Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 19th October

Attendees

Phil Norrey, Devon County Council (Chair)

Mark Rice, Environment Agency

Emily Widdecombe, Devon Climate Emergency

Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency

Chris Clarke, Wales and West Utilities

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council (Environment Group)

Emmanuelle Marshall, Plymouth City Council

Mark Clapham, Devon Association of Local Councils

Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Adam Williams, South Hams and West Devon Councils

Keir Duffin, Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise)

Mark Kentell, North Devon District Council

Alex Gandy, Dartmoor National Park Authority

David Eaton, Teignbridge District Council

John Amosford, Public Health Devon

Victoria Hatfield, Exeter City Council

Apologies

David Edmondson, Torbay Council

David Bartram, Exeter City Council

Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust

David Ralph, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

Janet Williams, Torridge District Council

Emma Page, University of Exeter

Neil Hamlyn, Local Resilience Forum

Roli Martin, Global City Futures

Angus Berry, South West Water

Penny Tranter, Met Office

Clare Reid, Exmoor National Park Authority

Andrew Butler, National Farmers’ Union

Donna Sibley, North Devon and Torridge Councils

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 Communications Update 

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

Victoria Hatfield asked whether the Assembly participants indicated that they felt their role was important in addressing the climate emergency. Emily Reed said she thought they did as the introductory sessions at the Assembly had included presentations from senior people from the climate emergency partners and the Net-Zero Task Force.

Phil Norrey commented that we have an opportunity place the Devon Carbon Plan at the heart of any devolution deal with government and for it to be the foundation of the forthcoming review to the Local Transport Plan.

2.3 Climate Impacts Group Update

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes. Emily thanked Mark Rice for temporarily taking on the chairing of the Group whilst Helen Dobby is attending to other matters.

3. Any other Business

Doug Eltham noted that conversations are continuing with the Devon Local Nature Partnership about its potential role within the governance arrangements to implement the Devon Carbon Plan.

Keir Duffin explained the Devon County Council Green Innovation Fund.

Mark Rice advised the Group that the Environment Agency has published the third UK Adaptation Risk Assessment and is recruiting low-carbon expertise into construction projects.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: September 2021 to October 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.

1. Partnership Update

1.1.  General Project Communications [GREEN]

1.1.1 Following

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing. Monthly growth has been approximately 2% over the summer. 

Online communications following to September 2021. Following is now over 7,000 people.
Figure 1: Online Communications Following to September 2021

1.1.2 Campaigns

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 new campaign started on the 13th September called ‘Together for Devon’. This asks people to upload a short video of themselves showing one carbon-friendly tip with the hashtags #TogetherforDevon and #Togetherforourplanet (to align with the COP26 communications). Each week our favourites will be featured in our social media stories and channels).

1.1.3 Youth Engagement

The Devon County Council Waste Team will be sending out links to teaching materials related to COP26 in a special edition of their school sustainability bulletin later this month.

1.1.4 COP26 Events

A consortium of the local authorities involved in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership have been successful in their funding bid to the South West Energy Hub to deliver nine events across Devon during the COP26 fortnight (first two weeks of November 2021). A total of £18,360 has been awarded and is being matched by £28,000 of funding from the local authorities. Most of the events will be community led in partnership with local authorities. Some will be physical and others will be video case studies shared widely online.

1.2.   Partners’ Notable Activity

Activity is recorded centrally on the Taking Action pages of the Devon Climate Emergency website. Notable activity this month is:

  • Devon County Council has launched a £200k Community Energy Fund capable of awarding up to £25,000 to community energy initiatives in order to help increase the community energy sector in Devon.
  • Plymouth City Council and Crowdfunder have joined forces to host the #BackTheFuture LIVE: Plymouth Climate Challenge event. The top prize is £20,000, second place prize is £12,500 and third place is £7,500, all of which will go towards a crowdfunding campaign.
  • The Exeter Development Fund will create sustainable development opportunities for Exeter. The Exeter Development Fund commits to building 12,000 new homes that are not only energy-efficient, but renewably powered, affordable, and in neighbourhoods that are well-connected, car-free and full of community facilities.
  • Devon County Council has launched a £900k Green Innovation Fund It is open to ideas from across a wide variety of business sectors, including agriculture, marine sciences, retail, renewable energy, manufacturing and hydrogen technologies, electric vehicles and tourism. Grants from around £25,000 to £200,000 are available for the most innovative projects which align with the Devon Carbon Plan and can demonstrate economic benefits, generating new jobs, apprenticeships, training opportunities, or business creation as well as measurable environmental benefits, such as carbon savings.

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1 Interim Carbon Plan [AMBER] 

Amendments continue to be made to the Interim Devon Carbon Plan by the secretariat, however this remains behind schedule due to resources being focussed on the citizens’ assembly. The impact of this is not significant as the Plan is being implemented and funding opportunities are being seized by partners to increase delivery as they arise.

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly [GREEN] 

The final draft of the report collating the resolutions designed by the Assembly members and the conditions attached to those resolutions has been circulated to the Tactical Group and Net Zero Task Force, following incorporation of requested amendments by these groups. The report was shared with council members on the 11th of October and published on the website on the 12th of October.

At the September meetings of the Tactical Group and Response Group the partnership agreed on a process for how the Assembly’s resolutions will be turned into actions. Draft actions are now being developed by the secretariat in collaboration with the Tactical Group.

The Net-Zero Task Force will respond to the partnership about the Assembly’s recommendations to facilitate this process.

The secretariat are planning a public webinar led by Involve on the evening of the 20th October to mark the launch of the report.

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [Amber]

The time-commitment of the two interns a the Environment Agency to this project has now finished and so it’s important that further funding is put in place.

The Secretariat has completed 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. This now progressing through approval procedures before it can be submitted.

The Group has collated a register of climate risks and is at the stage of understanding current levels of preparedness for those risks. Key organisations responsible for managing the risks at a strategic level are contributing to the review. This will identify gaps in preparedness, and the actions required to fill those gaps will become 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 but behind schedule.
  • The report on the Citizens’ Assembly by Involve has been finalised and was made public on the 12th of October.
  • Further applications for additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is progressing.