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Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes, 29th July


Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
Sue Goodfellow (Vice Chair)
Cornelia Guell
Harry Bonnell
Ian Bailey
Tim Jones
Laura Cardenas
Gill Westcott
James Shorten
Nik Bowyer
Jodie Giles
Kaela Scott (Involve)


Hannah Lawrie
Ian Hutchcroft
Lyndis Cole
Iain Stewart
Kerry Hayes


Emily Reed
Hannah Oliver
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 Reed invited questions on the Progress Report. No questions.

3. New Representation

Emily welcomed Emily Widdecombe who will be taking over the Climate Emergency Engagement role from Hannah Oliver.

Emily also welcomed Jodie Giles who is taking over from Kerry Hayes to represent energy interests on the Task Force. Emily thanked Kerry for her time, expertise and enthusiasm on the Task Force.

4. Citizens’ Assembly

4.1 General Update

Kaela provided the update. The Assembly is now complete. Over the final block the participants worked in small groups to develop resolutions and the conditions that would be attached to those resolutions. They also developed overarching messages for the Devon Climate Emergency partnership that go beyond the three specific issues that have been under deliberation. The participants are now voting on those resolutions.

Tim asked about the general attitude of the participants. Kaela said that 66 of the original 70 participants have been retained throughout the Assembly process which is an excellent retention rate, which shows the members were finding the Assembly an engaging process.

Sue asked whether there had been any reluctance about the focussed scope of the three issues under discussion. Kaela said there was. However, the reasons for this were explained to them (which is because of the work that had already been undertaken through the Call for Evidence, the Themed Hearings and the development of the Interim Carbon Plan). In response to these comments the specific session was provided on the last afternoon to gather the overarching issues.

Sue said that we need to be careful in assuming that the opinion of the Assembly is reflective of the opinion of Devon as a whole, as the Assembly participants have received 25 hours of information and deliberation to form their opinions, which the rest of Devon hasn’t. The awareness-raising will need to continue to raise the understanding of the rest of the population of Devon. Kaela added that there is an opportunity for individual participants to share their experience of being part of the Assembly to explain how their opinions had developed during the process.

Ian Bailey asked about the extent to which the evidence presented was able to influence the deliberations, or whether people were relying largely on previously-held beliefs and understanding. Kaela and members of the Task Force who had been involved in the Assembly blocks agreed that the conversations and questions asked by the participants were very much based on the evidence provided and the facilitators felt this had been absorbed and influenced the resolutions that have been developed.

Patrick thanked all of the Task Force members who gave their time so generously to the running of the Assembly.

Patrick noted that there is a research process underway at the University that is gathering the experience of the participants.

4.2 Communications

Hannah Oliver confirmed that the presentations given to the Assembly are on the Devon Climate Emergency YouTube and there is a good amount of traffic being driven to those from social media.

A number of the assembly have said they are happy to be involved in media stories around the assembly to track their personal story through the process.

Press releases based on the presentations provided to the Assembly participants are being prepared to be released during August to build towards the report being published in September.

4.3 Next Steps

Involve will be drafting a report for the end of August for review by the Partnership and this will be finalised in September.

5. Next Iteration of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan

A masters graduate has been helping to start updating the chapters. The initial Transport chapter redraft is complete and is with Nik for comment. This will also be circulated to the Tactical Group.

General changes in response to the consultation are:

· Reducing the number of priority actions

· Using plain English

· Minimising repetition of the co-benefits

· Editing text and actions in response to specific issues raised from the consultation.

Emily is continuing to determine how the public’s opinion of each action could be published alongside the full consultation report.

ACTION: Emily to look at how the public’s opinion of each action could be published.

Gill asked for greater prominence to be given to actions in the Interim Carbon Plan about raising water quality as it’s becoming increasingly clear that good water quality is paramount for effective carbon sequestration in marine habitats.

ACTION: Emily to consider making the water quality actions more prominent in the Food, Land and Sea section.

6. Communications update

In addition to the information provided in the Progress Report, Hannah highlighted the ongoing Call to Action campaign.

This is being implemented alongside the citizens’ assembly, sharing tangible actions that everybody can do on an individual, household or organisation basis to do their bit. The project partners are getting involved in these and endorsing some of the action points.

Hannah suggested Calls to Action regarding water quality (re Gill’s point above) could incorporated into the campaign with South West Water.

7. Landscape Considerations

7.1 National Planning Policy Framework

The new National Planning Policy Framework has been published. Points to note are:

· The need to shape places that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gases is still included

· It’s more positive about incorporating trees into streetscapes

· Specific wording now included about the development of community forests

· Some points about biodiversity net-gain are awaiting more detail from the emerging Environment Bill

· The challenges that need to be overcome to develop one or more wind turbines remain

7.2 Land Use Framework

The Food and Farming Commission is progressing with its leading of the development of a Land Use Framework for Devon. This is one of the priority actions in the Interim Devon Carbon Plan. The Local Nature Partnership would like to understand more about how a Land Use Framework would be used in practice to influence land management decisions.

Since the last meeting we have not been able to align people’s diaries to have a detailed conversation about this. Doug will attempt to arrange this again.

Tim reiterated that the Land Use Framework is vitally important for achieving net-zero. Sue said that whilst all of the tools to implement the Land Use Framework are not developed, we do have some – the planning system, biodiversity net-gain requirements and private landowners’ philanthropic interests for example.

ACTION: Doug to arrange a meeting between the Task Force and the LNP to discuss the Land Use Framework.

Patrick asked if a similar proposal existed for the marine environment. Sue said that there are aspirations from environmental groups to develop frameworks for the management of coastal areas but that these are in their infancy. Emily said that conversations are ongoing within the Devon Maritime Forum about how they can support the Devon Climate Emergency project.

7.3 Landscape Character Assessments

The landscape character assessments are part of the evidence base that will inform the creation of the Land Use Framework.

Emily has met again with the Devon Landscape Policy Officers’ Group to discuss the need for further public engagement in the updates to the Landscape Character Assessments and they will invite Lyndis Cole to their next meeting. The Group are very receptive to this and are aware of the need to consider more prominently than previously the effect that climate change will have on landscape change – due to habitat change, flooding, erosion etc – and also the effect that the necessary social changes will have – e.g. different approaches to agriculture and energy generation.

There are 68 Devon Landscape Character Areas. Engaging local people about how each of these responds to climate is necessary but it is also clearly a significant task. Jodie Giles suggested that this needs project funding for the Landscape Policy Officer’s Group to properly resource this issue. James Shorten agreed.

Action: Lyndis will be invited to the next meeting of the Devon Landscape Policy Officers’ Group to discuss the scope of this challenge and the process and resources that would be needed to achieve useful outcomes.

8. Business Engagement

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have lots of challenges at the moment – Brexit, Covid etc. Tim presented feedback from a recent South West Business Council survey: Businesses feel unprepared for net-zero and consider that it could be a constraint to business growth.

ACTION: Emily to speak with Tim about collaborating on business engagement

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