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Tactical Group minutes 1 October 2019

Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group minutes of meeting 1 October 2019.
Download a PDF version of the minutes here.


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Drew Powell, South Hams and West Devon Councils
John Golding, East Devon District Council
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust
Richard Merrifield, Public Health Devon
James Szymankiewicz, Natural Devon
David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council
Sarah Ogilvie, Public Health Devon
John Amosford, Public Health Devon


Hugh McCann, University of Exeter
David Rose, South West Water
Andy Seaman, University of Exeter
Sarah Higgins, North Devon District Council
Tom James, University of Exeter
Nicki Collas, Devon and Cornwall Police
Carey Wreford, South West Ambulance Services Trust

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

Update on Project Manager

The post of Climate Emergency Project Manager has been advertised and interviews were undertaken. A job offer has been made and it is expected that they will be in post in the first week of November 2019.

Update on the Net-Zero Task Force

The Tactical Group reviewed the minutes of the first meeting of the Net-Zero Task Force on the 23rd September 2019 and noted the key points:

  • A further resource for communications will be important. Doug Eltham will follow-up with Devon County Council’s Media and Digital Communications teams to progress a communication’s strategy and consider resourcing.
  • The existing timetable to produce the Devon Carbon Plan will be retained.
  • Updated territorial greenhouse gas emissions baseline data and projections have been commissioned from the University of Exeter for each local authority area.
  • The Task Force will identify how “consumption” greenhouse gas emissions (arising overseas from the import of goods and services to Devon) can be allocated to Devon from the UK-level statistics available from the national government.
  • An additional meeting of the Task Force has been scheduled for the 11 October at which the topics and operation of the themed hearings will be decided.
  • The rapid evidence-review of the use of Citizens’ Assemblies elsewhere, presently being undertaken by the University of Exeter, will be available by the end of November to inform the design of the Devon Citizens’ Assembly.

The Tactical Group discussed their thoughts on how the themed hearings could operate. It was AGREED that their preference would be for 1) an opportunity for the public to provide evidence or submit questions relevant to them ahead of a hearing, 2) an opportunity for community involvement at part of the hearings, and 3) for the hearings to be held in different parts of Devon, which could be at local authority premises to aid audio/video recording if necessary.

ACTION: Tactical Group to provide any further thoughts to Doug Eltham by 10 October on how the themed hearings could operate. This will be passed to the Task Force to assist their thinking.

It was further discussed that:

  • The Task Force could consider whether the full public consultation of the Devon Carbon Plan should involve a demographically-representative survey.
  • Greenhouse gas removal approaches and significant support to communities and individuals for behaviour change will be necessary to decarbonise Devon. The Task Force will be exploring these.

Local Updates from Partners

David Eaton – Teignbridge District Council – The October meeting of the council will receive a 6-month update as per their initial climate emergency declaration. Tony Norton from the Centre for Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter has provided a briefing to councillors on the Committee on Climate Change 2050 Roadmap.

Drew Powell – South Hams and West Devon Councils – A workshop on responding to the climate emergency has been provided for councillors. Two politically-balanced working groups are in place.

Harry Barton – Devon Wildlife Trust – Looking to appoint a new staff member to continue work on the Trust’s carbon footprinting activity. Leading on developing a Devon Nature Recovery Network project with Natural Devon; this will be relevant to carbon offsetting/sequestration opportunities.

Richard Merrifield – Devon Public Health – Developing a food security project. Public Health England South West has appointed a new officer to look at the links between spatial planning, housing and health.

James Szymankiewicz – provided a report from North Devon – A Zero Carbon Community working group has been established, being led by 361 Energy and North Devon District Council.

Doug Eltham – Devon County Council – A paper will be presented to Cabinet on 9 October on the authority’s updated and energy and carbon strategy. This is recommending that the authority sets a target for its operation including its supply chain to become carbon neutral by 2030.

John Golding – East Devon District Council – A local action plan is being developed and a corporate carbon footprinting exercise is underway. Workshops are planned for staff and members in the autumn.

The Tactical Group noted that there is a market emerging between the Devon Climate Emergency partners and a growing number of additional organisations for carbon offsets. There is an opportunity to enable this offsetting activity to occur in Devon to ensure that the wider environmental benefits that can be realised from offset projects occur in Devon rather than elsewhere.

Action: Harry Barton will consider how the Devon Nature Recovery Network project can incorporate the need to identify local carbon offset opportunities and will make contact with Tom Powell at the University of Exeter who is leading on a UK Research and Innovation project bid looking at piloting greenhouse gas removal techniques locally.

Update from the Climate Impacts Group

The Tactical Group reviewed the Activity Log of the most recent meeting of the Climate Impacts Group: The Environment Agency, Public Health England, Met Office and the University of Exeter have agreed to produce climate impact reports to feed into a workshop for Local Resilience Forum responders on the 16th October.

Impacts on the environment need to be strengthened in this workstream. The Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) has tasked Peter Chamberlain with liaising with James Szymankiewicz as chair of Natural Devon and Harry Barton to consider how to address this.

Green Great Britain Week

The DCERG had asked the Tactical Group to compile a list of projects occurring across Devon that could be promoted as part of Green Great Britain Week between the 4 and 11 December. The Week has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for early 2020. No further action at this time.

Next meeting

6 November 2019.

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