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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes, 27th February 2024

Attendees

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council

Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

Helen Hicks, University of Exeter

Jacqui Warren, Torbay Council

Louise Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall Police

Collette Germon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Clare Jones, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council

Donna Sibley, North Devon and Torridge District Councils

Alice Gent, Exeter City Council

Luke Mitchell, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Apologies

Andy Seaman, University of Exeter

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Alex Mitchell, East Devon District Council

Lucinda Brook, Plymouth City Council

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

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.

Actions carried over:

ACTION: Jacqui to report back from the TCPA meeting.

ACTION: Secretariat to share Local Plan climate-content spreadsheet for officers to populate.

2. Project Progress Report

The progress reported appended to these minutes was considered.

The Group appreciated the addition of the pie charts that provide an overview of the RAG status of actions within each chapter of the carbon plan. Following this feedback, the same will be done for actions in the Adaptation Plan.  

John suggested incorporating a snap shot showing the extent to which strategic level documents have incorporated the principles of the Devon Carbon Plan. Will said he will share a reporting framework being prepared in Teignbridge that could help refine the county-wide reporting.

The new format also identifies the common issues being reported that are preventing progress in each chapter of the Carbon Plan. Two that appear in more than one chapter are 1) the need for more resources, and 2) the need for new guidance/legislation/appetite from government. These will be added to the Issues Register.

ACTION: Doug to add these issues to the Issues Register.

3. Carbon Plan’s Economy and Resources Actions Progress Report

The Group noted that 17 of the 27 actions in this section are ‘green’. There are three actions that are red, of which one is awaiting information from South West Water and the remaining two do not have an obvious solution to resolve. None of the three are priority actions.

The Group will feedback further information to Emily on these actions to Emily by email.

ACTION: All to feedback to Emily.

4. Local Net-Zero Fund

The Group heard from the local authorities working on bids to the South West Net-Zero Hub’s Local Net-Zero Fund. Excellent to see so many bids being developed as this will give the Hub evidence for government that demand is very real for net-zero projects.

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).

Doug noted that the opportunity for collaboration is limited by the £100k cap on the grant that each project can apply for. E.g. Devon CC’s project is likely to be requesting the full grant value and so there’s no room in the project to collaborate with Torbay on solar feasibility.

5. Partner Updates

Doug reported that solutions are being explored at DCC to ensure an electric fleet doesn’t decrease the authority’s resilience during storm events. Eg. from extended power cuts. John suggested local generators at depots fuelled by synthetic fuel.

Will said that Teignbridge is experiencing considerable network reinforcement costs to plan for its whole-fleet electrification programme. National Grid is looking to test ‘automated capacity curtailment’ which is currently rare on demand projects vs supply projects.

Appendix 1: Project Progress Report

Period: January 2023 to February 2024

1. Partnership Update

1.1 General Communications

Growth of following this month is 1.2%. This is an upturn on recent months. Website metrics are not being recorded currently.

Figure 1.1. DCE Online Following

Mid Devon, Torridge and Exeter have confirmed £2k contributions towards the Climate Engagement post. Confirmation from other partners is anticipated this month. 

1.2 Partners’ Notable Activity

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

  • East Devon District Council’s Cabinet have approved a £207,000 package of decarbonisation support for local businesses and community groups.
  • The University of Plymouth has saved £60,000 in 12 months by using the Warp-it reuse initiative.
  • Organisations in West Devon and the South Hams can apply for funding through a number of grants to support Clean Economic Growth.
  • Enterprises can apply for up to £7,500 funding to support collaboration with a researcher through the University of Plymouth’s Net-Zero Solutions Fund.

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.

Blue = Completed

Red = Not started or activity significantly limited

Amber = Progressing but geography or scope is limited

Green = Generally progressing well

Built Environment

Common Issues

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

Economy and Resources

Common Issues

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

Energy Supply

Common Issues

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

Food, Land and Sea (priority actions only)

Common Issues

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

Transport (priority actions only)

Common Issues

  • Grid capacity
  • Availability of capital finance

Cross-Cutting Themes

Common Issues

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

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

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

A monitoring system similar to that piloted this month for the Carbon Plan (above) will be prepared for the Adaptation Strategy, if it’s felt it’s a good idea.

4.    Devolution Update

Devolution for Devon and Torbay has taken a big step forward with the publication of Government proposals for a ground-breaking deal that could re-draw the future relationship between local government in Devon and Torbay, and Whitehall. 

The proposals detail how the Deal would transfer a range of powers and funding to a Devon and Torbay Combined County Authority (CCA), subject to public consultation.

The Government is proposing to transfer over £16 million of new funding to invest in new green jobs, homes, skills, and business growth and accelerate Devon and Torbay’s transition to a net-zero economy, capitalising on the area’s world-leading expertise in green science and technology. 

A section of the Deal proposal entitled ‘Net zero and climate adaptation’ acknowledges the Devon Carbon Plan and Climate Adaptation Strategy. It outlines the potential for the Deal to enable more effective action on supporting businesses to transition to net zero; planning our future energy system; establishing sustainable heat networks for buildings; delivering building retrofit measures; funding net zero infrastructure and supporting nature recovery.

Public consultation started on the 12th February. 

Read the full Deal proposals here.

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 risks and near-term actions in the Climate Adaptation Strategy continue to be reviewed and monitored.
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