DCERG minutes 8th October 2019

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group – minutes of meeting 8th October 2019.
Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.

Attendees

Phil Norrey, Devon County Council (Chair)
Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Sarah Higgins, North Devon District Council
David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council
Andrew Pritchard, Mid Devon District Council
Jenny Wallace, Torridge District Council
Janet Williams, Torridge District Council
Drew Powell, South Hams and West Devon Councils
James Szymankiewicz, Natural Devon
Emily Bullock, South Western Ambulance Service Trust
Perry Hobbs, South West Water
Peter Chamberlain, Devon County Council
Clare Reid, Exmoor National Park Authority
Ed Humber, National Farmers Union
Andy England, Torbay Council
Kevin Mowat, Torbay Council
Cara Stobart, Devon Association of Local Councils
Bruce Luxton, Exeter City Council

Apologies

Virginia Pearson, Devon Public Health
Patrick Devine-Wright, University of Exeter
Ken Miles, North Devon District Council
Amanda Palmer, Devon County Council
Craig Nowell, University of Exeter
David Ralph, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Debra Lapthorne, Public Health England SW
Ginny Snaith, Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
Jim Colwell, Devon and Cornwall Police
Mark Goodwin, University of Exeter
Carey Wreford, South West Ambulance Services Trust

Matters Arising from the Minutes

a. Project Manager Recruitment

The project manager has been appointed and is scheduled to start on the 11 November 2019.

b. Net-Zero Task Force

The DCERG received the minutes of the first meeting of the Net-Zero Task Force.

Doug Eltham provided feedback from the Tactical Group on their thoughts about how the thematic hearings could operate, which have been passed to the Net-Zero Task Force for their consideration. 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.

Andy England confirmed that Torbay would be interested in hosting one of the thematic hearings.

It was AGREED that the DCERG will receive the Net-Zero Task Force’s proposal for the operation of the thematic hearings via email on the 14th October and comment by the 18th October to enable the project timetable to stay on track.

Clare Reid inquired about how baseline data can be established for Exmoor. Phil Norrey advised that he is meeting with colleagues in Somerset and will discuss with them how they are approaching baseline data so that a common approach can be adopted.

ACTION: Doug Eltham and Clare Reid to discuss data for Exmoor. Phil Norrey to discuss with Somerset colleagues.

Elaine Cook has nominated Harry Bonnell to represent Devon Communities Together on the Task Force in her place as she feels unable to provide the time to the project that it needs. This was AGREED.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to arrange for Harry Bonnell to join the Net-Zero Task Force.

c. Consideration of wider ecological impacts

At present, the Terms of Reference for DCERG refer to both the environmental and community implications of climate change.  However, it is not clear how these environmental (or, more specifically, ecological) aspects will be addressed through the currently pursued process and identified outcomes. The Climate Impacts Group has no current plans to address wider environmental and ecological implications (e.g. the effect of drought on habitat and species; or the climate-related spread of invasive species).

Peter Chamberlain made the following recommendations:

  1. DCERG is asked to confirm explicitly its intention to address the environmental/ecological implications of climate change as an integral element of the Devon Climate Emergency, with this scope clarified through some amendment to the precise wording of its terms of reference.
  2. In amending the terms of reference to also make reference to the broader ecological crisis (or biodiversity crisis) that forms an inter-linked global threat.  In effect, this would recognise the twin-tracks of climate emergency and ecological crisis.
  3. Whilst the primary focus of DCERGs work might remain focussed on climate-related issues, all appropriate opportunities should be taken to address these in a way which supports both climate change and ecological objectives (e.g. development of a Devon Nature Recovery Network).
  4. The Tactical Group and the Climate Impacts Group should be asked to consider how the planned updating of the community risk register might be followed-up by work to properly document the ecological risks to Devon presented by climate change, plus options to address these, drawing on the expertise available through Natural Devon.  This should include consideration of how these options for future action might best be presented through some form of ‘Devon Adaptation Plan’, to supplement the mitigation focus of the planned ‘Carbon Action Plan’.

These recommendations were AGREED.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to arrange for the Tactical Group and the Climate Impacts Group to implement these recommendations.

d. Funding for the citizens’ assembly evaluation

Patrick Devine-Wright and Alice Moseley at the University of Exeter have submitted a funding bid to the Economy and Society Research Council to obtain £20k to evaluate the effectiveness of the citizens’ assembly next year.

e. Green Great Britain Week

Green Great Britain Week has been cancelled. It was scheduled for the 4th – 11th November 2019 but will now occur at some time in 2020.

Resourcing for Communications

Peter Chamberlain presented a proposal from Devon County Council to appoint a dedicated communications officer for 12 months to work alongside the new project manager. The officer will be available to assist all of the Devon Climate Emergency partners to coordinate communications activity. The officer will be funded out of the existing £250k project budget. DCERG partners were advised that this will mean there will be a budget shortfall next year which could be filled with contributions from them.

The DCERG AGREED to endorse this proposal.

ACTION: Peter Chamberlain to coordinate the appointment of a communications officer

Local Updates

Partner organisations provided brief updates of activity contributing to the implementation of the Devon Climate Declaration’s requirement to review corporate carbon emissions.

Next Meeting

Next meetings are Tuesday November 12th 13:00 – 14:00 and December 18th 14:00 – 15:00. These will be dial-in meetings only.