Current Projects

As well as working to create a Devon Carbon Plan which will be a roadmap to a net-zero carbon Devon; DCE partner organisations have also been working on many projects in the short term. These are projects across Devon which are reducing the area’s carbon emissions and creating a Devon where people and nature thrive.

Covid-19 Economy and Business Recovery

DCE has been working closely with Team Devon to ensure the Covid-19 Economy and Business Recovery Prospectus is centered on a green and just recovery. Team Devon includes local authorities, key public sector agencies and businesses and community stakeholders. This prospectus sets out Devon’s shared vision for economic recovery over the next 3 years.

The plan incorporates many of the suggestions raised in the call for evidence (thematic hearings and public submissions) to ensure the recovery process is one that also supports pathways to net-zero.

Read the full plan or we’ve summarised the key green aspects below, split into 4 main sections.

Support for businesses

  • Implement enhanced programmes of digital business support and digital skills
  • Support inclusive growth and community wealth building
  • Maximise Devon’s sustainable tourism, hospitality & leisure potential
  • Maximise Devon’s sustainable agriculture & food potential Stimulate Innovation in the Environmental Technology, Agri-tech and Health and Care sectors
  • Develop and promote a clean, sustainable economy

Support for city, towns and rural communities

  • Digital infrastructure investment
  • Improve transport connectivity and housing
  • Develop and secure investment for a city / town set of renewal plans
  • Develop a natural capital programme
  • Invest in renewable energy infrastructure

Support for our people and workforce

  • Seek to secure £10m towards a Green Skills Development Package for Devon,
  • Secure up to £20m of additional innovation and skills development opportunities working with the County’s Universities and Colleges,

Support for our opportunities

Green recovery

  • Roll out an ambitious Domestic Energy efficiency and Energy Generation Pilot
    • Develop a carbon In-setting Pilot
    • Low Carbon Programme Business Support Programme £2.

Clean mobility

  • Establish a Centre for Clean Mobility at Exeter Science Park
  • Champion a SMART Aviation Cluster and Freeport Proposal
  • Seek Government support of £1.83m for a comprehensive and future-proofed Electric Vehicle and Shared Mobility infrastructure network across 58 of Devon’s communities with a population of over 1,100

Letter to Prime Minister

The COVID-19 pandemic has, in the most tragic of circumstances, given us an insight into how a more sustainable Devon might look, sound and feel.

The UK Government is working on wider plans to rebuild the economy. There is a real opportunity for this recovery to ensure low-carbon, nature-restoring prosperity which could help avoid runaway climate change and ecosystem collapse.

The Committee on Climate Change wrote a letter to Boris Johnson which clearly sets out the Committee’s advice as to how effective climate policy can and should play a part in the recovery.

Phil Norrey, chief executive of Devon County Council and chair of Devon Climate Emergency Response Group has also written to our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to endorse fully the recommendations offered to Government by the Committee on Climate Change regarding how we must work together to achieve a green COVID-19 recovery and to highlight opportunities within Devon for doing so.

Graphic highlighting the key asks for a green recovery in Devon - Significantly strengthen electricity networks - Investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure - Making it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely.- - Tree planting, peatland restoration, green spaces & green infrastructure.- Housing retrofits & building new homes that are fit for the future -
Summary of key recommendations for a green recovery in Devon

Partners hiring new staff

In response to the pressing climate emergency and the desire to be fully involved in the DCE process, many partner organisations have been hiring new staff and reprioritised existing resources to focus on the climate emergency.

New staff have started or are being recruited for at:

Nature Recovery Network

A healthy natural environment is valuable in its own right and is the foundation of our wellbeing and prosperity. Yet, nature is in decline: many species are in freefall; wildlife habitats are becoming fewer, smaller and further apart – and many are damaged by poor management or insensitive development. We need this to change and to secure a shared vision across sectors, industries and communities that will put wildlife back into recovery.

Nature Recovery Networks map and join-up important places for wildlife that are currently isolated and allow us to identify areas where wildlife is abundant or scarce, and crucially where nature needs to be put back.

Logo for Devon Local Nature Partnership

Natural Devon, Devon’s Local Nature Partnership, has begun work on preparing a Nature Recovery Network for Devon, led by the Devon Wildlife Trust. This will map Devon’s existing habitats and opportunities for their enhancement and creation to achieve further benefits for nature, people and climate. It will ensure opportunities for storing carbon in the environment in Devon are led by nature’s needs.

South West Energy Hub

Hillside with windturbines on

DCE Partners Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council are representing the county on a regional project with the South West Energy Hub.

 The project will learn about successful domestic energy retrofit schemes elsewhere in the UK and internationally that could be piloted in the southwest region to rapidly increase the rate of houses being upgraded for a net-zero carbon future.

The South West Energy Hub covers seven Local Enterprise Partnerships across the SW and is one of five energy hubs that have been established across England.  The aim of the Energy Hub is to encourage investment into energy infrastructure, connect local institutions and share best practice across the five Hub regions.

Devon Solar Together

Field with solar panels

Devon Solar Together is one of DCE’s most recent projects, led by Devon County Council, the scheme is partnered by 10 of Devon’s planning authorities, who are all DCE partners. The Devon Solar Together buying collective is gathering pace to launch at the end of July.

Devon’s householders have the chance to help the county become net-zero by joining DCE’s solar panel group-buying scheme.

Devon Solar Together, with group buying experts iChoosr Ltd, is offering homeowners the chance to buy high quality solar PV more cheaply than if they were buying alone.

Research by the University of Exeter shows that 19 per cent of all Devon’s carbon emissions are created by our homes, with more than half of those by grid-supplied electricity.  Installing solar panels will reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity needed for powering our homes.

This scheme follows four similar projects run across the country last year which promise to deliver over 1,300 installations, saving an estimated 28,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from being produced.

Increasing solar PV on households will be an ongoing action to help Devon reach its net-zero targets.

1.2MW Solar Farm

The innovative scheme is one way in which the authority is continuing to deliver its ambition to be a Net Zero Carbon City by 2030. It also demonstrates the benefits of solar power for all to share and contributing to wider emissions reductions across Devon.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak the project, located on an redundant landfill site at Water Lane, is well under way.

The £3.5million scheme will receive almost £1.6m in grant funding from the European Regional Development Fund. This fund is designed to drive forward innovation, energy storage solutions and smart grid systems in the region.

South West Food Hub

DCE Partners including Heart of South West LEP, the University of Exeter and National Farmers Union (NFU) are supporting the development of the South West Food Hub.

The South West Food Hub is a Community Interest Company. It was formed to create a collaborative community to support the region’s food network to buy local and establish shorter, more sustainable supply chains. They work across the South West’s food sector, focusing primarily on public procurement.

They are aiming to pilot a new online platform that will link public sector buyers with regional producers and suppliers. You can find out more about the pilot and how you can get involved here.

They are also supporting a number of other projects. These aim to help the regional food community during the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst championing their aspiration to build back better.

This includes

  • Signposting to a fantastic range of local producers and suppliers in their local food map.
  • Carrying out research to better understand how food businesses in the region are being affected by Covid-19.
  •  Championing the use of local produce in catering education.

Agro Res

DCE Partner, Devon County Council, is working on the AgroRes Project which is increasing renewable energy in the agriculture section. AgroRES raises awareness of the benefits of investing in renewable energy in agriculture and promotes conversations with stakeholders to overcome previous barriers.

The agricultural sector accounts for almost 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, mainly for food production and transport. While there is an enormous potential to produce renewable energy on farms due to the availability of wind, sun, biomass and agricultural waste, important barriers and challenges remain.                                    

Recent studies have proven that the main barriers identified by farmers to produce renewable energy are: 

  • complex permit and subsidy procedures
  • high investment costs
  • limited access to credit and doubts about the profitability

Subsidies and feed-in tariffs are key factors in encouraging farmers to shift towards more sustainable production and use of energy

AgroRES will support this sector and farmers across Devon by solving its energy needs in a sustainable and socially responsible way.

Electric Vehicles

Devon County Council has been working on a project to install electric car charge points across Devon.

A two-year £1.3m project to install at least 25 electric vehicle charge points for public use in car parks across Devon started in October 2019 and progresses well.

Once complete the Devon Low-carbon Energy & Transport Technology Innovator (DELETTI) programme will prevent more than 300 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.

The project follows Devon County Council securing a grant of £817,712 from the European Regional Development Fund.

The project is being led by Devon County Council with other DCE partners including East Devon District Council, North Devon District Council, South Hams District Council, Teignbridge District Council and West Devon District Council and is scheduled to be complete by December 2021.

The charge points will be installed in key carparks in Devon’s largest communities. Including:

  • Exeter, Barnstaple, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Honiton, Seaton, South Molton, Ilfracombe, Totnes, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Tavistock, Okehampton, Dartmouth, Salcombe, Dawlish, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot.

The charge points themselves will be powered by renewable energy. These could be in the form of solar carports. Solar car ports are solar panels mounted on frames to enable cars to park underneath and recharge.