Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 18th August 2021

Contents:

  • Attendees
  • Apologies
  • Minutes of the Previous Meeting
  • Project Progress Report
  • Partnership Update
  • Net Zero Task Force Update
  • Climate Impacts Group Update
  • Revised Net Zero Ambition
  • Devon Food Partnership
  • Partner Updates
  • Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Attendees

Emily Widdecombe   Devon Climate Emergency 

Emily Reed  Devon Climate Emergency 

David Edmondson Torbay Council 

Chris Clarke Wales and West Utilities 

David Bartram Exeter City Council 

David Eaton Teignbridge District Council 

Donna Sibley North Devon and Torridge Councils 

Keir Duffin Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise) 

Harry Barton Devon Wildlife Trust 

David Ralph Heart South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

Janet Williams                        Torridge District Council  

John Amosford                       Public Health Devon 

Glenn Woodcock                    Exeter City Futures  

Alex Gandy Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Edward Humber                     National Farmers’ Union 

Apologies

Phil Norrey Devon County Council 

Doug Eltham Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Andrew Butler National Farmers’ Union 

Steve Brown Public Health Devon 

Sara Gibbs Public Health Devon 

Helen Dobby Environment Agency 

Emma Page University of Exeter 

Neil Hamlyn Local Resilience Forum 

Steve Mullineaux South Hams and West Devon Councils 

Darin Halifax NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group  

Jane Grey NHS England 

Roli Martin Global City Futures 

Angus Berry South West Water 

Clare Reid Exmoor National Park Authority 

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were AGREED as a true record of the discussion.

2. Project Progress Report

  1. Communications Update 

Emily Widdecombe provided an update reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes and invited questions. 

  1. Net-Zero Task Force Update  

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.  

  1. Plan for hearing the recommendations from the Assembly 

It was AGREED to invite a small number of members of the Devon Climate Assembly to present their recommendations to the September meeting of the Response Group.  

The Response Group will not need to respond within this meeting, it is just to initially hear the recommendations. 

John Amosford suggested that this section of the meeting could be recorded and shared with the public, similar to the sharing of the national climate assembly recommendations.  

  1. Climate Impacts Group Update  

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.  

ACTION: Emily Reed to share the latest work of the Climate Impacts Group with Donna Sibley.  

3. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report & Communicating it

Emily Reed presented the key messages from the report, including that: 

  • Every region on the planet is now experiencing the effects of climate change 
  • Human causes are indisputable 
  • Surface temperature warming has reached an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius (an increase of 1.09 C) 
  • Rapid emissions reductions are required now, and if this happens then 1.5 degrees is still in sight 
  • Net-Zero by 2050 still has a chance of limiting warming to 1.5 but only if the rapid emissions reductions occur very soon.  
  • More confidence that future warming will pass 1.5 in the 2030s if we continue emitting as we are now  

Harry Barton questioned how we should be responding to the report. Emily Reed said that the DCE secretariat are trying to tie in communication about the report with highlighting how we are taking action in Devon. Furthermore, we are reviewing the draft climate projections produced for the Climate Impacts Group in light of the latest IPCC report, especially the increased confidence of attribution of extreme weather events to climate change.  

John Amosford highlighted the importance of co-benefits of tackling climate change, for example the health benefits of cleaner air and active travel. 

Chris Clarke raised the need to consider interim actions to speed up decarbonisation, even if they may not be the technological solution in 2050. This is because not all technology ultimately required to achieve net-zero is currently available.  

Harry Barton emphasised the need for a focus on the actions which we can implement now within our powers, in order to achieve significant emissions cuts in the next decade. 

4. Continuation of Net-Zero Ambition Discussion

Emily Reed reported that the secretariat had received feedback from some of the Response Group on the latest version of the net-zero ambitions of the partnership. An updated version based on comments will be circulated with papers of the next meeting. 

ACTION: All to provide any further feedback on the revised ambition to Doug within the next week. 

5. BEIS Green Zone Funding

Emily Reed informed the Response Group that the South West Energy Hub are inviting local authorities to apply for funding to lead ‘Green Zone’ events during the COP26 fortnight, which falls between 31st October and 13th November, as part of the COP26 Domestic Campaign. The objectives are to understand better, showcase and collect case studies of local action on net-zero by LA s, community groups and SMEs. 

It was AGREED that Devon County Council make an application as a consortium of 10 organisations, businesses and local authorities in Devon, including Torbay and Plymouth, on behalf of the DCE partnership. Each organisation would run one event in each local authority area (10 events in total). The secretariat are working with the Tactical Group to confirm partners for the bid.  

David Ralph expressed the interest of the LEP in being involved in the bid and suggested that additional funding be sought as part of the bid to produce communications assets such as videos to explain the work of the DCE partnership and its alignment with the LEP’s Clean Growth Strategy. 

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: June 2021 to July 2021

Status Indicator Key:

[RED] = Significant issue that requires Response Group intervention;

[AMBER] = Minor issue that will initially be managed by the secretariat, but the Response Group should be aware;

 [GREEN] = No issue.

Partnership Update

1.1.  General Project Communications

Following

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing.

Call to Action Campaign 

The Call to Action campaign is continuing. This campaign focuses on tangible things people can do to help reach net-zero. Partners have been involved in some of the Calls to Action where it is relevant to their activity.  

Devon Climate Challenge 

The opportunity for projects to register for the second phase of the crowdfunder has now closed. Ten projects will be selected to have the opportunity to receive a share of £30k. These projects will begin crowd funding on the 6th September.  

Youth Engagement 

Emily Reed continues to meet with education providers to evaluate options for youth engagement. 

1.1.   Partners’ Activity

A £10m application to the Sustainable Warmth fund has been submitted on behalf of all of the districts and Torbay Council to BEIS to retrofit almost 600 homes in Devon.  

The Food and Farming Commission have begun the process of developing a Land Use Framework for Devon – one of the priority actions in the Devon Carbon Plan. This is being taken forward with strong collaboration with the Devon Local Nature Partnership.  

Exeter City Council has opened the city’s new look £8 million bus station.  

Devon County Council (DCC) has opened the new ‘park and change’ site at Exeter Science Park.  

Work on the new railway station at Marsh Barton in Exeter is progressing quickly.  

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

  1. Interim Carbon Plan 🟠 [AMBER] 

The Consultation Report on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan is now online.  

Amendments are now being made to the Interim Devon Carbon Plan by the secretariat. This is behind schedule due to resources being focussed on arranging the citizens’ assembly.  

The Transport section’s redraft is approaching completion and will be distributed to Tactical Group members in the next few days.  

  1. Citizens’ Assembly 🟢 [GREEN] 

The Assembly Project Team continues to meet fortnightly to plan the detail of the Assembly.  

Block 3 completed over the weekend of 24th and 25th July. The resolutions designed by the Assembly members and the conditions attached to those resolutions will be incorporated into a draft report that will be available to partners at the end of August and then finalised by the end of September.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [Amber]

Two interns on a part-time basis at the Environment Agency are leading on meetings with key organisations to understand the preparedness levels for the risks that have been identified. This is helping bring momentum to the project.  

In addition, the Secretariat has begun the second stage (preparing a business case) of obtaining funding from the Flood Defence Grant in Aid fund to provide a 6-month resource to accelerate the preparation of the Adaptation Plan.  

4. Summary Comments

  • Partners continue to implement the Interim Devon Carbon Plan while partnership procedures are ongoing 
  • The revisions to the Interim Carbon Plan are underway.  
  • The Devon Climate Assembly has completed and will report in draft form by the end of August.  
  • Additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is now in place and further applications are progressing.  

5. Appendix 1: Issues log

  1. Appendix 1 – Issues Log 
Reported Date Issue Description Implications Urgency Responsible Party Resolution Activity Status 
27/2/21 Resourcing within the Climate Emergency Secretariat means that the Climate Impacts Group has not managed to stick to its project plan.  The preparation of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan will be delayed. Med DCERG August update: Environment Agency has provided two interns to help on a part-time basis. A funding bid has been submitted to the Flood Defence Grant in Aid fund and the second stage (a business case) is now underway.     Open 
Date raised Summary Description Impact of Risk Likelihood Seriousness Owner Actions Revised likelihood Revised seriousness Escalate to  DCERG 
11/10/19 Available project management and Task Force resource If insufficient resource is available there will need to be a delay to the Devon Carbon Plan timetable with subsequent reputational damage if reasons are not accepted by the public DCERG Full-time project manager is in post.    Dec 2020 – New communications graduate is in place.   No 
11/10/19 Community engagement in the plan-making process If communities do not feel that they have had enough opportunity to input to the process then there will be a lack of ownership over the plan, the implementation of which will then be less effective. This is difficult to manage as different communities have different expectations of what engagement they should have in the process.   DCERG The evidence gathering phase has been designed to enable any individual, organisation or community to contribute evidence whilst maintaining pace to reinforce the message that this is an emergency.   The Youth Parliament was engaged in a stakeholder event on the 29/11/19.   Community representatives were invited to the hearings as witnesses.   Interim was subject to full consultation for 10 weeks, including a series of webinars.  No 
11/10/19 Publicity The process of producing the Devon Carbon Plan and Adaptation Plan must be well publicised to reach as many different communities as possible to give the process credibility DCERG New resource for communications is now in post.   Communications Plan in place  No 
31/10/19 Devon Carbon Plan process leads to inaction There is a risk that the transformational changes necessary to society will be too unpalatable for the organisations on the DCERG. Task Force Citizens’ Assembly is being used to give confidence to DCERG organisations that the actions that will appear in the plan are palatable to Devon’s population.    YES – Oct 2019 
27/3/20 Coronavirus causes a lack of staff capacity in the partner organisations to proceed with the project at the pace initially expected due to either sickness or redeployment The Devon Carbon Plan and Adaptation Plan process would need to be delayed DCERG Staff capacity in partner organisations will be monitored.  Feb 2021 – Project continues to largely run to schedule despite 30% of the Devon Climate Emergency secretariat resource currently being redeployed.   Apr 2021 – Delays with the Climate Impacts Group have been escalated to the Response Group.   June 2021 – More resource for the Climate Impacts Group has been identified and is in place.  YES – July 2020