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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 26th January 2024

Attendees

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

Jacqui Warren, Torbay Council

Collette Germon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Sara Gibbs, Public Health Devon

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Andy Seaman, University of Exeter

Clare Jones, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council

Donna Sibley, North Devon and Torridge District Councils

Alex Mitchell, East Devon District Council

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

Like Mitchell, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Apologies

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

David Rose, South West Water

Matthew Blythe, East Devon District Council

1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

2. Project Progress Report

The progress reported appended to these minutes was considered.

The Group discussed alternative approaches to displaying progress now that the initial outputs of the partnership (the Carbon Plan and Adaptation Strategy) are prepared. It was AGREED to report the number of actions displaying RAG and also develop an approach to summarising any geographical constraints to their delivery, as well as principal issues hampering delivery.

ACTION: Secretariat to trial new approach to reporting progress on delivery of the plans.

The monitoring dashboard is still being prepared.

ACTION: Secretariat to share current progress of the dashboard.

Jacqui reported that Torbay has undertaken an adaptation audit. This will be compared with the DCIoS Adaptation Plan to identify the risks that are most relevant to Torbay and subsequently make a local adaptation plan.

John said that the Integrated Care Board (ICB) is interested to explore adaptation requirements more fully. John and Sara Gibbs will be the link between the Devon Climate Partnership and the ICB. John has been liaising with the ICB. The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment is being updated and is a good opportunity to incorporate these issues.

3. Carbon Plan’s Built Environment Actions Progress Report

The Group noted that a number of actions in this section of the Carbon Plan relate to spatial planning, resourcing issues for which have been reported to Team Devon.  Doug said that Team Devon asked for a report on the current status of each Local Plan before considering resourcing the proposal to bring together planners from each district to prepare skeleton climate policies that could subsequently be adapted for local use. The Devon County Council spatial planning team have requested an update from each authority to populate this report. A date to return to Team Devon has yet to be agreed.

Jacqui said government has issued a ministerial statement implying that a robust evidence base is required, demonstrating viability, if a Local Plan is going to require building standards in excess of the Future Homes/Buildings Standard. Doug said that the Carbon Plan recognises this requirement and has an action to prepare joint viability assessments for Devon, rather than each council area having to prepare their own. But funding is the hurdle to get that action underway. Jacqui will be attending a Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) meeting next week that will be looking at climate issues. Jacqui will report back.

ACTION: Jacqui to report back from the TCPA meeting.

Lucinda reported that the joint Local Plan between Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon is currently under review.

Lucinda also reported that Plymouth City Council is looking to develop a Sustainable Buildings Policy for its own construction activity (relevant to Action B15). Claire shared the NHS Net-Zero Building Standard. Jacqui said that Torbay would like to prepare something similar.

Will said that the draft Teignbridge Local Plan includes a requirement for a 75% reduction in regulated carbon emissions (heating, lighting, ventilation) over the 2013 Building Regulations, and from 2028 net-zero regulated emissions. Embodied carbon is also in the Plan using the RICS Lifecycle methodology. The draft Plan is being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in February.

This report from Mid Devon District Council summarises the current position.

The Group AGREED it would be useful to collate what each Local Plan has in it with regards to climate so that this could be shared with the Devon and Cornwall Planning Officers Group.

ACTION: Secretariat to share spreadsheet for officers to populate.

4. Partner Updates

Jacqui asked if any partners had heard whether their Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme 3c grant applications had been successful. Nobody had.

Will asked if any partners knew of funding that could be used for topping-up retrofit costs. Doug suggested contacting Ellen Rodgers at Devon CC who is running the county-wide Home Upgrade Grant 2 project.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: December 2023 to January 2024

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 Communications 🟠 [AMBER]

1.1.1 Updates and Metrics

Whilst social media growth remains positive, just 26 new followers recorded during December 2023 is the lowest monthly increase recorded. This is also the first month recording no new newsletter subscribers.

This is likely to be symptomatic of fewer social media posts, comment responses and posts on the website following Charlotte’s departure.

Figure 1.1. DCE Online Following

1.1.2 Campaigns and Projects

Challenge Setters with the University of Exeter

As part of a University of Exeter Liberal Arts module, groups of students have conducted research for us about young people’s perception of climate impacts, what actions they can take to improve their resilience and how climate adaptation could best be communicated.

Their findings were presented to the secretariat in December and will inform how the Climate Adaptation Strategy is promoted to a younger audience. One of the headline findings, for example, is that whilst student properties flooded in September 2023, few have signed up to receive flood warnings.

Christmas Campaign

The CAG Devon Christmas campaign was repeated on the DCE social media channels, encouraging people to consider food waste and generally reusing and recycling unwanted items at this time of year.

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • The Environment Agency has approved plans for a new coastal defence scheme for Sidmouth. 
  • Devon County Councillors have approved proposals to construct the latest section of the Tarka Trail between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.
  • A green energy scheme developed by Plymouth City Council has received awards at the world’s largest climate conference for a green energy scheme. 
  • Two orphaned beavers are settling into their new home at Poole Farm, Plymouth, after being spared from culling in Scotland. 

2.   Oversight of the Devon Carbon Plan 🟠 [AMBER]

The Priority Action Progress Reports are on the website.

The Secretariat continues to prepare data for the monitoring indicators which has seen progress but is yet in a state to be shared. It was hoped to share this month. We hope to share next month.

The reduced resource for communications has meant that less time has been available for collating partners’ activity.

3.    Oversight of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Strategy 🟢 [GREEN]

In early January the Climate Impacts Group undertook a review of five risks and progress on three actions. Over the course of each year all the risks and near-term actions will be reviewed.

The first presentation to the Response Group of the collation of progress against the near-term actions occurred at its January meeting.

4.    Devolution Update

No update this month.

5.    Summary Comments

  • Communications activity and collation of partners’ activity against actions in the Carbon Plan has reduced due to resourcing of the secretariat.
  • The first collation of progress against the near-term actions in the Adaptation Strategy has been prepared  for consideration by the Response Group.
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