Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting 21st June

Contents:

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Minutes 21st June. Download a PDF of the minutes here.

Attendees:

Response Group
Phil Norrey | Devon County Council
Doug Eltham | Devon County Council (Environment)
Alex Gandy | Dartmoor National Park Authority
David Edmondson  | Torbay Council
Jason Ball | Mid Devon District Council
Steve Brown | Public Health Devon
Andrew Butler  | National Farmers Union
Helen Dobby | Environment Agency
Angus Berry  | South West Water
Keir Duffin | Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)
Roli Martin | Global City Futures
Chris Clarke | Wales and West Utilities
Sara Gibbs | Public Health Devon
Clare Reid | Exmoor National Park Authority

Apologies:

David Bartram  | Exeter City Council
Hannah Oliver  | Devon Climate Emergency
Emily Reed | Devon Climate Emergency
David Ralph | Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Emma Page  | University of Exeter
Jane Grey  | NHS England
Neil Hamlyn | Local Resilience Forum
Darin Halifax  | NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
Steve Mullineaux | South Hams and West Devon Councils
Donna Sibley | North Devon and Torridge Councils 
Harry Barton| Devon Wildlife Trust

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

Doug Eltham 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

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

A number of questions were raised for discussion about the citizens’ assembly:

Chris Clarke asked what level of detail is going to be presented to the building retrofit stream regarding the technology options available in the future. Doug said the assembly will be focussing on how we can encourage retrofit to happen quicker, rather than which technologies should be pursued. The assembly will hear that the technology pathway will involve a combination of electrification, hydrogen and biomass depending on the circumstance of each building.

ACTION: Doug and Chris to meet to discuss technology pathways further to aid the updating of the Built Environment section of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan.

David Edmondson asked how people dropping-out of the assembly will be addressed. Doug said that if attendance drops below critical levels to provide a representative opinion of Devon there is a contingency plan to engage further people. However this would only be done early on in the process. Experience from other assemblies shows that drop out is generally very low.

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

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

In addition, Helen said that the Group will review the latest recommendations from The Committee on Climate Change Adaptation Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk which recently set out the priority climate change risks and opportunities for the UK.

3. Draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation Report

Doug introduced the Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation Report and recommended it for sign-off by the Group and subsequent publication.

The Group signed-off the Report and AGREED for the report to be published online.

ACTION: Secretariat to publish the Report online.

4. Revised timetable for the Interim and Final Carbon Plans

Doug presented a revised timetable as recommended by the Tactical Group. Instead of sequential stages of Task Force drafting >  partners reviewing > Task Force redrafting, the necessary conversations will be done iteratively in a process of co-design. This iterative process was not appropriate for the production of the Interim Plan when the impartiality of the Task Force needed to be protected to ensure the issues and barriers identified from the call for evidence process were translated into unbiased actions. The preparation of the Final Carbon Plan is different because the recommendations about what should happen will have already been developed by the Devon Climate Assembly and it will be necessary for the partners, many of whom will be responsible for implementing many of the Assembly’s recommendations, to be part of considering the next steps.

The Group AGREED the revised timetable. This will achieve 5 month reduction in the timetable by changing the way of working with the Net-Zero Task Force. This will bring the completion date forward from January 2023 to August 2022.

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: May 2021 to June 2021.

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.

G7 and COP 26

The Call to Action campaign started on the 10th June and will run through to the end of July to coincide with the G7 and the Citizens’ Assembly. This campaign focuses on tangible things people can do to help reach net-zero. Some of the Calls to Action are being planned with partners where it is relevant to their activity. A volunteer student is helping Hannah with the social media collateral.

The Devon Climate Challenge crowdfunder launched and has now closed. The three successful projects will be announced later this month and will take part in a 24 hour fund raising event in July.

County Show

The Devon County Show is expected to proceed on 1/2/3/4 July and the Devon Climate Emergency will be featured on the Devon County Council stand. Hannah and Emily have developed material for the stand focussed on helping people understand which everyday activities emit the most carbon.

Youth Engagement

Hannah and Emily are evaluating options for youth engagement to along three strands – 1) raising awareness of the DCE initiative generally, 2) how to engage on issues to be discussed by the Assembly, and 3) providing curriculum support for schools longer term.

Options continue to be evaluated.

1.2. Partners’ Activity (GREEN)

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.

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1. Interim Carbon Plan (AMBER)

The drafted consultation report summarising the 1321 submissions on the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan will be brought to the Response Group for sign-off in June incorporating amendments from partners. This will then be published online soon after.  

Amendments are now being made to the Interim Devon Carbon Plan by the secretariat. A subsequent draft was expected to be available for partners’ comment during June however, as previously anticipated, the resources required to arrange the citizens’ assembly have meant this is not yet ready. Individual chapters will be sent out to you as they become available.

2.2. Citizens’ Assembly (GREEN)

The Assembly Project Team has been meeting fortnightly to plan the detail of the Assembly.

The seventy participants for the Assembly have been selected and are now receiving training on Zoom and further details about the process.

Three topics, combining four of the six issues presented in the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan have been selected for detailed deliberation. The specific questions are still being refined, but generally the three are:

  • 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 make car travel less attractive?

The detailed design of each session is now being planned along with the witnesses who will be approached to present information and answer the participants’ questions.

The two remaining issues that will not be deliberated at the assembly will be developed through other means. The first one is an issue about how landscape should respond to the climate challenge – this will be addressed through the planned updates to the Devon Landscape Character Assessments. The second one is the implication of the need to at least 20% less red meat and dairy on Devon’s rural economy and environment – this is being deliberated by the Ruby Country Farming Futures Forum that is developing a road map for beef farming to reach net-zero. The outcomes of this could be replicated elsewhere in Devon in due course, depending on its findings.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [AMBER]

It was reported at the April meeting that the timetable for preparing the Adaptation Plan has slipped due to resource availability in the partner organisations.

At the April Climate Impacts Group meeting it was agreed to make use of volunteer time from graduates looking for work experience to progress this project, as well as explore opportunities for accessing national funding for time-limited staff resource via the Environment Agency for resilience-focussed aspects of the work.

In the last month the Group now has two interns on a part-time basis at the Environment Agency having follow-up meetings with key organisations to understand the preparedness levels for the risks that have been identified. In addition, the Secretariat and the Environment Agency is preparing 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.

4. Summary Comments

The Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation Report will be presented for approval to the Response Group in June.

The revisions to the Plan itself are behind schedule. Individual chapters will be sent to project partners as they become available.

The Devon Climate Assembly planning is on schedule.

Additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is now in place and further resource is being applied for.