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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 24th April 2023


Doug Eltham, Devon Climate Emergency

Charlotte Brown, Devon Climate Emergency

John Golding, East Devon District Council

Andy Seaman, University of Exeter

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Donna Sibley, Torridge and North Devon Councils

Becky Webb, Devon Climate Emergency

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

William Elliot, Teignbridge District Council

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

The three actions about finance that have been carried over the past few months will be removed. This is because DCC has been successful in obtaining funding from Innovate UK’s Fast Followers competition. The funding will be used to employ a Net-Zero Innovation and Finance Officer.

ACTION: Doug to ask Polly Frost if Torbay is involved in the Fast Followers project.

John reported that East Devon has endorsed some of the principles of the Food Treaty.

2. Project Progress Report

2.1 Project Communications

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

2.2 Update on the Devon Carbon Plan

Emily 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

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

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

ACTION: Charlotte to send media toolkit for the Adaptation Strategy consultation to everyone.

3. Energy Saving Devon

The Energy Saving Devon website is live. This enables people to prepare a bespoke desk-top retrofit report for their property. It also signposts people to their local community energy organisation to receive further support for retrofit assessment, design and coordination.

A telephone triage service is being established with the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

It is proposed that the Cosy Devon Board will be renamed the Energy Saving Devon Board to oversee the preparation of a Retrofit Strategy to coordinate the future development of the service.

4. Local Government Association Behavioural Insights Programme

Lucinda reported on the programme run by Plymouth City Council. Headline findings were:

  1. Retrofit as a term doesn’t resonate with many people
  2. ‘Social norm’ is the most powerful behavioural aspect to encourage retrofit – more so than cost.
  3. Where there is a workforce skills issue, DIY could be a serious proposition

A logic model to explain how interventions can lead to retrofit outcomes is being developed.

ACTION: Lucinda will invite people from the Tactical Group to input to the logic model.  

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: March to April 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

We ran a paid social media campaign to raise awareness of the project’s aims on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign received good engagement with roughly 170 comments and over 100 reactions on Facebook. These comments were primarily sceptical of the climate emergency and/or of activity taking place. Common themes were conspiracy theories, climate scepticism, criticism of DCC’s lack of action, placing blame on the USA/China etc. and criticism of the Plymouth tree felling. However, it was positive to see that some supportive individuals did engage in debate to address any misinformation being posted. DCE also responded directly to some comments.

Line graph showing DCE Online Communications Following. All lines are increasing
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following

The campaign boosted followers across all platforms and was particularly effective on Facebook as monthly growth increased by 14.7%. As a result, we have now reached our target of 10,000 followers across all our communications channels. We were previously expected to reach this by the middle of summer.

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Business Engagement 🟢 [GREEN]

Based on feedback from the LEP and South West Business Council representatives, the Devon Carbon Plan slide deck aimed at businesses has been converted into a one sheet flyer version to attract the attention of people who do not have the time to read the slide deck in full. This version has been sent to representatives for further feedback and was printed and trialled at the Low Carbon Devon: Next Steps event in Plymouth.

A survey is running to understand the usefulness and appetite of a business badge scheme to recognise local businesses acting on net-zero.

County Show 2023 🟢 [GREEN]

  • Discussions continue around DCE’s presence at the 2023 Devon County Show, taking place from Thursday 18th May to Saturday 20th May at Westpoint, Exeter.
  • DCE have plans to showcase the work of the Net Zero Visions project. Work is underway to design and print everything needed for the marquee displays, organise social media and in person giveaways for anyone who pledges to reduce their emissions, and gather everything needed for an art station for children and young people to create their own Visions.

Net-Zero Visions Curriculum Material 🟢 [GREEN]

The pack is drafted and has been shared with the Response Group. This will be finished by the end of April and made available to all schools.

Devon-Wide Community Engagement Service 🟢 [GREEN]

The design and scoping work is underway, being led by Devon County Council. This is starting with research during March and April that will meet with a selection of community organisations across the county to understand the gaps in community support that need filling by the project. This will be 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.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • The Devon Food Partnership have publicly launched the Devon’s Good Food Strategy 2023-2028.
  • The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have launched their new resilience plans at the NFU Conference 2023.
  • A washing machine-sized data centre, provided by start-up Deep Green, is being used to heat a public pool in Exmouth Leisure Centre.
  • The NFU (SW) and the Woodland Trust have partnered to deliver a second annual free tree giveaway for NFU members in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
  • Torbay Council has submitted a bid for national funding from Active Travel England to make it easier for people to walk, wheel, cycle and improve accessibility in the area.
  • The “Option 6” Beach Management Scheme has been agreed to by the Advisory Group for the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan, which will improve local coastal protection.
  • A million pounds of funding is available through the Advancing Capacity for Climate and Environment Social Science (ACCESS) project for environmental social science work.
  • Experts from the University of Exeter are part of a pan-European project, called ICARIA, which aims to improve the resilience of critical infrastructures to extreme weather events.
  • University of Plymouth researchers are contributing to the £7 million Stronger Shores initiative, which aims to make coastlines and communities stronger in the face of flooding, erosion and the impacts of climate change.
  • 70 new large trees have been planted in Tavistock.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

Current activity of the Secretariat is determining how the online reporting platform will work, and continuing conversations with existing groups and networks that will have a role in the oversight of actions.

The Net-Zero Task Force membership is advising us who will stay on as it transitions into a Climate Task Force (incorporating adaptation issues) so that the process of receiving nominations for people covering specific experience and knowledge gaps can be started. Professor Patrick Devine-Wright has stepped-down as chair, but will remain a member of the new Climate Task Force.

2. Devon Carbon Plan 🟢 [GREEN] 

Partners, as well as organisations beyond the partnership, are now encouraged to endorse the Plan through their governance arrangements. Organisations that have endorsed so far are:

  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Devon County Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • Devon Association of Local Councils
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • Devon Wildlife Trust
  • Torridge District Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • North Devon District Council
  • South Hams District Council
  • Teignbridge District Council
  • Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

West Devon Borough Council has noted the ambition and objectives of the Devon Carbon Plan.

Whilst the new governance is being setup, the Taking Action pages on the website are being upgraded so that progress on specific Goals within the Plan will be displayed more clearly.

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

The Climate Impacts Group endorsed the consultation draft of the Adaptation Strategy at its meeting on the 29th March.  This has been circulated to the partnership to identify any remaining fundamental issues that need addressing before the consultation scheduled for May 8th. The Response Group will be invited to endorse the Strategy for consultation at its meeting on May 4th. Partners in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have done the same.

The consultation will provide an Executive Summary and ‘Quick Read’ versions for people who don’t need the detail. Online advertising, a webinar and physical drop-in events are being planned.

4. Devolution Update

Government provided a response to the devolution application submitted last year. Team Devon has responded with a further 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.

5. 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. Final feedback on fundamental issues is being sought from the wider partnership.  
  • New governance arrangements continue to be setup.
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