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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 24th April 2024

Attendees

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

Clare Jones, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

Collette Germon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council

Alex Mitchell, East Devon District Council

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Elliot Saloman-Carter, Devon County Council

Apologies

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

Jacqui Warren, Torbay Council

Helen Hicks, University of Exeter

Morag Aiken, South West Water

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Andy Seaman, University of Exeter

David Rose, South West Water

Matthew Blythe, East Devon District Council

Donna Sibley, North Devon and Torridge District Councils

Luke Mitchell, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Julia Wordley, Devon and Cornwall Police

Tracy Hendren, East Devon District Council

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

2. Tree Planting Opportunities

Elliott Saloman-Carter, Devon County Council Woodland Creation Officer, presented on the Local Authority Treescapes Fund.

The fund is a legacy of the Emergency Tree Fund and aims to support the planting of broadleaf whips, primarily in partnership with community groups. In 2023, 17,000 trees were planted across public and private land.

During the tree planting season of 2024/25 the fund is focusing on planting on public land. The project is partnered with ParkLife Southwest to support planting, so all that is being asked of landowners is to identify and agree on land for planting.  

Elliot clarified that in general they are promoting certified UK grown trees, however, there may be specific instances where non-natives may be appropriate, but this would be considered on a case by case basis.

ACTION: All to contact Elliott if they are aware of public land owned by their organisation which they would like to explore planting trees on.

ACTION: Emily to circulate Elliott’s contact details.

3. Partners’ Approach to and Activity on Climate Adaptation

Emily invited attendees to the meeting to share updates on their organisation’s activity on and approach to climate adaptation.

Adam shared that South Hams have commissioned the Bioregional Learning Centre to take stakeholders, such as Councillors, on an adaptation learning journey. This involves a series of visits to places affected by climate change such as Slapton Line and projects increasing resilience to climate change, so that participants can gain an understanding about the issues and potential solutions.  The goal is to bolster community action and resilience.

Adam highlighted work that West Devon Borough Council are undertaking through their Environmental Health Officers, who inspect private water supplies, to encourage those with a private water supply to undertake a risk assessment considering water scarcity. Collette alerted the group to the risk of rainwater contamination of boreholes, as this has occurred at a hospital in Devon which has had to switch to bottled water whilst the borehole underwent repairs.

Alice noted that Exeter City Council have identified risks around extreme weather and heat through their Net Zero Risk Register, which is shared on their website. Risks include employees being unable to work due to extreme weather events and risks to tenants and leaseholders health.

John Amosford said that the focus is currently primarily on emergency response, rather than long term resilience. Although he recognised the work of the Devon Community Resilience Forum. Public Health have been drawing on the resources provided by the UK Health Security Agency. The health protection teams are also considering the future impacts of climate change. He hoped that the Housing Commission will also consider the resilience of housing.

ACTION: Adam to ask the Bioregional Learning Centre to present to the Tactical Group.

ACTION: Emily to schedule another slot to exchange partner activity on climate adaptation at a future meeting.   

4. Project Progress Report

The progress reported appended to these minutes was considered. No further questions asked.

5. Carbon Plan’s Food Land and Sea Progress Report

The Group used a Miro Board to add implementation updates for each of the actions in the Food, Land and Sea section.

The Board will remain open until the end of the 30th for further comments. Emily will then use the comments to prepare the final report for the Response Group at its meeting on the 9th May.

ACTION: All to add further comments to the Miro Board.

6. Funding Bid for a Retrofit Strategy

Emily alerted the group to a funding bid which Ellen Rodger, Energy Programme Manager at DCC, is putting together to MCS Local Area Retrofit Accelerator fund. Ellen is looking for letters of support from potentially interested stakeholders.

ACTION: Emily to circulate further information.

ACTION: All to consider submitting a letter of support.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: March to April 2024

1. Partnership Update

1.1 General Communications

The newsletter continues to see the strongest growth of all platforms. Open-rate remaining steady at around 45% (10 – 20% is considered good).

Graph showing DCE's total online following across channels reaching almost 12000.

Figure 1.1. DCE Online Following

Eight partners have confirmed £2k contributions towards the Climate Engagement role – these are from seven local authorities and Wales & West. Still awaiting decision from a few partners.

The secretariat received permission to recruit into the role and for Devon CC to host via the University of Exeter Graduate Business Partnership scheme. The role has been advertised and interviews will take place in early May. Partners offering funding will be invoiced at the end of April.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

Note that due to the absence of the Climate Engagement post we’ve been unable to get all stories on the website. We have been logging those sent to us so that when resource increases we can get them online.

2.   Oversight of the Devon Carbon Plan

The Progress Reports detailing known activity against each action are on the website. A summary of the number of actions categorised by each RAG status is provided below, split by theme.

Note that each theme of the carbon plan is reviewed every 6 months, which means the RAG status will not change significantly within the monthly periods of this progress report. 

Blue = Completed

Red = Not started or activity significantly limited

Amber = Progressing but geography or scope is limited

Green = Generally progressing well

Grey = Not yet assessed

Built Environment

Pie chart showing 1 = red, 4 = blue, 5 = green, 7 = amber

Common Issues

  • Finance required to expand geography.
  • Finance required for more people resource, particularly spatial planning.

Economy and Resources

pie chart showing 7 = amber, 17 = green, 3 = red

Common Issues

  • Clearer guidance from government on aspects of waste management needed.
  • Finance required for more people resource.

Energy Supply

Pie chart showing 1 = blue, 11 = amber, 6 = green.

Common Issues

  • Government appetite to address issues e.g. grid capacity, planning for wind.
  • Availability of capital finance.

Food, Land and Sea

Pie chart showing 3= red, 9 = grey, 7 - green and 16 = amber

Common Issues

  • Complexity of agendas, e.g. Land Use Framework and Local Nature Recovery Strategy
  • Finance required to expand geography and scope

Transport

pie chart showing 8 grey, 17 green, 4 red and 14 amber

Common Issues

  • Public concern about EVs and reallocating highway space for sustainable modes
  • Grid capacity
  • Availability of capital finance

Cross-Cutting Themes

Pie chart showing 1 blue, 2 amber and 4 green

Common Issues

  • Finance required for more people resource, particularly spatial planning
  • Finance required to expand geography

The first phase of publishing the monitoring indicators went live on 3rd April. The University of Exeter is helping to expand the indicator set, which will be added to the web page incrementally.

3.    Oversight of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy

The Climate Impacts Group is continuing its programme to review all the risks and near-term actions each year.

2 grey, 4 green, 9 amber

The most common issue reported is needing to get better information about the extent to which communities are preparing for change. This is being explored with Devon Communities Together.

4. Feedback from the Climate Task Force

The Climate Task Force held its latest quarterly meeting in March.

  • Consider understanding what is needed to move each action from amber to green.
  • Mass-market retrofitting of buildings is still not happening quickly enough because the costs are high and the revenue savings are small in comparison. A retrofit summit should bring together key players to have a deep conversation about long-term solutions and to prepare a retrofit strategy. There could be an opportunity for the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator project to help with these conversations, which the Secretariat will follow up as a first step.
  • The role of spatial planning in net-zero is not being delivered fully. Need to revisit conversations with the Devon and Cornwall Planning Officers Group to refresh the needs of planning teams and subsequently reengage Team Devon. Initially the Secretariat will speak with the chair of the DCPOG.

5. Devolution Update

Public consultation closed on 24th March. The deal is scheduled to be agreed by Torbay’s and Devon’s cabinet’s and councils in April. Read the full Deal proposals here.

Discussions about how to prioritise the £16m capital spend in 2024/25 are underway, much of which will contribute to net-zero.

6. Local Net-Zero Fund

The Tactical Group is aware of six bids from the area submitted to the South West Net-Zero Hub’s Local Net-Zero Fund. Successful projects will commence in May 2024. 

  • Devon CC is looking at advanced feasibility for solar PV on redundant landfill sites.
  • North Devon and Torridge are exploring a hydrogen economy map linking to their clean maritime innovation corridor.
  • South Hams and West Devon are considering feasibility for rapid EV charging at specific locations, providing electric boat charging from remote pontoons, and partnering with the community energy sector to progress a wind project.
  • Exeter is designing a bid to develop the Green Accord supply-chain greening product.
  • Teignbridge is looking at further energy efficiency works for leisure centres, street-scale decarbonisation for housing, and decarbonisation of heat and power for an industrial estate.
  • Torbay is contemplating bids to expand the pilot of a water source heat pump in Brixham harbour, solar feasibility and housing decarbonisation (talking to Teignbridge about this).

5.    Summary Comments

  • Communications activity and collation of partners’ activity against actions in the Carbon Plan has reduced due to resourcing of the secretariat but capacity will increase in coming months once the new Climate Emergency Support Officer, who is currently being recruited, is in post.
  • The Task Force has shared its concerns about the pace of retrofitting buildings and the continuing need for spatial planning to respond radically to the climate emergency.
  • The partnership awaits the outcome of the Local Net-Zero Fund applications.
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