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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 26th October

Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 26th October 2020. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


  • Sue Goodfellow (Vice Chair – Chaired this session)
  • Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
  • Ellie Rowlands
  • Emily Reed
  • Doug Eltham
  • Ian Hutchcroft
  • Kerry Hayes
  • Lyndis Cole
  • Nik Bowyer
  • Tim Jones
  • James Shorten
  • Harry Bonnell
  • Cornelia Guell
  • Gill Westcott
  • Laura Cardenas


  • Hannah Lawrie
  • Ian Bailey
  • Iain Stewart

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

2. Preparation of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan

a) General discussion about the Interim Plan

Landscape vs Low Carbon

James Shorten and Lyndis Cole noted that Action 137 was raised by a number of partners as being of significant concern on landscape and heritage conservation grounds and is therefore currently removed from the Plan and has been replaced with an action that will review Devon’s landscape character assessments to fully describe the ‘forces for change’ on landscape arising from climate change.

The Task Force discussed whether there needs to be the development of a question for the citizens’ assembly on the balance between conservation and low-carbon. This was AGREED.

ACTION: James, Lyndis and Emily to discuss whether the replacement action for 137 is still appropriate.

Plan Reframing

Lyndis suggested reframing the Issues in the Plan as goals to give it a more positive feel. This was AGREED.

ACTION: Emily to reframe Issues.


Ian Hutchcroft noted that priority actions need to be highlighted more clearly so that readers can see where efforts should be focussed. Ian believes it will be relatively few actions that will be responsible for most of the emissions reduction that are planned.

Emily explained that this will be communicated through the format on the website and added that the tables of actions will also identify the priority actions.

ACTION: Emily will consider how the prioritised actions can be highlighted more effectively.

Accessibility of the Plan

Kerry Hayes noted that some chapters of the Plan are still quite long which will make it difficult for people to engage, particularly as we would like people to engage with the whole plan, not just individual chapters. Laura Cardenas said that the Executive Summary would provide a more accessible document and that the detail is still needed. Nik Bowyer agreed as some readers will want to see that the actions are grounded in evidence. Sue suggested that the formatting of the website could be designed to hide detail but allow a user to expand the heading if they want to read more.

ACTION: Emily and Ellie to ensure the website allows the Plan to be accessible to audiences with different levels of interest.

b) Update on report elements: Action summary tables, case studies, finance status etc.

Action Summary Tables

Emily showed the Task Force a draft of the action summary tables.

Patrick Devine-Wright asked for “spatially neutral” to be rephrased as “Will occur everywhere”. This was AGREED.

Sue and Patrick said that the tables could be daunting due to the amount of information in them. It was AGREED that the tables will be ordered with the priority actions at the top and that the web version will collapse columns

ACTION: Emily to adjust wording, reduce jargon generally, place priority actions at the top, and work with web developers to make the information accessible.

ACTION: Emily will circulate example table and ask for comments with a deadline.

Case Studies

Within each section there will be short case studies showing how activity is already happening elsewhere or in Devon that demonstrates tangible activity to indicate how the actions might look in reality.

Patrick asked for the case studies to be clearly linked back to actions in the Plan.

ACTION: Emily to ensure the case studies are linked to the actions.

c) Action Scheduling Diagrams

Emily shared the draft Buildings diagram. The Task Force AGREED the concept.

Patrick suggested that the cross-cutting themes should appear on the diagrams somehow.

Sue suggested that the action numbers could be green, amber and red based on their prioritisation from the action tables.

Laura said that the diagrams should be presented early in the Plan.

ACTION: Emily will work with Andrew Rowson to produce the remaining diagrams and work with the Task Force on the prioritisation.

ACTION: Emily will circulate example diagram and ask for comments with a deadline.

3. Communications Update

a) Plans for publicising the Interim Carbon Plan of the NZTF

Ellie outlined the plans. Offline audiences will be reached through adverts in the Western Morning News and parish council notice boards signposting to hard copies in local libraries.

A press release template will be developed by the Devon CC press office which partners can use to amend for their own purposes.

There will be significant activity on social media directing people to the website.

Webinars are being developed for each theme of the Plan for the early part of the consultation period.

Tim Jones asked whether we should be directing specific activity at primary schools. Ellie advised that we will be using Devon CC comm’s channels with schools.

Sue suggested making sure the posters are put up in other places, such as agricultural retailers. Gill suggested Farming Today could be approached.

ACTION: Ellie to consider other communications channels with Devon CC press team.

Lyndis asked how offline audiences can access the Plan if they can’t get to a library. Ellie advised that a hard copy will be posted to them, which will unfortunately mean a large document. At the moment this seems to be the only option.

b) Consultation question feedback and update

Ellie introduced the current draft of the questionnaire following initial feedback from Task Force members. Ellie explained that Ian Bailey has argued strongly that the questionnaire should be focussed on collecting opinion about the Interim Plan and not to start collecting information but other aspects, such as people’s current behaviour.

Tim suggested that collecting behavioural information at this stage could be helpful for the partners, so maybe run a separate survey at the same time.

Patrick indicated that behaviour change would be useful but not part of the consultation questionnaire.

It was AGREED that a separate behaviour change survey will be run at the same time.

ACTION: Ellie to develop a behaviour change survey.

Ellie added that the questionnaire will be tested with a range of Devon CC colleagues.  

Lyndis asked for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be added to the geographic data being collected.

Gill suggested making clear in the questions about governance that whilst community involvement in the governance is required, that involvement will clearly need to be tightly managed.

ACTION: Ellie to update the questions with comments above.

ACTION: Proposed governance model for consultation to be distributed with these minutes to the Task Force.

c) Website design for the Plan

Ellie showed a mock-up of the website.

Patrick asked if Google Analytics is set up on the website. Ellie confirmed that it is.

The Task Force were generally pleased with the website concept.

d) Webinar format and plan

Ellie showed a proposed structure for the webinars.

The Task Force were content with the structure.

4. Task Force and the Response Group meeting

Doug Eltham advised the Task Force how the joint meeting with the Response Group would run on the 28th October. The main purpose of the meeting will be to agree the net-zero timetable to appear in the consultation draft of the Interim Plan.

ACTION: Doug to send the proposed timetable to the Task Force members ahead of the Response Group meeting.

Patrick suggested an agenda item to discuss some of the controversial issues that are identified in the draft Plan and for partners to highlight actions they may have concerns about.

James suggested an agenda item to hear partners’ imminent priorities.

ACTION: Doug to incorporate comments into the Response Group agenda.

5. AOB

Next meeting is the 23rd November.

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