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Tactical Group Minutes 6th May 2020

Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group minutes of meeting 8th April 2020.
You can download a PDF of the minutes here.


Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Andrew Busby, Mid Devon District Council
Andy Seaman, University of Exeter
Tom James, University of Exeter
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust
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
Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils
Nicki Collas, Devon and Cornwall Police
Andrew Gunther, Torbay Council
Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority
John Golding, East Devon District Council
John Amosford, Public Health Devon
Lynda Wookey, University of Exeter and Exeter City Futures


Sarah Higgins, North Devon District Council
James Szymankiewicz, Natural Devon
Janet Williams, Torridge District Council

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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

The only action not addressed on today’s agenda was for Harry Barton to discuss the range of nature improvement projects underway in the county with Profesor Ian Bateman to ensure they are aligned with the Greenhouse Gas Removal bid that Professor Bateman is preparing and was discussed at the April meeting of the Tactical Group. Harry is doing this.  

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. Ellie was able to report that that a new strapline for the Devon Climate Emergency project has been selected by the public via social media. The new strapline is:

Creating a resilient, net-zero carbon Devon – where people and nature thrive

Doug Eltham has spoken with Cornwall Council regarding its current consultation for its Climate Change Development Plan Document. The consultation should be helpful in understanding the unintended consequences of prioritising the climate emergency in planning decisions.

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.

The Group discussed how to manage obtaining signoff from the Devon Climate Emergency partners for the draft Version 1 Plan before the public consultation. There are 13 local authorities amongst the partners and obtaining full Cabinet or Council signoff could cause a delay, particularly with the Covid social distancing measures in place.

It was AGREED that it would be beneficial for the local authorities to signoff the draft Version 1 Plan for consultation through the Council Leader or the Cabinet Member with the relevant portfolio responsibility. The actions that are being considered for inclusion in the Version 1 Plan will be shared with partner organisations at officer level in May for comment and to check that issues that are socially sensitive are not included and are taken to the citizens’ assembly in 2021 for deliberation instead. The Task Force will take those comments on board and provide a refined draft back to officers in late June or early July to discuss with organisation leaders to sign it off for public consultation. All members will have an opportunity to comment on the draft as part of the public consultation.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to propose this approach to the DCERG at its meeting on the 22nd May.

ACTION: Tactical Group members to discuss this approach with senior officers and members ready to feedback to the DCERG on the 22nd May.

The Group considered a revised proposal for the focus of the Economy and Society Research Council (ESRC) funded project that was initially designed to review the effectiveness of the citizens’ assembly. Due to the delay to the assembly, the University of Exeter has proposed focussing the research onto the effectiveness of the engagement methods being used with the project partners, the public and communities. The university will continue to look for extension funding so that the effectiveness of the assembly can continue to be evaluated.

Richard Merrifield asked for information on the reasons for the percentage split between the different types of audiences that will be engaged in the research.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to ask Patrick Devine-Wright for the reasons.

The Group AGREED this proposal.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to circulate the proposal to the DCERG and ask for its endorsement of the proposal quickly to enable the ESRC to be informed.

2.3  Update on the Climate Impacts Group

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

Harry Barton asked whether the Local Enterprise Partnership was involved with this Climate Impacts Group. Doug advised that it isn’t directly, however the University of Exeter will be providing a commentary on the economic implications of climate change for the work of the Climate Impacts Group.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to determine how the Local Enterprise Partnership could be better linked to this workstream.  

3. Covid-19 Reset

Doug Eltham advised the Group that the DCERG will be dedicating the majority of its meeting on the 22nd May to discussing how the likely economic stimulus that will be required post Covid can benefit decarbonisation.

The Group AGREED that the Devon Climate Emergency communications channels should be used to start raising awareness of some of the opportunities for a green recovery.

Ellie advised that there is already traction on social media to #buildbackbetter and that the Devon Climate Emergency will engage with these conversations but that we clearly need to be sensitive to the tragic circumstances from which these opportunities are emerging.  

4. Local Updates from Members

Each member provided an update on their activity to address the climate emergency locally. All members remain heavily focussed on the immediate response to the COvid-19 outbreak.

  • Mid Devon District Council – A new cabinet member for climate change has been appointed. In the process of putting on the detail into its own decarbonisation action plan.
  • South West Water – The industry is continue to collect information and ideas on how to meet our net zero commitments. South West Water’s 2019/20 emissions were the lowest emissions since 2004.
  • Exeter City Futures – Net-Zero 2030 plan published last month. Starting to look for opportunities arising from the Covid reset.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to invite Lynda Wookey to the DCERG conversation about Covid reset on the 22nd May.

  • Devon and Cornwall Police – many of the construction projects are delayed due to the Covid lockdown. Starting to revise the sustainability strategy.
  • Teignbridge District Council – Carbon footprint has been prepared and is working its way through the committee processes
  • Devon Wildlife Trust – Producing a Covid-19 recovery plan to get the organisation functioning. As part of this looking to benefit from some of the enforced behaviour changes during the lockdown.
  • Devon County Council – Continuing to prepare the detail of the Carbon Reduction Plan that will implement the commitment to be net-zero by 2030

5. Funding Opportunities

No further funding opportunities shared.

6. Any other Business

A discussion group focussing on how embodied carbon can be reduced from construction and civil engineering activities is being convened by Devon County Council. Nicki Collas and William Elliott asked to join this.

ACTION: Any others wishing to join this discussion group please let Doug Eltham know.

Adam Williams asked for information about the opportunity to purchase renewable energy collectively from new generating capacity in Devon.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to send information to Adam.

7. Next meeting

June 9th, 10 – 11.  Meeting invitations have been sent.

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