Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting 18th March

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Minutes 18th March. Download a PDF of the minutes here.

Attendees:

Response Group
Phil Norrey | Devon County Council
Emily Reed | Devon Climate Emergency
Hannah Oliver  | Devon Climate Emergency
Douglas Lisle | NHS England
Emma Page  | University of Exeter
Clare Reid | Exmoor National Park Authority
Dan Ulanowsky  | Pennon Group
Helen Dobby  | Environment Agency
Jason Ball | Mid Devon Council
Jodie Wyatt| NHS Devon CCG
Andrew Butler  | National Farmers Union
Emmanuelle Marshall  | Plymouth City Council
Angus Berry  | South West Water
Laura Cardenas  | Net-Zero Task Force
Gill Westcott  | Net-Zero Task Force
Lyndis Cole  | Net-Zero Task Force
Tim Jones  | Net-Zero Task Force
Ian Hutchcroft  | Net-Zero Task Force


Apologies:

Penny Tranter  | Met Office
Sara Gibbs  | Public Health Devon
Kevin Jones | University of Plymouth
David Ralph  | Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Alex Gandy  | Dartmoor National Park Authority
Harry Barton | Devon Wildlife Trust
Doug Eltham  | Devon County Council
Jerry Mann  | North Devon District Council
Craig Nowell  | University of Exeter
Deborah Lapthorne  | Public Health England
Estelle Macrow| Pennon
Melanie Sealey  | Devon County Council
James Cooper  | Environment Agency

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

2.1. Project Management Update

Hannah Oliverprovided an updated reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

ACTION: Hannah to let Helen Dobby know more about the daily call to action campaign being planned in the run up to G7, as Helen is in touch with BBC spotlight.

ACTION: Hannah to add Douglas Lisle to the mailing list for the newsletter and send him March’s edition.

ACTION: Hannah to contact Clare Reid to discuss collaborating on engagement with young people which Exmoor National Park Authority are planning in the run up to G7.

Clare Reid highlighted that Parish Councils in the Authority want more support. Emily responded that there are resources on the website, in particular the carbon footprint tool for Parishes. Gill added that it was worth establishing links with Devon Communities Together, who have been working with communities on climate change action.

Emily Reed invited questions about Section 1.2, of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

No further questions.

2.2. Update from the Net-Zero Task Force

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. She also highlighted the key findings of the paper provided to the group summarising the initial analysis of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation. This included that there is appetite for early, rapid progress towards carbon reduction and that the Plan has been well received.

Ian Hutchcroft spoke on behalf of the Net-Zero Task Force. He proposed that partner organisations lead structural change by aggregating their current buying power to create local markets for zero carbon alternatives including: renewable energy generation, electric vehicles, building retrofit and natural carbon sequestration.  

Ian argued that financing the actions will be key and that we can achieve zero carbon and pay no more than the current fossil options by cross subsidising as some actions can be revenue generating e.g. energy generation. But we need to scale the delivery, to help markets mature and bring costs down. This is the big opportunity for the partnership.

Phil Norrey welcomed Ian’s comments and offered to convene a meeting of the largest organisations in Devon once a clear narrative and ask is agreed. This would need to anticipate the concerns of for instance the chief procurement officers, chief financial officers and lawyers. He questioned if the updated Interim Devon Carbon Plan would further clarify the ask to large organisations.

Ian H agreed that convening such a group would be very helpful.

Dan Ulanowsky welcomed Ian’s thoughts and highlighted the importance of engaging with WPD on strategic grid reinforcement. Phil added that he has also recently connected the Secretariat with Wales and West.

The meeting recognised that there is an opportunity to use the momentum that the run up to G7 and COP will provide.

Ian suggested that the next steps for Response Group members, supported by Net-Zero Task Force members was to develop delivery plans for joint renewable electricity, vehicles, and buildings.

David Edmondson indicated Torbay’s interest in collaborative working particularly to help develop businesses to deliver energy efficiency improvement measures in their existing housing. Jason Ball from Mid Devon also welcomed opportunities to collaborate.

ACTION: Phil suggested that the next Response Group meeting explores the convening role of DCERG around strategic projects and infrastructure. Members of the group are asked to think about it further before the next meeting.

Tim Jones added that we need to develop some simple guidance that is easy for organisations to follow and suggested ambassador and training networks. Emma Page reminded the group of the need to not forget our supply chain emissions.

Emily Reed added that we did consult on the future governance structure and this can be updated to better facilitate collaboration as needed.

2.3. Update on the Climate Impacts Group

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

Emily alerted the Response Group thatthe timetable for preparing the Adaptation Plan has slipped. A revised timetable will be brought to the Response Group in April. Alternatively, it was asked if additional resource is available from partners to help drive this forward whilst attention is on the citizens assembly?

ACTION: Partners to consider if they have additional resource to support the work of the Climate Impacts Group whilst the attention of the secretariat is taken up by the citizens assembly.

3. Revised Timetable for the Interim and Final Carbon Plans

Emily shared revised timetables for the post-consultation version of the Interim Carbon Plan and the Final Carbon Plan based on the learning from last autumn about how much time is necessary to finalise documents and prepare them for online distribution.

These timetables result in approximately a 4-month extension to the timetable for each Plan.

The timetables were APPROVED pending detailed comments from the partners.

4. Partner Updates

Whilst there was not time for partner updates during the meeting, a number of partners gave an update in the chat function:

Jodie Wyatt informed the group that Devon CCG have developed their Green Plan including intentions to improve prevention and the wider determinants of health in the communities and actions in order for them to reach net-zero. They are beginning to work with Public Health England and the NHS to identify areas where they can improve sustainability in the health service in line with the Greener NHS Programme.

Andrew Butler raised that the NFU is looking at how farm businesses can aggregate farms into bigger bundles for carbon sequestration.

David Edmondson mentioned that Torbay Council’s Carbon Neutral Council & Carbon Neutral Torbay Action Plans are going to Cabinet next Tuesday. Jason raised the Local Authority tree planting fund.

5. Any Other Business

None.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: October to November 2020

Status Indicator key:

Red = Serious 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.

1. Project Management Update

1.1. General Project Communications (GREEN)

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing. The total following has increased 57% in the past 5 months.

Partnership communications activity to coincide with the G7, the citizens assembly and COP26 are being developed and potentially the two-year anniversary of Devon Climate Emergency project.

The Tactical Group at its meeting on 11th March suggested:

  • It would be helpful to engage people in what they can be doing to help such as doing something practical for wildlife everyday in June (Devon Wildlife Trust likely to be promoting this) or doing a Carbon Savvy Spring Clean
  • The project should collate community and partner activities going on across Devon and promote these.
  • Video interviews with people who have installed PV through the Devon Solar Together project or who have received a Green Homes Grant measure would be beneficial.

The website is being tweaked so that it’s easier to find examples of activity the partners are implement to ‘take action’, as described at Section 1.2 of this report below.

1.2. Highlights of Devon-Wide Projects (GREEN)

Update on a selection of Devon-wide projects:

Cross Cutting

New dedicated staff have been recruited into Devon County Council, Torbay Council, South Hams and West Devon Councils, Teignbridge District Council, Mid Devon District Council, East Devon District Council, Dartmoor National Park Authority and South West Water. Staff are currently being recruited into North Devon and Torridge District Councils and Devon and Cornwall Police. 

Torbay Council is continuing the preparation of an immediate initial Carbon Neutral Torbay Action Plan and a longer-term plan for publication by April 2022.

South Hams and West Devon Councils are considering a crowd funding climate change event later this year to coincide with the G7. Cornwall Council and Devon County Council are considering similar activities.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet and Council has allocated £2.15m to start implementing the first two years of its 10-year plan to achieve a carbon neutral organisation and supply chain by 2030. This includes funding for electric vehicles, publicly accessible charge posts, renewable energy, building refurbishment and purchasing land for habit enhancement. The Carbon Reduction Plan is available as a PDF on the website

Teignbridge District Council’s corporate carbon action plan will be prepared for April 2021.

University of Exeter’s 10 Year Plan is being considered by its Board at the end of February (decision currently unknown).

Plymouth City Council have developed two climate action plans (one for corporate activity and one for reducing area-wide emissions) that will continue to be implemented in 2021.

East Devon District Council has prepared and adopted its climate change action plan.

South Hams and West Devon Councils adopted a Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan each in December 2020

The University of Plymouth’s climate strategy has been approved by their governing body.

South West Water is developing a plan for it to be carbon neutral by 2030 as part of the water sector’s national commitment.

Environment Agency is working on a net-zero roadmap that will be launched in the next few months, which will include actions to address emissions from construction projects  

Torridge District Council’s Carbon Plan is going to Council in April 2021.

The opportunities for investment to assist with COVID recovery have been fed into processes working with government via Devon County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Devon Pensions Committee has committed to achieving a net-zero investment portfolio by 2050 and a 7% per annum reduction in carbon intensity.

South Hams, West Devon, North Devon and Torridge Councils are running a public carbon footprint campaign with Carbon Savvy between 12 – 21 March

Built Environment

The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme projects are now in their implementation phase. There is a Devon-wide project (£1.2m), and local projects in South Hams (£0.5m), West Devon (£0.5m), East Devon, Exeter, Plymouth (£3m) and Teignbridge.

Various local authorities in Devon have submitted bids to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for improving the energy efficiency of council buildings. For example, Torbay has submitted a bid for £1.9m, Teignbridge District Council has submitted a £3m bid and Devon County Council has submitted a £4m bid.

The Devon Community Energy Network is undertaking a review of Devon housing types, combining resources from Plymouth Energy Community and the South West Energy Hub, as the first stage of establishing an energy advice service for Devon. The Service would act as a ‘one stop shop’ for people in Devon needing help to improve the energy efficiency of their home and potentially workplaces, too. This work will inform the size of the market so that a self-sustaining service can be developed that can be in place for a long time. Alongside this, a trial of a cooperative business model that could be used to operate the service will be tested by the Network using funding from the South West Energy Partnership (A European-funded initiative involving Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, Exeter City Council and Bristol City Council).

The final phase to convert every one of Devon County Council’s 79,000 streetlights in your community to low energy LEDs has begun. The scheme is costing £9m and once complete the authority will have reduced the carbon emissions generated by its street lighting by 75 per cent, reducing carbon emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.

Energy Supply

Torbay Council has committed £4.8m in 2021/22 to continue developing two solar farms.

Exeter City Council is currently constructing a solar farm and workstreams looking at opportunities to help the commercial sector treat more commercial waste locally.

South West Water is looking at developing solar farm sites to take private wires into their facilities. The organisation is also updating its Adaptation Plan in-line with the Adaptation Reporting Power of the Climate Change Act.

Devon County Council has received £1m to further plans for using heat from the Exeter Energy from Waste facility in new housing south west of Exeter.

The AgroRes project is assisting farmers to make better use of renewable energy.

The Devon Energy Collective is creating a renewable energy future for Devon that benefits local people and economies. It is a Devon-wide community energy company founded and owned by the network of local-level community energy enterprises in Devon. With the help of some of the Devon Climate Emergency partners, it is developing a portfolio of 100MW of community renewable energy projects to help deliver the Devon Carbon Plan. The Devon Energy Collective hopes to sell the renewable electricity to organisations in Devon.

Transport

The Rapid Charging Exeter project (expected to install up to 150 on-street vehicle charging posts in Exeter) has started the Traffic Regulation Order process for phase 1.

Twenty-five car parks across Devon will be receiving charging posts via the DELETTI project this year. Devon County Council has submitted a bid to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for a second phase of a further 48 public car parks.

East Devon District Council and Teignbridge District Council is looking at further opportunities from the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme.

Exeter City Council is looking at models that could be used to deploy further electric vehicle charging to keep the revenue local.

Next month Devon County Council will be submitting the planning application for the Teign Estuary Cycle and Walking Trail to link Teignmouth with Newton Abbot.

Torbay Council is preparing a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan

Food, Land and Sea

Devon Strategic Food Partnership hosted its ‘The Beginning of the Journey’ webinar on 11 February 2021 to share progress so far, hear from some key speakers with food partnership experience locally and nationally, and start the conversation around building a strategic food partnership for Devon.

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.

The Devon Wildlife Trust continues to facilitate the preparation of a Nature Recovery Network with Natural Devon to guide opportunities for habitat enhancement and carbon sequestration. Devon Wildlife Trust is also incorporating livestock emissions on its landholdings into its carbon footprint. These emissions dwarf other sectors. A funding application has been submitted to get resources to find the sweet spot of management of these holdings for wildlife and carbon.

The NFU is asking members to pledge what they will do ahead of COP26.

Dartmoor National Park Authority is carbon footprinting the Authority’s land assets and incorporating this into the organisation’s carbon footprint.

Nearly 10,000 saplings have been planted in 6 locations across Devon in winter 2020/21 through a scheme organised by Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.  Twenty-five species, all native to Devon have been distributed to landowners in the upstream catchments of the rivers Dart, Yeo, Tamar, Otter, lower down the Exe and around Fernworthy Reservoir on Dartmoor.

Torbay Council has committed £150k to tree planting schemes over the next three years ad £90k for additional climate related activities.

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1. Interim Carbon Plan (GREEN)

The secretariat is reviewing the 1300 submissions to the consultation on the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan. Initial analysis shows strong support across Devon for early action on climate change and that the consultation document was well received. The consultation suggests that all the issues signposted by the Draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan for consideration at the citizens’ assembly were considered by respondents to be of equal importance for deliberation.

A full report of the responses to each consultation question will be prepared for the Task Force in April, which the partners will be able to view in May. This will inform amendments to be made to the Draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan, which the Task Force will lead on. A subsequent draft will be available for partners’ comment during June.

The Tactical Group will lead on developing an ambition for net-zero that could be palatable to all of the organisations in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership and will bring this to the Response Group for consideration in due course.

2.2. Citizens’ Assembly Procurement (GREEN)

The procurement process for the recruitment and facilitation provider of the Assembly closed on the 12th February. The evaluation of bids has been undertaken by Devon County Council and a preferred contractor identified. Contract start date will be the 8th April.

2.3 Citizens’ Assembly Governance (GREEN)

It is anticipated that an Assembly Project Team will be established with representation from the secretariat, the contractor, the Task Force and the Tactical Group. This team will have the mandate to make decisions about the operation of the Assembly within the framework already agreed by the partnership so that the challenging timescale to deliver the assembly before the school summer holidays can be met.

The Task Force will operate as the Assembly Advisory Body and will be consulted at key points during April, May and June.

The Tactical and Response Groups will be kept informed of progress.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update

3.1. Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change

A workshop to assign prioritisation scores to the climate risks identified by the group was held on the 27th January 2021, facilitated by the Local Resilience Forum secretariat.

The initial register from earlier phases of the Group’s work need to be combined with the scoring outcomes from the workshop. Emily has yet to do this due to time commitments on procurement processes for the Devon Citizens’ Assembly.

Once the data is combined into one spreadsheet, this will be circulated to the Climate Impacts Group for all to add information about:

  1. The key organizations that are currently involved in mitigating or planning for the impacts arising from each risk
  2. Additional stakeholders who have an interest in each risk but who are not directly responsible
  3. Existing controls and reporting mechanisms for each risk.

This process will identify the gaps in local preparedness for these risks. Actions required to fill these gaps will form the basis of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Plan.

The timetable for preparing the Adaptation Plan has slipped. A revised timetable will be brought to the Response Group in April. Alternatively, is additional resource available from partners to help drive this forward whilst attention is on the citizens assembly?

4. Summary Comments

The Interim Devon Carbon Plan public consultation has now closed. Analysis of the submissions continues.

Evaluation of the tender submissions to help design and facilitate the citizens’ assembly is complete and the contractor will be appointed within the next month.

The Climate Impacts Group has not made progress as quickly as hoped but a clear plan is in place to achieve the outcomes needed.

The partners are demonstrating a wide variety of new activity across the county to lead on addressing the climate emergency.

As a whole, the project is continuing to make good progress.