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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 21st December 2023


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council

Clare Jones, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

Actions carried over:

ACTION: Doug to speak with Andy about making use of the University of Exeter’s AI expertise.

ACTION: Andy to invite the Student Project Coordinator to a future meeting.

2. Project Progress Report

The progress reported appended to these minutes was considered.

Doug said that the projected 9% overshoot of the 2018 – 2022 has been shared with the Response Group and the Climate Task Force. Transport continues to be a stubborn sector and significant projects like the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure initiatives will make a contribution to seeing emissions in that sector reduce by giving people more confidence to make the switch to an electric vehicle.

It was also mentioned that a proposal for partnership contributions towards replacing the resource for communications and monitoring will be brought to the Response Group in January for discussion. This will be looking for £1k – £2k annual contributions from partners.

3 Adaptation Plan Progress Report

Emily said the Climate Impacts Group will be reviewing each risk once a year and each action every 6 months.

The initial task for the Tactical Group to assist with is preparing a baseline of activity against each action. Therefore:

ACTION: All to comment on:

  • Activity against each action
  • RAG status of each action
  • What KPIs could be used for monitoring
  • The format of the report

The Progress Report will be considered by the Climate Impacts Group on the 3rd January 2024 and the Response Group on the 8th January.

4. Partner Updates

Doug reported that Devon County Council:

  • Is expecting to launch a tender in January for a shared bike scheme in the Exeter area.
  • Has selected a contractor to work with a sample of teachers to understand the barriers that the partnership could help address for incorporating net-zero issues into teaching.
  • Has selected a contractor to review its top sites for ground mount and roof top renewables.

Louise said that Devon and Cornwall Police is:

  • Progressing its electric vehicle infrastructure planning
  • Commencing a climate adaptation plan with RSK
  • Undertaking a decarbonisation study for the Middlemoor site in Exeter funded through the Low Carbon Skills Fund

Clare advised that the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is:

  • Installing electric vehicle infrastructure at Digby Park and Ride for staff use
  • Preparing a bid for estates vehicles in the Barnstaple area to switch to electric
  • Looking at clinical processes to avoid waste and achieve circular resource use
  • Finding opportunities to offer lower paid staff the opportunity to access sustainable travel options, e.g. short-term bike rental
  • Progressing plans for district heating in partnership with the city centre scheme

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: November to December 2023

Status Indicator Key:  

🔴 [RED] = Significant issue 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. Partnership Update

1.1 General Communications

1.1.1 Updates and Metrics 🟢 [GREEN]

Social media growth remains positive. This month we have surpassed 11,000 followers across all platforms.

In October we saw a spike in newsletter clicks up from around 300 to around 1000. We attributed this to the Energy Saving Devon article, which appears to have been correct as November’s clicks have returned to usual levels.

Emily has been scheduling social media at a lower volume following Charlotte’s departure.

Figure 1.1. DCE Online Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Net Zero Visions promotion to mark COP28

To mark the COP28 the Net-Zero Visions material is being promoted on social channels in partnership with the University of Plymouth.

Challenge Setters with the University of Exeter

As part of a University of Exeter Liberal Arts module, groups of students will be conducting research for us surrounding young people’s perception of climate impacts, what actions they can take to improve their resilience and how climate adaptation could best be communicated. Their findings will inform how the Climate Adaptation Strategy is promoted to a younger audience.

We attended a Q&A with the students and will hear the results of their research later in December.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website.

  • Funding has been obtained to maximise the potential of the South West’s hydrogen ecosystem, driving the development of hydrogen skills, infrastructure and technology.
  • Plymouth City Council have been awarded over £1.6 million from the Government’s Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus (BSIP+) Fund.
  • Devon County Council’s Investment and Pensions Fund Committee has decided to commit investments to renewable energy technologies.
  • Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter Youth Rangers and Year 9 students from Isca Academy worked together to plant 3,000 wildflower bulbs in Exeter’s Leaf Land, a 2-hectare part of Riverside Valley Park.
  • Devon County Council have the highest amount of funding they have received in the 17 years of the Bikeability scheme’s delivery in the county.

2.    Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN]

A solution for displaying the Priority Action Progress Reports on the website is now live. We realise this is potentially clunky so will keep it under review.

The Secretariat continues to prepare data for the monitoring indicators which we hope to share next month.

Carbon Footprint and Budget

The University of Exeter has prepared the latest carbon footprint (2021) for the whole of the Plymouth, Torbay and Devon council areas. The methodology has been improved and all historic data back to 2008 updated accordingly. This has resulted in historic emissions increasing slightly. The data is on the website for download.

Emissions saw a bounce back in 2021 following the COVID year of 2020. The bounce back to 7.67Mt was to a level less than 2019 (7.98Mt), but 2021 itself did experience a long-duration, partial lockdown from December 2020 through to May 2021. Road transport is the principal contributor to the bounce back.

The carbon budgets described in the Devon Carbon Plan, calculated from 2016 emissions data, have also been revised upwards to reflect the slightly-higher baseline position. The current budget period covers 2018 – 2022. In comparison to these newly calculated budgets the area has used 88% of the budget. With one year remaining this means the 2022 emissions are likely to exceed the budget cap by about 9%. This exceedance will be carried forward into the next budget period, meaning the longer emissions-reduction activity is delayed, the harder it will become to meet the five-year carbon budgets. Projects to encourage more active travel, public transport use and electrification of vehicles are essential. The Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI)  projects will offer significant charging opportunities to residents and businesses looking to make the switch to electric vehicles.

3.    Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy 🟢 [GREEN]

The Adaptation Strategy has been launched and is live. Individual partners are encouraged to endorse it via their formal procedures.

The Climate Impacts Group has prepared an annual timetable to ensure each risk receives an annual review and to gather progress updates against each action, which will be brought to the Response Group periodically for review. The first of these will be in January 2024.

4.    Devolution Update

Government gives green light to finalising a Devon and Torbay Devolution Deal – News. A final decision is expected by March 2024. The deal is currently valued at £16m.

5.    Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan. Transport has seen a bounce back in emissions in 2021 from the lockdown year of 2020, which is contributing to a projected 9% overshoot of the 2018 – 2022 carbon budget. The LEVI projects are essential for providing significantly increased opportunities for electric vehicle charging across the county.
  • The Adaptation Strategy is now live and partners are being encouraged to endorse it.
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