Climate Impact Group Meeting 16th June

Contents:

Climate Impact Group Meeting Minutes 16th June 2021. Download a PDF version here.

Attendees

Helen Dobby | Environment Agency (Chair)
Alan Jeffrey | Cornwall Council
Emily Reed | Devon Climate Emergency
Hannah Oliver| Devon Climate Emergency
Doug Eltham| Devon County Council
Tom Dauben| Environment Agency
James Cooper | Environment Agency
Laurence Couldrick | West Country Rivers Trust
Saska McGrath| South West Water
Michael Allum| Public Health England
Harriet Googe | Environment Agency
Kathryn Morgan | Environment Agency
Felix Zanders | Environment Agency
Sara Gibbs| Public Health England
Elliot Batty | D&CIoS Local Resilience Forum
Rob Scarrott| South West Water

Apologies

Peter Chamberlain | Devon County Council
Hannah Fox | Cornwall Council
Elliot Batty | Local Resilience Forum Secretariat
Neil Hamlyn | Local Resilience Forum Manager
Penny Tranter | Met Office
Dave Watkins | Cornwall Council
Ruth Rockley | Devon County Council
Jacqui Warren| Torbay Council
Jane Grey | NHS England

1. Welcome to new members

Helen welcomed new members to the Group.

Alan asked for the Terms of Reference for the Group.

ACTION: Send Terms of Reference to Alan Jeffrey and Emily will meet with Alan.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting

These were accepted as a true record. 

3. Resourcing update

Helen has had conversations with some district councils to ask for their involvement in developing the Adaptation Plan. Authorities are keen to get more involved so that they can keep their members updated on progress. A letter has been drafted that will be shared with Emily to send out by the end of this week.

ACTION: Helen Dobby to share the letter with Emily.

4. Funding

A bid into the Flood Defence Grant in Aid Fund for a six-month contract, or secondment, to progress the work of the group towards a draft Adaptation Plan for public consultation has been submitted by Devon County Council, led by the Environment Agency. Next step is to produce the business case.

Sara Gibbs suggested that COVID Recovery Funding from Devon County Council could be explored to pick up when the Environment Agency funding ends.

ACTION: Emily to speak with Sara about potential COVID Recovery Funding   

5. Furthering the Adaptation Plan

The Environment Agency has kindly offered help from Kathryn and Felix to gather information from the partners about existing mitigation measures in place to manage the climate risks identified by the Group. Kathryn and Felix will be getting in touch with Group members over the coming weeks for one-to-one conversations to complete the records in the risk register.

6. South West Water Drought Plan

Rob Scarrott introduced the draft Drought Plan 2021/22 (https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/environment/a-precious-resource/drought-plan/) that is now available for consultation. It explains what actions will be taken in a drought, when those actions will be taken, how those actions will be communicated, the management structure during a drought (including links with the Local Resilience Forum), how the environment will look to be protected and how actions can be coordinated with other water companies in the region.

The Plan is a tactical level document and has a five year lifespan. Input from Group members would be welcome.

The Plan models how customers’ demand is expected to change over the next five years and combines this with scenario planning of water availability which take climate change into account.

Generally, climate change will mean the reservoirs will get full more quickly in the autumn but they’ll be drawn down much more quickly in the spring/summer. The systems were not designed for that behaviour, so work is going on to adapt the supply systems. Additional problems will be issues for water quality associated with algal blooms and more intense pollutants due to lower environmental flows in times of low rainfall.

Longer-term water availability in response to climate change is considered by the Water Resources Management Plan (https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/environment/a-precious-resource/water-resources-management-plan/) . Both of these documents will need to be recorded in the Climate Risks Register which Saska McGrath will look at for the Group.

ACTION: Emily to collate a joint Climate Impacts Group response, highlighting key messages from individual partners.

7. Engaging stakeholders to understand their baseline preparedness

Emily reported that she has spoken with the coordinator of the Devon Maritime Forum about engaging their membership in the autumn about the risks the Group has identified.

Tom Dauben added that this could provide an opportunity to test an emerging tool that will help assess the risk of flooding and coastal erosion and assess current levels of preparedness within a particular community.

7. AOB

The St Austell Bay Resilient Regeneration (StARR) project (https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/starr-project-1)

Alan provided an update. The £34m project is looking at the flood risks and develop a masterplan with the community based on the options available and the economics of the risks in the future. The benefits it hopes to deliver will have a 25 year lifespan, beyond which a further adaptation approach will be required.

There are three components:

  1. Research and options appraisal study. This is drafted. It looks at which parts of the community are most vulnerable and the options available under the 2018 climate change projections to manage the risks.
  • Engaging with the community and wider stakeholders in local authorities and risk management organisations to share the findings of stage 1 and understand the appetite for proceeding with any of the options.
  • Develop preferred options further into a masterplan.

There is no tried and tested methodology to prepare an adaptation plan like this, so it’s a pilot which if successful could be deployed elsewhere.