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Net-Zero Task Force minutes 18th November 2019

Devon Climate Emergency Net-Zero Task Force minutes 18th November 2019.
Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.


Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
Ian Bailey
Kerry Hayes
Laura Cardenas
Gill Westcott
Ian Hutchcroft
Harry Bonnell
Iain Stewart
Nik Bowyer
Doug Eltham (Devon County Council, Environment and Sustainability Policy Officer)
Emily Reed (Devon County Council, Devon Climate Emergency Project Manager)
Mike Bomford (Devon County Council, Digital Communications Manager)


Sue Goodfellow (Vice-Chair)
James Shorten
Cornelia Guell

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was AGREED that the minutes were largely a true record of the discussion but that two amendments were necessary:

  • Remove Hannah Lawrie from the list of attendees
  • Add an additional risk discussion to the agenda item regarding the Risk Register relating the ongoing development of infrastructure in Devon that could lock Devon into greenhouse gas emissions well beyond 2030.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to make these amendments to the minutes of the previous meeting.

Progress on Phase 1: Evidence Gathering

a) Themed Hearings

The Task Force discussed the status of witness invitations for each of the themed hearings. Between 8 and 11 witnesses are confirmed for each; follow-up contact will occur with witnesses who have not yet replied.

The Task Force noted that additional representation from female witnesses would be welcome.

ACTION: Co-Chairs of each thematic hearing to continue to liaise with Kirstie Pritchard and Emily Reed over witness invitation.

Webcasting of the hearings is being arranged with the venues by Tom Dixon. Hearing chairs will need to read out a privacy statement at the start of each hearing and manage the hearings appropriately.

ACTION: Tom Dixon to prepare a privacy statement and guidance to chairs on how to manage the hearing to make the webcast easier. Emily Reed to circulate this to co-chairs along with suggested Rules of Engagement for witnesses.

b) Summary Hearing

It was AGREED that Hannah Lawrie, Nik Bowyer, Harry Bonnell and James Shorten will co-chair the summary hearing on the 11th December.

It was AGREED that invitations to the witnesses should be sent out from Wednesday 20th November. This should include the Local Enterprise Partnership and a procurement practitioner.

ACTION: The hearing co-chairs to prioritise the current invitation list by Wednesday and liaise with other Task Force members for additional witnesses if some of the cross-cutting themes to be discussed are underrepresented.  

c) Operation of the Hearings

Patrick Devine-Wright and Doug Eltham shared the experience from similar evidence-gathering projects about how to chair the hearings.

The Task Force AGREED there is a need to focus the hearing conversations on how decarbonisation initiatives should be implemented and at what social level e.g. national down to individual.  

It was further AGREED that the co-chairs should plan an outline timetable for each hearing and contact witnesses ahead of the meeting to identify specific issues that need to be raised.

ACTION: Co-chairs to consider the timetable and questions to ask at their specific hearing in time for Emily Reed and Kirstie Pritchard to circulate these to witnesses beforehand.

Doug Eltham confirmed that there will be three people available to assist operate the hearings. Two will take notes and an additional person will be available to sort out issues that arise during the hearing.

The taking of visual minutes has not been possible to arrange due to the timetable of the project.

d) Reviewing and summarising evidence

The call for evidence has received 395 submissions. Evidence that was submitted by 10th November will be categorised and passed to co-chairs for consideration at the thematic hearings.

ACTION: Emily Reed will log the evidence submissions, categorise them and identify emerging themes and then share with the co-chairs.

ACTION: Co-chairs to review the evidence submissions.

Harry Bonnell circulated two change models that could be useful in categorising initiatives arising from the call for evidence and the hearings.

e) Youth Parliament Event

A conference for secondary school students to input to the design of the Devon Carbon Plan and think about how their own institutions can respond to the climate emergency has been planned by the Devon Youth Parliament for the 29th November. Patrick Devine-Wright, Alice Moseley (Exeter University) and Doug Eltham will run a workshop at the event to gather the students’ views.

ACTION: All to identify an appropriate education advisor to be invited to the summary hearing.

f) Synthesis of the Hearings

The Task Force AGREED that a pre-Christmas synthesis of the key findings from the hearings should be undertaken between the co-chairs of the hearings and any other Task Force members that wish to attend. This will occur on the afternoon of the 11th December 2019 at the University of Plymouth.

g) 2050 emissions scenario

The Centre for Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter has begun modelling emissions in Devon assuming the UK Committee on Climate Change policy scenario is implemented in full. This could be used as a base scenario from which to make policy additions and subtractions based on what the call for evidence, the hearings and the citizens’ assembly demonstrate is possible in Devon.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to ask Tony Norton at the Centre for Energy and Environment to attend a future Task Force meeting to present the findings.

Terms of Reference

The Task Force considered slight amendments to its Terms of Reference as requested at its first meeting. These were AGREED and will be considered by the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG).

ACTION: Doug Eltham to arrange for the revised Terms of Reference to be considered by the DCERG.

Citizens’ Assembly Update

Patrick Devine-Wright and Alice Moseley hosted a stakeholder workshop on the 14th November to share initial findings from a rapid evidence review of the operation of citizens’ assemblies and to gather stakeholders’ thoughts. This will be turned into a recommendation report by the end of November.

The design of the citizens’ assembly will need to be signed off by the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group at its next meeting on the 18th December. The Response Group has requested that citizens’ assembly meets in different parts of Devon.

It’s likely that the citizens’ assembly will operate in May 2020 which will allow sufficient time to recruit participants and avoid the Easter holidays.


Mike Bomford advised that the new website is live and is being updated daily. Three social media accounts are active – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Instagram will be opened shortly. These accounts are being monitored by the Devon County Council media team.

The DCERG endorsed a proposal to recruit a full-time communications resource for the project at its October meeting, which is currently being implemented.

All district authorities, parish and town councils and schools have been notified of the call for evidence process.

Net-Zero Task Force Risk Register

The Risk Register was reviewed.

Tim Jones requested that the need to keep the Devon Climate Response Group members engaged in the process is added to the register.

Hannah Lawrie requested that the need for the Devon Carbon Plan to identify opportunities to achieve substantial decarbonisation immediately is added to the register.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to add these risks to the register.

Patrick Devine-Wright reported that he discussed the issues that development would lock us into carbon emissions with the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (at its meeting on the 12th November) the risk that infrastructure investment decisions in Devon are currently being made using existing policy and guidance. These investments, for example in housing, transport and energy, could lock society in to emitting carbon well beyond 2030. The Response Group will ask the Greater Exeter Low Carbon Task Force to review the powers available to local authorities to use the climate emergency as a material planning consideration and understand the implications of doing so. The findings will be reported back to the Response Group and will feed  into the Devon Carbon Plan process as additional evidence.   

Next Meetings

The next meetings are scheduled for:

  • 11th December, afternoon in Plymouth

ACTION: Doug Eltham to circulate dates for meetings from January through to June.

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