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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 24th February 2023


Doug Eltham, Devon Climate Emergency

Charlotte Brown, Devon Climate Emergency

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

Iain Miller, University of Plymouth

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council

David Rose, South West Water

Jacqui Warren , Torbay Council

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Donna Sibley, Torridge and North Devon Councils

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

Actions carried over:

ACTION: Doug to catchup with David Rose about green bonds as an option to consider when financing net-zero.

ACTION: Doug to speak to Peter Lefort and Paul Hardman about any guidance Exeter and Plymouth universities could provide the partnership about attracting finance for net-zero.  

ACTION: Doug to speak to Devon County Council’s Economy and Enterprise team about attracting finance for net-zero.

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.

ACTION: All to let Emily know if they can help at the County Show 18th – 20th May.

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. No further questions asked.

3. Community Engagement

Doug presented a paper proposing enhanced community engagement.

Activity Over the Past Year

The Community Engagement Sub Group of the Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group was established in March 2022. It has reviewed various models of community engagement used in Devon and elsewhere. The concept of asset-based community development emerged as a favoured approach.

Funding has been difficult to find (e.g. the Devon-wide Pioneer Places bid would have funded this project, but it was unsuccessful) and so progress has been slower than desired. 

Favoured Approach:

It was agreed to find funding to scope, design and deliver a support programme linked with the vibrant Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector in Devon, including the network of asset-based community development workers, to provide capacity-building support where it is needed. This last point is important, as we don’t want to duplicate existing support.

During the review of existing models, the Sub Group heard about the Community Action Group Devon project run by Devon County Council.


Now that next year’s budgets have been approved by Council, Devon County Council will:

  • During March and April 2023: Fund targeted community research to help inform the next phase of the CAG Devon project (to start April 2024). This will identify where support is needed and for what.

Doug said that this research could probably cover Plymouth and Torbay if the councils would welcome that, and that the cost could probably be included in the immediate commission.

John said it would be good to ask the community organisations what level of funding they have access to for delivery of projects.

ACTION: Doug to find out the additional cost of including Plymouth and Torbay in the research and then speak further with Lucinda and Jacqui.

  • 2023/24 financial year: Fund the expansion of the current CAG Devon contract (ends March 2024) to provide support to more communities and/or a broader range of topics. The contractor will appoint an additional staff member to meet the increased level of work.
  • By end of June 2023 write a new specification to cover a broader range of sustainability topics with a view to commissioning an expanded service to commence in April 2024. 

The district and unitary councils expressed an interest in joining parts 2 and 3.

ACTION: Doug to find out how much funding would be required from each authority for parts 2 and 3 to make a significant difference to delivery in their areas. Then circulate the paper again for local representatives to speak further with budget holders.

Lucinda noted that careful contract design will be required so that local areas can be guaranteed certain outcomes for their investment.

4. Adaptation Strategy

Emily gave a presentation about how the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy has been prepared. The document had been circulated to Group members ahead of the meeting.

ACTION: All to submit comments on accuracy and highlight anything that needs updating ahead of the public consultation by the 8th March.

The document will subsequently be updated by the consultants, RSK, and a final consultation draft issued.

Between 27th March and 5th May we need partner organisations to provide senior officer approval to launch a public consultation, just as we did ahead of the Devon Carbon Plan launching for public consultation. Partners in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be doing the same.

The public consultation will launch on the 8th May, currently scheduled for four weeks. During this period, member organisations can submit formal feedback alongside the public.

The Strategy will be updated over the summer and a final version made available for organisations to endorse during the autumn.

Jaqui noted that 4 weeks may not be long enough for some of the partners to submit comments and that it could be advantageous to allow longer for the public to submit comments, too. Doug agreed and said we can extend the consultation if necessary – this will need agreement with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

ACTION: Emily to determine an extended consultation period that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be happy with.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: January to February 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

Growth rate has increased again back to normal levels following the Christmas lull.

The January newsletter had the highest number of opens so far at 4072, and the highest unique open rate so far at 48%. We have surpassed our goal of 3500 newsletter subscribers by March and currently sit at 3587 (i.e some readers open the newsletter more than once).

A line graph showing the Devon Climate Emergency Online Communications following. All lines are increasing
Figure 1.1. DCE Social Media Following
1.1.2 Campaigns

Business Engagement 🟠 [AMBER]

Whilst progressing slower than hoped, the secretariat has updated the signposting to resources for business available on the DCE website.

A slide deck aimed at business has been prepared, which is with the LEP and South West Business Council representatives for feedback.

County Show 2023 🟢 [GREEN]

  • Discussions have started 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. Acclaimed creative professionals have worked with Devon communities to produce positive ‘Visions’ of their local area as net-zero by 2050.
  • Current ideas for the Show include:
    • Displaying some of the completed artistic Visions of communities as net-zero by 2050, which include murals with virtual reality elements, illustrations, an animation and a video game. A few copies of the associated book compiling these may also be on display.
    • Having iPads available for people to play the interactive game on.
    • Providing an ‘art station’ for children to draw their own Vision, to be displayed together as the Show progresses and added to the DCE website
    • A competition element in which people pledge to reduce their emissions and sign up to the newsletter to be in with the chance to win a sustainable prize. This could be similar to the successful reusable bottle tombola run by Recycle Devon last year, or could be integrated into the iPad game with prizes going to people with the highest scores.
  • Dr David Sergeant, who has been leading the Net Zero Visions project at the University of Plymouth, hopes to attend.

Devon-Wide Community Engagement 🟢 [GREEN]

The funding bid to Innovate UK Pioneer Places, submitted by Devon County Council on 30/11/22, was unsuccessful. This would have provided funding to accelerate the design and scoping work for this service.

Now that the 23/24 budget is approved at Devon County Council, funding is available to progress the design and scoping work. This will commence in March 2023.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • Exeter City Council will be playing a role in raising awareness of the benefits of plant-based foods for the climate.
  • The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has awarded South Hams District Council over £1 million to help reduce emissions as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
  • More houses in Exeter will have access to dedicated food waste collections after the latest rollout to properties in St Loyes.
  • A new study commissioned by the South West Net Zero Hub will identify gaps in the current provision of net-zero skills and training in order to shape future policy and delivery.
  • Devon County Council successfully bid for £3.7 million to determine how to decarbonise the construction and maintenance of the A382 link road development near Newton Abbott.
  • The Government’s Levelling Up fund is providing £64.5 million to grow the South West and create jobs, boost the economy and open up more equal opportunities.
  • A new Plastic Free Directory will showcase Plymouth people, businesses and organisations working to reduce their plastic use.

East Devon District Council has collected and chipped down a total of 1,699 Christmas trees for use in community projects supporting the environment.

1.3 New Governance Structure 🟢 [GREEN]

Following a thorough review, a proposal was presented to the Response Group at its meeting on 10th January 2023. This was agreed and will be implemented. It will be kept under review and amended as necessary.

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.

2. Devon Carbon Plan Update 🟢 [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 District Council has the Plan progressing through decision making processes.

A number of partners submitted funding bids to the Innovate UK Net-Zero Pioneer Places fund in December 2022. Devon County Council was unsuccessful on a pan-Devon bid. Exeter City Council and Plymouth City Council were successful. 

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

A workshop in January identified the priority actions for regional collaboration on adaptation. This was the final element of drafting the Adaptation Plan.

The secretariat presented the process of preparing the Adaptation Plan to the Regional Risk Management Group (covering Devon and Cornwall) in January.

A timetable for gathering feedback from the partnership and consulting with the public has been confirmed by the Climate Impacts Group. 

  • 13/02 – 8/03/2023 Adaptation Strategy circulated to partners so they can gather officer feedback within their organisations
  • 13/3 – 23/03/2023: RSK review comments and update Adaptation Strategy
  • 24/03/23: RSK handover final draft of Adaptation Strategy
  • 27/03 – 05/05/23: Partner organisations have 6 weeks to sign-off draft Adaptation Strategy for consultation (using local governance arrangements preferred by each partner)
  • 08/05 – 02/06/23: Four week public consultation
  • 05/06 – 14/07/23: Six weeks processing consultation results and amending the strategy
  • 2023 August CIG meeting: review amended Adaptation Strategy (may be July meeting if fewer consultation responses are received than anticipated)
  • Autumn 2023: Take the amended Adaptation Strategy to partner organisations for endorsement

4. Devolution Update

Government has advised that devolution is paused until at least January. The Secretariat is not aware of any movement on this.

5. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Devon Carbon Plan. 
  • The Adaptation Plan is available for partnership feedback.
  • New governance arrangements have been agreed and are being implemented.
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