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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 21st September 2023


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Charlotte Brown, Devon Climate Emergency

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

Clare Jones, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Collette Germon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

Actions carried over:

ACTION: Louise to prepare a proposal for further discussion about partners sharing EV chargers for fleet vehicles.

2. Project Progress Report

2.1 Project Communications

Charlotte provided an update reflecting Section 1.1 and 1.2 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

2.2 Update on the Devon Carbon Plan

Emily provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

2.3 Update on the DCIoS Adaptation Strategy

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

3. Food, Land and Sea Priority Action Progress Report

The Group discussed the draft Food, Land and Sea Priority Action Progress Report to add more detail about projects going on across Devon to demonstrate delivery of the Plan.

Discussion included:

Need to ensure the work of Food Plymouth is reflected in commentary about the Devon Food Partnership (Action F1).

Check whether Plymouth and Torbay are involved in the preparation of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (Action F14).

Add information about the South Devon Community Forest and the South Hams & West Devon Tree Plan to Action F15.

Move the information about the HACT Retrofit Carbon Offsetting approach to the Built Environment progress report, and add information about the work going on at the University of Plymouth about the development of carbon accounting standards for marine habitats (Action F18).

Add the work of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beaty in relation to the Environmental Land Management Schemes to Action F19.

Add information about the Plymouth National Marine Park to Action F23.

ACTION: Lu to send details to Emily.

The Group would like to learn more about the Devon Land Use Framework.

ACTION: Doug to arrange for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission to share details of the Land Use Framework pilot.

4. Presenting the Progress Reports on the Website

The Group looked at an option for displaying on the website progress against the priority actions. This takes the form of an embedded table. The Group liked the approach and suggested changing the width of the columns as some don’t need to be so wide.

The Group further suggested checking what it looks like on a mobile phone, and potentially providing a written update if the table does not render well on a mobile phone.

ACTION: Emily to make amendments to table formatting and check what it looks like on a mobile phone.

5. Plymouth Climate Decision Wheel

Lu showed the Group the Plymouth Climate Decision Wheel used for capital investments over £3m and revenue projects over £1m, however all projects are encouraged to use it. It was initially Excel format but it is now an online tool. The tool has eight impact areas focussed on the environment and puts the responsibility for the quality and accuracy of the  report firmly with the report author.

It asks the author to provide a score based on qualitative information of the before and after mitigation impact on each environmental theme.

The Group was interested in developing this further to be accessible to other partners.

ACTION: Lu to share videos with Doug for circulation.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: August to September 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 Project Communications

1.1.1 Following 🟢 [GREEN]

Growth has picked up again as expected following the summer lull and is positive on all channels.

In order to improve how we track our communications activity, new methods of reporting are being trialled drawing on tools such as Meta Business Suite, Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console. As the core goal of our communications is to encourage engagement and behaviour change, the new analytics being evaluated will give us a better picture of how effective our activity is rather than focusing on follower growth alone. Furthermore, expanding our reporting allows us to better understand our website performance so we can boost our Google Search rankings, improve user journeys and ensure that viewers find content engaging.

Key takeaways from the new methods of reporting for the July data (latest set available) include:

  • The Top Tips for Everyone page saw a large spike.
  • Top posts were short form videos, photos from trips and commentary on current events (the heatwave).
A line graph showing the DCE online communications following. All lines are increasing
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all schools in Devon later this September will be used to do distribute this. 

Challenge Setters with the University of Exeter 🟢 [GREEN]

As we did last year, we will be acting as one of several Challenge Setters for a second-year University of Exeter Liberal Arts module.

Groups of students will complete a research piece on our behalf to tackle a problem that we are having. They will answer the questions, “How aware are young people of the potential impacts of climate change? What practical actions should young people be encouraged to take to improve their preparedness and resilience to extreme events, and how could we best communicate this?” Their findings will inform how the Climate Adaptation Strategy is promoted to a younger audience.

Students will present their research to us in December.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • The Environment Agency and Torridge District Council have begun works on flood defences in Kenwith Valley Nature Reserve.
  • The Ropes to Reefs project, led by the University of Plymouth, will assess the wider ecological benefits of the UK’s first offshore mussel farm, located in Lyme Bay.
  • The Clean Energy Powerhouse Prospectus – developed by independent centre of energy expertise, Regen – has said that the Great South West of England is set to become one of the leading providers of low carbon energy in the UK by 2035.
  • Devon Wildlife Trust is planting a hectare of Northbrook Park to transform the area into a new meadow for people and wildlife.
  • Yealm Community Energy (YCE), a Community Benefit Society (BenCom) based in the South Hams parishes of Brixton, Holbeton, Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo, Wembury and Yealmpton, has launched a community share offer to fund the transfer of three nearby operational solar farms into community ownership.
  • In May this year, over 800 volunteers from Devon and across the UK joined forces for the BIG FIX 2023, to help 2242 residents fix their broken belongings and prevent them from going to waste.
  • The Higher Bullring in Cullompton is undergoing works including the installation of new cycle parking, a bus shelter with a green living roof, planters and bins.
  • Exeter City Council and Circular 11 have teamed up to recycle low value waste plastics collected from local doorsteps, as well as from litter picks and beach cleans, into benches.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

Following the endorsement of prospective members of the new Climate Task Force by the Response Group at its August meeting, those individuals have been invited. The first meeting is scheduled for 26th September.

2. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN] 

Partners continue to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. In a change of process, the monthly progress reports on a section’s priority actions are to be reviewed and updated by the Tactical Group before being presented to the Response Group. This should provide a further opportunity to gather as much pan-Devon information as possible into the report.

A solution for displaying the Priority Action Progress Reports on the website is being reviewed by the Tactical Group.

The Secretariat is updating the data for the monitoring indicators.

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

A draft consultation report, including proposed amendments to the strategy was made available for the Climate Impacts Group to review from the 17th August through to the end of September. Further amendments may be necessary in October. The Response Group will be invited to endorse it by its November meeting, after which individual partners will be encouraged to endorse it via their formal procedures.

4. Devolution Update

Conversations with government departments continue.

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan.
  • The Climate Task Force is meeting for the first time at the end of September.
  • The adaptation strategy consultation report has been drafted and is with the Climate Impacts Group for initial comment.
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