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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 14th September


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency
Andy Seaman, University of Exeter
Donna Sibley, Torridge and North Devon District Councils
Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council
Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils
John Golding, East Devon District Council
Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police
Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust
Matthew Tosdevin, University of Plymouth 


Emily Widdecombe, Devon Climate Emergency
Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council
John Amosford, Public Health Devon
Samantha Davies, University of Plymouth
Jacqui Warren, Torbay Council
William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council
David Rose, South West Water
Sara Gibbs, Public Health Devon
Lynda Wookey, Exeter City Futures
Emmanuelle Marshall, Plymouth City Council


1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were AGREED to be a true record of the discussion.

2. Revised Net-Zero Ambition

Doug Eltham noted no further feedback from Response Group members was received on the net-zero ambition  to be incorporated into the next iteration of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan. On that basis we will proceed with the current wording, being mindful that this may need updating again following the COP26. The Group AGREED  this approach.

3. Project Progress Report

3.1 Project Management Update 

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes. No further questions were asked.

ACTION: All to help kick-start the #TogetherForDevon campaign by posting a climate-friendly tip on social media

3.2 Update from the Net-Zero Task Force 

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes. No further questions were asked.

3.3 Update on the Climate Impacts Group 

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

Donna Sibley advised that a new climate adaptation tool is expected from the Local Government Association soon, which she has been involved in the development of. Donna will circulate this when it’s available.

4. Turning the Devon Climate Assembly’s Recommendations into Actions

Emily Reed presented a proposed process to involve the climate emergency partners in drafting actions and seeking feedback from councillors ahead of subsequently consulting on those actions in March 2022.

The Group discussed the time available within the proposal for partners to pass the draft actions through formal procedures. The current proposal is to allow 2 months for this. The Group AGREED to propose this timetable to the Response Group but to raise the risk that some partners may need longer, in which case the consultation would need to slip forward a few weeks.

ACTION: Secretariat to present proposed process to the Response Group on the 21st September.

5. Employee and Community Behaviour Change

Doug asked the Group to discuss members’ appetite for combining efforts and resources on joined-up awareness and behaviour change activity. Doug made reference to the Recycle Devon campaign as an example of partners collaborating successfully on a specific issue.

Key points arising are:

  • There is a clear desire to work together
  • There is a need for communications activity to reach beyond people already interested/concerned about climate change
  • Some members are already using particular platforms, which they are happy to share their experience of
  • Deciding on a single platform/approach that all partners would use is likely to be difficult, so instead the ambition could be for shared branding, comm’s timetable and collateral that can be tailored for local circumstances

The Group AGREED not to set up a sub-group to explore this opportunity further but instead to keep this conversation within the Tactical Group meetings.

ACTION: Secretariat to invite a representative from the Recycle Devon partnership and the University of Exeter to share their experiences with the Group at a future meeting.

6. Climate Impact of Home Working

Doug reported new research from the University of Exeter, commissioned by Devon County Council, that concludes that home working vs office working is beneficial for the climate under the scenarios modelled. This will help inform future workplace strategies.

Louise Sawyer was reminded of a similar report prepared by NatWest which she will circulate.

ACTION: Secretariat to share University of Exeter research with the Group and publish on the Devon Climate Emergency website. ACTION: Louise to circulate NatWest report to the Group.


Period: August 2021 to September 2021

Status Indicator key:

Red = Serious issues that requires Response Group intervention;

Amber = Minor issue that will initially be managed by the secretariat, but the Response Group should be aware;

Green = No issue.



1.1.1 Following

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing. Monthly growth has been approximately 2% over the summer.  

The online audience is now almost 7,000
Figure 1.1: Online Communications Following

1.1.2 Campaigns 

The Call to Action campaign is continuing. This campaign focuses on tangible things people can do to help reach net-zero. Partners have been involved in some of the Calls to Action where it is relevant to their activity.

A new campaign is starting on the 13th September called ‘Together for Devon’. This asks people to upload a short video of themselves showing one carbon-friendly tip with the hashtags #TogetherforDevon and #Togetherforourplanet (to align with the COP26 communications). Each week our favourites will be featured in our social media stories and channels).

1.1.3 Devon Climate Challenge 

The second round of projects competing for a share of £30k began crowd funding on the 6th September. They have until the 8th October to raise as much as they can.

1.1.4 Youth Engagement 

No further activity this month.

1.2. Partners’ Notable Activity 

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website. Notable activity this month is:

  • An ambitious project to plant 40,000 trees in the Umber catchment in north Devon is underway
  • Plymouth Energy Community announced plans to create a new community-owned solar farm at Chelson Meadow. Spanning 24 football pitches, the solar farm would have the capacity to power more than 3,800 homes in the Plymouth area.

Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1 Interim Carbon Plan [AMBER]

Amendments continue to be made to the Interim Devon Carbon Plan by the secretariat, however this remains behind schedule due to resources being focussed on the citizens’ assembly. The impact of this is not significant as the Plan is being implemented and funding opportunities are being seized by partners to increase delivery as they arise.

The Transport section redraft is with Tactical Group members for comment.

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly [GREEN]

A draft report collating the resolutions designed by the Assembly members and the conditions attached to those resolutions has been circulated to the Tactical Group for comment on formatting and presentation. The report will be presented to the Response Group next week and published on the website by the end of September.

The partnership needs to agree the detail of how the Assembly’s resolutions will be turned into actions. Discussions about this are on the Tactical Group meeting’s agenda on the 14th September.

The Net-Zero Task Force will respond to the partnership about the Assembly’s recommendations to facilitate this process.

3. Climate Impacts Group [AMBER]

The time-commitment of the two interns a the Environment Agency to this project is now coming to an end and so it’s important that further funding is put in place.

The Secretariat has completed the second stage (preparing a business case) of obtaining funding from the Flood Defence Grant in Aid fund to provide a 6-month resource to accelerate the preparation of the Adaptation Plan. This now progressing through approval procedures before it can be submitted.

4. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Interim Devon Carbon Plan while partnership procedures are ongoing
  • The revisions to the Interim Carbon Plan are underway but behind schedule.
  • The draft of the Citizens’ Assembly report has been prepared and circulated and the secretariat is now compiling comments back to Involve.
  • Further applications for additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is progressing.

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