Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 21st July

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

Tom Dauben – Environment Agency

Emily Reed – Devon Climate Emergency

Doug Eltham – Devon County Council

Emily Widdecombe – Devon Climate Emergency

Elliot Batty – D&CIoS Local Resilience Forum

Penny Tranter – Met Office

Harriet Googe – Environment Agency

Apologies

Helen Dobby (Chair)

Alan Jeffrey – Cornwall Council

Alex Rainbow – Cornwall Council

James Cooper – Environment Agency

Rob Scarrott – South West Water

Neil Hamlyn – D&CIoS Local Resilience Forum

Dave Watkins  – Cornwall Council

Ruth Rockley – Devon County Council

Jacqui Warren – Torbay Council

Jane Grey – NHS England

Laurence Couldrick – West Country Rivers Trust

Saska McGrath – South West Water

Sara Gibbs – Devon Public Health

Michael Allum – Public Health England

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 Partnership Update

Hannah Oliver provided an updated reflecting Section 1.1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes and invited questions.

2.2 Net Zero Task Force Update

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

Kaela advised that the Assembly has experienced excellent retention rates – 66 of the original 70 are expected to attend the final weekend.

The presentations of evidence are all available online.

A draft report of the Assembly’s resolutions and the conditions attached to those resolutions will be available at the end of August, which is subsequently expected to be published in at the end of September.

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. No further questions asked.

3. Revised Net-Zero Ambition

Doug Eltham introduced a revised ambition for the Carbon Plan that has been developed by the Tactical Group. This reflects the public consultation’s findings that the respondents want to see a stronger message that action is needed early. However the ambition needs to remain achievable to the Partnership as a whole.

Points of immediate feedback were:

  • Chris Clarke said there should be a clear link to the climate adaptation workstream of the Devon Climate Emergency project.
  • Clare Reid said it is unclear how effective carbon offsetting will be by 2030, and yet carbon offsetting will be necessary if the net-zero date is to be brought forward ahead of the national timetable. Others agreed. Doug said that carbon offsetting opportunities in the natural environment being established now in the UK will not be storing enough carbon by 2030. So if the date were brought forward, we would need to look to use other mechanisms as offsets, such as energy efficiency or renewables projects, and perhaps look overseas.
  • Chris Clarke noted that Wales and West have put forward a plan to Ofgem to be a net-zero network by 2035 but that the regulator has yet to accept the plan in full due to uncertainties about the cost implications for consumers’ bills.
  • David Bartram said that the readiness of technology needs to be considered as there are real issues for partners in Devon related to this. For example the practicalities of decarbonising large vehicles are not going to be easy to solve.
  • Andrew Butler reminded the Group that the sectoral target for agriculture is 2040. Any earlier would be incredibly challenging to achieve whilst maintaining security of food provision.
  • Jason Ball reminded the Group that most of the partners had input on multiple occasions to the drafting of the revised ambition and encouraged the Group to endorse it for inclusion in the next iteration of the Carbon Plan.  

ACTION: All to provide any further feedback on the revised ambition to Doug before the next Response Group meeting.

4. Devon Food Partnership

Rio Bayley introduced the Devon Food Partnership project. This project is implementing a priority action in the Interim Devon Carbon Plan to establish a ‘Sustainable Food Devon’ initiative.

Funding has been secured for a two-year coordinator. The project is member of the network of Sustainable Food Places and is nested with similar initiatives being established in Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay.

Rio encouraged partners to sign the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration before COP26.

Phil Norrey requested that there is representation from the Devon Climate Emergency project within the governance of the Devon Food Partnership.

ACTION: Emily to discuss governance arrangements with Rio.

5. Partner Updates

Phil Norrey highlighted the Community Renewal Fund projects that have been submitted to government by Devon County Council for potential funding. Torbay and Plymouth councils will have done similar.

David Edmondson reported that the Torbay Climate Partnership is meeting with more than 20 local representatives. The concept has been well received and there is a real willingness to get involved.

Helen Dobby offered a presentation to the Group on new approaches to spatial data visualisation. Phil accepted.

ACTION: Doug to contact Tom Dauben at the Environment Agency to schedule for a future meeting.

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.

Figure 1,1 DCE Social Media Following

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. A volunteer student continues to help Hannah with the social media collateral.

Devon Climate Challenge

The first phase of the Devon Climate Challenge crowdfunder has completed. Three successful projects raised £10k, £5k and £4k from crowdfunding, which will each receive match funding of £5k, £3k and £2k respectively from Devon County Council.

A second phase has now launched. Ten further projects have the opportunity to receive a share of £30k. People can register their project by the 29th July.

County Show

The Devon County Show went ahead on the 2/3/4 July and the Devon Climate Emergency was featured on the Devon County Council stand. Hannah and Emily developed material for the stand focussed on helping people understand which everyday activities emit the most carbon. Awareness was also raised about the citizens’ assembly.

Thank you to officers from partner organisations who helped staff the stand over the three days. There was a continual flow of people and discussions were generally positive about the intention of the Devon Climate Emergency but also a clear acknowledgement that change will be very challenging.

Youth Engagement

Hannah and Emily continue to meet with education providers to evaluate options for youth engagement.

1.1.   Partners’ Activity

Project Activity has been moved into a shared Excel file (attached to meeting papers email) where partners can keep their projects up to date each month. Projects that Group members wish to publicise appear on the DCE website and will be showcased in the project newsletter and on social media.

Devon County Council has launched a new Natural Capital Challenge Fund with £300k COVID recovery money.

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1.  Interim Carbon Plan  [AMBER]

The Response Group signed off the Consultation Report on the Interim Devon Carbon Plan at its meeting in June. The secretariat hope to get this online by the end of July.

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. A masters graduate is helping with initial redrafting to get this back on track. Individual chapters will be sent out to you as they become available.

2.2.  Citizens’ Assembly [GREEN]

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

Block 2 completed over the weekend of 10th and 11th July. The assembly split into three streams. Each stream considered one of the three topics:

  • In what conditions, if any, should onshore wind be allowed in Devon?
  • What would be the best ways of encouraging, or requiring, people to retrofit their homes, properties or business premises to reduce carbon emissions?
  • How can we encourage people to use their cars less, whilst maintaining mobility in Devon?

A variety of witnesses and advocates presented information about the current situation, opportunities and issues, and were available to answer the participants’ questions.

All of the presentations made to the assembly are being made available on the Devon Climate Emergency website at https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/evidence/

Feedback from Block 1 shows that the participants are finding the assembly a rewarding experience and feel the facilitation of the discussions is good.

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 and the Environment Agency has submitted a funding bid to the Flood Defence Grant in Aid fund to provide a 6-month resource to accelerate the preparation of the Adaptation Plan. Initial stage was successful and the next stage of submitting a business case will be submitted by the end of August.

4. Summary Comments

The Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation Report is expected to be online by the end of July.

The revisions to the Plan itself are behind schedule. A graduate is now helping with initial updating. Individual chapters will be sent to project partners as they become available.

The Devon Climate Assembly is progressing well.

Additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is now in place and further applications are progressing.