saving to that measure and then subsequently collecting data on the number of households receiving energy efficiency and renewable energy measures as the decade progresses.

Lyndis said this sounds good but that we might need some calculations where some of the actions proposed by the CCC that are being implemented nationally may not occur in Devon or where Devon has a greater opportunity to contribute, such as peat reserves.

Doug explained there will be holes in the numbers, such as the currently unknown potential for the Devon marine environment to provide sequestration opportunities, which the Plan already acknowledges.

ACTION: Involve Lyndis in the resolution of assigning carbon savings to actions.

5.  Communications update and strategy

5.1 Youth engagement

Following on from the conversation at the last meeting about youth engagement, Hannah is developing a strategy through schools to 1) increase awareness of the project, 2) share classroom resources, and 3) provide opportunities for young people to be involved in the remaining stages of developing the Devon Carbon Plan.

Hannah advised that the project now has a regular slot in the Devon Schools Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all school administrators by email.

Ben King, a UN-accredited Climate Change Teacher in Devon has provided advice about getting messages into the classroom to inform the engagement strategy.

5.2 Citizens’ Assembly

Press releases were picked up by a few local news outlets. Next phase of communication will be to explain the themes the assembly will discuss once these are finalised. The third phase will explain how the assembly will operate.

A ‘Call to Action’ project is being implemented alongside the G7 next month, sharing tangible actions that everybody can do on an individual, household or organisation basis to do their bit.

The Devon Climate Emergency project will be part of the Devon County Council stand at the Devon County Show, which coincides with the Climate Assembly. This will focus on helping people understand where carbon emissions come from in their everyday lives.

6. Any other business

Emily reported two projects that Patrick Devine-Wright wished to share with the Task Force:

  1. Silvopasture study in Devon

Research into the role of land-based greenhouse gas removal techniques

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