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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 23rd May 2023


Doug Eltham, Devon Climate Emergency

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

John Golding, East Devon District Council

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council

Charlotte Brown, Devon Climate Emergency

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Jo Pearce, Exeter City Council

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

David Rose, South West Water

William Elliot, Teignbridge District Council

Donna Sibley, Torridge and North Devon Councils

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

Collette Germon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

2. Project Progress Report

2.1 Project Communications

Charlotte provided an update reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

ACTION: Doug to provide a link to the climate change curriculum material developed by the Net-Zero Visions project once it is online.

Doug added that Devon CC has earmarked funding this financial year for the Network of Environmental Educators in Devon, part of the Local Nature Partnership, to survey teachers about what support they need to incorporate climate into the curriculum.  

2.2 Update on the Devon Carbon Plan

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

2.3 Update on the DCIoS Adaptation Plan

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

It was noted that organisations will be responding to the live consultation by different means. Some will be providing an officer response, others via Cabinet member delegated authority, and others via Cabinet, for example. Doug said that whichever process works best for each organisations is absolutely fine.

ACTION: All to encourage submissions from their networks to the consultation on the Adaptation Strategy.

2.4 Devolution

John Golding noted that devolution conversations are re-starting.

3. Business Badge Scheme

Doug presented the findings of a report undertaken by a work placement student with the Environment Group at Devon CC. The report summarised activity that has surveyed the public and local businesses about the appetite for a local Devon Climate Emergency Business Badge that would be used to recognise good practice. This idea had come from the Net-Zero Task Force.

The findings were mixed but generally the public would not value a scheme unless they knew it had robust procedures so that they could trust it. The businesses would prefer an existing scheme to be promoted rather than creating a new one.

Jo Pearce briefly explained how the existing Green Accord scheme works. The Group was keen to learn more.

ACTION: Jo to present the Green Accord at the next meeting on 22nd June.

The Group suggested a Devon Climate Emergency poster would be helpful to display at partners’ buildings that are accessed by the public to explain what low-carbon technologies have been retrofitted.

ACTION: Charlotte to design a poster template and circulate to the Group to use as they feel appropriate for their circumstances.

4. Partner Updates

Will reported that Teignbridge District Council is:

  • Looking for further Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding to continue the upgrade of Broadmeadow Leisure Centre.
  • In receipt of funding from the Energy Saving Trust for a Green Fleet Review.
  • Establishing a focus group of 90 residents to help prepare the Teignbridge Carbon Action Plan.

Donna advised that North Devon Council is cooperating with, which has been commissioned by The Crown estate, to explore Aquaculture Enterprise Zones. This ground-breaking project aims to support the accelerated development of sustainable aquaculture nationally by creating supportive environments for cultivating sustainable seaweed, bivalves, and crustaceans.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: April to May 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 🟢 [GREEN]

1.1.1 Following

Follower growth has returned to normal after a spike last month due to a paid social media campaign in March. Growth rate remains positive on all channels – currently at 10,350 followers

A line graph showing the DCE online communications following. All lines are going up
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following
1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Business Engagement 🟢 [GREEN]

The Devon Carbon Plan Quick Reads have been converted into an A5 flyer version for businesses. This version has been sent to representatives from the LEP and South West Business Council for further feedback, and was distributed at a Low Carbon Devon business engagement in April.

A week-long online survey ran at the end of April to understand the usefulness of, and appetite for, a business badge scheme to recognise local businesses acting on net-zero. The findings have been analysed and a report will be presented to the Tactical Group in May.

County Show 2023 🟢 [GREEN]

DCE showcased the Net Zero Visions project. 114 people committed to a net-zero pledge and 51 joined the email mailing list.

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The resource pack is being finalised following feedback and will be made available to all schools. The Sustainability Bulletin that goes to all schools in Devon will be used to do this.

Devon-Wide Community Engagement Service 🟢 [GREEN]

The design and scoping work is underway, being led by Devon County Council. The initial research phase to understand the gaps in community support that need filling by the project has concluded. This is now being used to design the support programme for 2023/24, which will be an extension of the Community Action Group initiative.  An additional extension is being planned for delivery from April 2024.

2. Partners’ Notable Activity

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

Significantly less action has been reported on in the past month due to communication restrictions for the pre-election period.

  • Connect Plymouth has now launched and will offer e-bikes and electric cars for hire around the city.
  • The Langage Green Hydrogen project is the only project in the South West to be backed by Government as announced in March.
  • Coastal Workboats Limited (CWL) are relocating to Honiton’s Heathpark Industrial Estate and will manufacture components for the UK’s first fully electric workboat and charging station.
  • The Saving Devon’s Treescapes project, led by Devon Wildlife Trust, has opened a new tree nursery in Broadclyst, East Devon.

3. New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

Current activity of the Secretariat is has been focussed on preparing for the consultation of the Adaptation Strategy, so there has been little progress this month. This will be picked up later in May when resource becomes available after the launch of the consultation.

Nominations from the Partnership for a new chair of the Climate Task Force are welcome.

4. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN] 

Partners continue to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. Whilst the new governance is being established, the Secretariat will endeavour to prepare a highlight report for the priority actions of the Built Environment theme for the June meeting, and then a report for one of the remaining themes each month thereafter so that each theme is seen by the Group twice each year.

The Taking Action pages on the website are being upgraded so that progress on specific Goals within the Plan will be displayed more clearly. The IT has been setup for this and the secretariat are working through the legacy pages so that all of the Taking Action pages will be behave in the same way.

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

The Response Group endorsed the draft Strategy for consultation at its meeting on May 4th. Partners in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have done the same – they are content with the arrangements.

The consultation is taking place from Tuesday 9th May to Friday 30th June. Note the consultation has been extended to accommodate a request from the Isles of Scilly Council.

The consultation provides an Executive Summary and ‘Quick Read’ versions for people who don’t need the detail.

Communications activity includes:

  • The distribution of a communications toolkit with assets for partners to use to share content
  • A webinar on Tuesday 16th May
  • A paid social media and Google Display Network advert campaign in Devon
  • A radio advertisement on Greatest Hits Radio Devon
  • A press advert in the Western Morning News
  • Distribution of messaging to local newsletters and a special feature in the DCE newsletter
  • A press release sent to media
  • Organic social media posts
  • Pop-up, in-person engagement events

Activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is at the discretion of partners in those areas. However, social media posts by the DCE and regional partners (e.g. Environment Agency and South West Water) are likely to be seen by residents in those areas, as will the Western Morning News advertisement and transmitter-spill from Greatest Hits Radio Devon.

6. Devolution Update

Earlier in April Government provided a response to the devolution application submitted last year. Team Devon responded with a further negotiation submission on the 19th April. The DCE secretariat were asked to input to the Net-Zero ask about energy planning (incorporating retrofit and unlocking grid issues) and natural environment enhancement. Plymouth and Torbay were invited to input to this also. A reply from government is now awaited.  

7. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan, and support available to communities to act will increase from May 2023.
  • The consultation draft of the Adaptation Plan has been prepared following feedback from the Climate Impacts Group. The consultation will begin on May 9th through to June 30th.  
  • The establishment of new governance arrangements have been on hold this month due to resource pressures but will continue once the adaptation strategy consultation  is launched.
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