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Tactical Group Meeting Minutes 9th June 2020

Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group minutes of meeting 9th June 2020.
You can download a PDF of the minutes here.


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Andy Seaman, University of Exeter
David Rose, South West Water
William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council
Richard Merrifield, Public Health Devon
Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency
Ellie Rowlands, Devon Climate Emergency
Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority
John Golding, East Devon District Council
Lynda Wookey, University of Exeter and Exeter City Futures
Janet Williams, Torridge District Council
Sara Gibbs, Public Health Devon
Sarah Higgins, North Devon District Council
Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon District Council


James Szymankiewicz, Natural Devon
Nicki Collas, Devon and Cornwall Police
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

The Group confirmed that most local authorities in the partnership should be content to signoff the draft Version 1 Plan for consultation through the Council Leader or the Cabinet Member with the relevant portfolio responsibility, rather than full committee procedures. All members will have an opportunity to comment on the draft as part of the public consultation.

2. Project Progress Report

2.1  Project Management and Communications Update

Ellie Rowlands provided an update reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes. Richard Merrifield asked if the Public Health Annual Report on Planetary Health had been shared on social media, which Ellie confirmed it had.

Doug Eltham advised that the conclusion of the Covid reset conversation at the DCERG on the 22nd May was for a letter to be sent to ministers from the Devon Climate Emergency project supporting the investment priorities identified by the Committee on Climate Change. Sara Gibbs requested that the letter mentions the principal of social justice. The Tactical Group can comment on the draft before it is sent in the next few weeks, which Doug will circulate once it is drafted.  

ACTION: Doug to ensure the draft letter mentions social justice.

2.2  Update from the Net-Zero Task Force

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

2.3  Update on the Climate Impacts Group

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

3. Local Updates from Members

Each member provided an update on their activity to address the climate emergency locally.

  • South West Water – The industry is continuing to collect information and ideas on how to meet net zero commitments. Moved into a phase of analysing which activities will be most cost effective.
  • Exeter City Futures – Looking to identify the top five actions in the Net-Zero 2030 Plan based on carbon saving, cost, deliverability that could be put forward as the key activities in response to the Covid reset.
  • University of Exeter – Covid could significantly alter the availability of capital for low-carbon works. Looking to identify new, innovative opportunities, which can be shared with this group once more developed. Might be an opportunity to collaborate to provide economies of scale to the market for building refurbishment, for example.
  • Teignbridge District Council – Working on a methodology to reinterpret low carbon policies in the Local Plan.
  • Devon County Council – Detail of the Carbon Reduction Plan has been prepared. Now prioritising these by cost effectiveness, similar to South West Water, and continuing conversations with finance colleagues.
  • East Devon District Council – Appointed a Cabinet member with a portfolio for climate change. The authority has agreed to recruit a new post to take forward climate change activity, which is currently on hold due to Covid.

4. Funding Opportunities

No further funding opportunities shared.

5. Any other Business


6. Next meeting

July 9th, 12 – 1.  Meeting invitations have been sent.


Period: May – June 2020

Status Indicator key:

Red = Serious issues 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.

Project Management Update

Activity Over the Past Month

Project Communications   Website phase 2 preferred contractor has been identified. Standstill period finishes on the 12th June and the contract will be awarded on the 14th June. New website expected to be operational by the end of August.   In the meantime, the existing website has been enhanced.Green
Using the Climate Emergency as a Material Planning Consideration   Cornwall Council will share consultation findings on their draft Climate Change Development Plan Document with Devon County Council later in June which will provide an opportunity for Devon authorities to learn from Cornwall’s approach.  Green
Covid Reset Letter from the DCE Project will be written to the UK Government supporting the investment priorities identified by the Committee on Climate Change as these align well with the themes emerging from the activity on the Devon Carbon Plan and the Adaptation Plan. Letter is currently being drafted and will be shared with partners for comment.Green

Activity Expected Next Month

Project Communications

  • Development of ‘Website Phase 2’ will commence.
  • Further social media content around the suggestions in the call for evidence and themed hearings will be developed.

Using the Climate Emergency as a Material Planning Consideration

  • Await the consultation responses from Cornwall Council – this is likely to identify the issues and unintended consequences of prioritising carbon reduction within the planning process, which is an activity we were going to use a workshop for in Devon. 

Covid Reset

  • Letter to UK Government will be finalised and despatched.

Net-Zero Task Force Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To use its specialist knowledge and experience to produce an evidence-led Devon Carbon Plan, including consideration of the earliest credible date that should be set for net-zero emissions.

Activity Over the Past Month

Citizens’ Assembly The timing of the citizens’ assembly remains uncertain. The national climate assembly is being held online and the Task Force is monitoring its effectiveness to consider whether an online approach could work in Devon but there are clearly issues with digital inclusivity that would appear to be difficult to overcome. Amber
Developing the Carbon Plan   The Task Force continues to synthesise the key actions for the Version 1 Carbon Plan.   A workshop facilitated by Regen on the 22nd May helped the Task Force review the objectives of the Plan and identify interdependencies, risks and feedback loops between the priority actions to embed ‘systems thinking’ into the Plan. This has helped inform the structure of the Carbon Plan which is now taking shape.   The Centre for Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter is leading on an approach to help the Task Force identify the potential carbon impact of each action that will involve quantification where possible.   A spreadsheet has been produced documenting about 160 actions. These are categorised by the theme they relate to as well as the strategic-level outcomes and objectives they are helping achieve. The actions are further categorised by whether the action is something to be delivered locally or nationally, an issue that the citizens’ assembly should deliberate (and therefore will not be resolved within the Version 1 Carbon Plan), which type of organisations would be involved, who the lead organisation might be, which type of geography it is relevant to (e.g. city, market town, rural etc.) and the timescale for implementation.   This spreadsheet has been shared with project partners and meetings with the secretariat are being scheduled to discuss further.  Green
Public Engagement Outline arrangements had been made for three public events to share the key findings and a Q&A with task force members. Future of these remains uncertain due to Covid 19.Amber

Activity Expected Next Month

Citizens’ Assembly and Carbon Plan Timetable

  • Watching brief will remain on government advice regarding mass gatherings and the effectiveness of the national citizens’ assembly.  

Developing the Carbon Plan

  • Finalise the assessment of the carbon saving potential of the actions. Once complete, use this analysis to help prioritise actions further.
  • The secretariat will continue to meet with project partners to discuss the  actions and progress towards having a draft Version 1 Plan ready for public consultation.  
  • Specific issues that the citizens’ assembly will need to deliberate will continue to be compiled by the Net-Zero Task Force and project partners, and research briefs around these will be prepared and commissioned as necessary.

Public Engagement

  • Planning of the engagement events will continue to determine whether they can be held online.

Climate Impacts Group Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To work collaboratively with the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly climate emergency projects operating in each of the three localities to use its expertise to help:

  • prepare communities for the necessary adaptations to infrastructure, services and behaviours that will be required to respond to a warmer world.
  • improve the resilience of the natural environment against the effects of climate change

Activity Over the Past Month

Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change   The Met Office has finalised its summary of the 2018 climate projections.   Narratives on: Flood and coastal risk (led by the Environment Agency)Health (led by Public Health England)The natural environment (led by the Local Nature Partnership with the Westcountry Rivers Trust)   are expected by mid-June, which is a slight delay due to partners’ focus on the immediate Covid response.   Then, the social and economic commentary will be added by the University of Exeter potentially by the end of July.Amber
Timetable for the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan The Group is preparing a timetable for the Plan production.  Current proposals, being reviewed by each partner, are for a draft plan to be prepared for February 2021 and a final plan available for June 2021. This will be discussed further at the Group’s next meeting.Green

Activity Expected Next Month

Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change

The narratives will be finalised and the University of Exeter will begin its commentary on wider social and economic issues.

Timetable for an Adaptation Plan

A timetable for an Adaptation Plan will be agreed and presented to the DCERG for endorsement.

Summary Comments

The Devon Carbon Plan continues to be in a phase of understanding the key actions that could be implemented locally and the choices that should be deliberated by the citizens’ assembly.

The Climate Impacts Group is now under a new Chair and is completing the impact narratives.

Overall, the project continues to perform well given the Covid-19 restrictions.

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