Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting, 21st September, 2021

Attendees

Phil Norrey Devon County Council 

Emily Widdecombe             Devon Climate Emergency 

Emily Reed  Devon Climate Emergency 

Chris Clarke Wales and West Utilities 

Doug Eltham Devon County Council (Environment Group) 

Clare Reid Exmoor National Park Authority  

Emmanuelle Marshall Plymouth City Council 

Mark Clapham Devon Association of Local Councils 

Jason Ball Mid Devon District Council 

Andrew Butler National Farmers’ Union 

Donna Sibley North Devon and Torridge Councils 

Adam Williams South Hams and West Devon Councils 

David Edmondson Torbay Council 

Keir Duffin Devon County Council (Economy and Enterprise) 

Angus Berry South West Water 

Penny Tranter Met Office 

Apologies

David Bartram Exeter City Council 

David Eaton Teignbridge District Council 

Harry Barton Devon Wildlife Trust 

David Ralph Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership 

Janet Williams                       Torridge District Council 

Mark Kentell North Devon District Council  

John Amosford                       Public Health Devon 

Alex Gandy Dartmoor National Park Authority 

Sara Gibbs Public Health Devon 

Helen Dobby Environment Agency 

Emma Page University of Exeter 

Neil Hamlyn Local Resilience Forum 

Roli Martin Global City Futures 

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.  

3. Devon Climate Assembly Report

Emily Reed presented the findings of the report from the Devon Climate Assembly. The Report was welcomed by the Group and the Group thanked Involve for their robustness in the process and the participants for their time in engaging with the process.  

Andrew Butler asked how urban and rural views were incorporated into discussions. Emily Reed said that the small discussion groups used inside the assembly were mixed by geography and that the resolutions had been voted on by the whole assembly.  

David Edmondson noted that some of the resolutions will need us to work with government as currently the policy levers are not available at local level. 

Chris Clarke commented that it is reassuring to see the conditions that the Assembly has attached to some of the resolutions, as this shows they have understood the complexity of the problem. But it will be important for these to be carried forward to ensure they influence implementation. Clare Reid agreed.  

Emmanuelle Marshall asked if the voting on the resolutions was ‘re-run’ to indicate the increased support for a resolution if the conditions are in place. Emily said that no it wasn’t, so we have to assume that implementing the conditions won’t increase the wholesale support for a resolution, just that the conditions would make the resolutions more palatable.  

Emily Reed advised that the report will be launched in October on the website. A communications strategy for this is being developed with the Devon County Council Communications Team. Phil Norrey asked for the communications to note that the Report sits in the context of the Interim Carbon Plan.

4. Next Steps for the Climate Assembly Report

Emily Reed presented a proposed timetable for the partnership to consider the Report and develop actions for incorporation into the next iteration of the Devon Carbon Plan. This is shown in the diagram below.  The Group AGREED this timetable but acknowledged that longer may be needed for each partner to take the proposed actions through committee procedures between the 23rd November 2021 and 27th January 2022.  

Donna Sibley raised the circumstance that all partners can’t agree on what the actions should be. What would happen in that situation? Doug Eltham said that the process outlined needs to be iterative – ‘red flags’ for any partners need to be raised with the partnership early to find ways around them. All partners should also remember the partnership nature of the project which will require compromise from all parties. The actions will need to be sufficiently flexible to allow for variations in ambition between partners and to reflect local circumstances.  

Chris Clarke added that to some extent we will need to interpret what the Assembly would expect to happen as a result of their resolutions and conditions, as in some cases it is a principle that is being endorsed, which leaves room for specifics to be developed. For example, in some cases electrification of vehicles could be the priority over active and shared modes where it could make most difference to carbon emissions in the shortest time. Phil Norrey agreed that there’ll be different needs between urban and rural settings, and the actions we develop will need to provide room for those nuances to emerge.  

5. Any other Business

Andrew Butler shared a new Agriculture & Land Use Alliance that the NFU is participating in that will host the first-ever Countryside COP event to showcase and inspire net-zero activity in rural communities and agri-food supply chains. 

The week of events, taking place 11-15 October 2021, will bring together a range of individuals, organisations, scientists and other experts to demonstrate what the industry has achieved so far, and how it can do even more to maximise the contribution of agriculture and land use to a net-zero economy. 

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. Monthly growth has been approximately 2% over the summer. 

Figure 1.1 DCE Social Media Following

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 is starting 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 Devon Climate Challenge

The second round of projects competing for a share of £30k began crowd funding on the 6th September. They have until the 8th October to raise as much as they can.

1.1.4 Youth Engagement

No further activity this month.  

1.1.5 COP26 Events

A consortium funding bid from the local authorities involved in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership to deliver nine events across Devon during the COP26 fortnight (first two weeks of November 2021) with a total value of £40k has been submitted to the South West Energy Hub. 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:  

  • An ambitious project to plant 40,000 trees in the Umber catchment in north Devon is underway 
  • Plymouth Energy Community announced plans to create a new community-owned solar farm at Chelson Meadow. Spanning 24 football pitches, the solar farm would have the capacity to power more than 3,800 homes in the Plymouth area. 

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.  

The Transport section redraft is with Tactical Group members for comment

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly 🟢 [GREEN] 

A draft report collating the resolutions designed by the Assembly members and the conditions attached to those resolutions has been circulated to the Tactical Group for comment on formatting and presentation. The report will be presented to the Response Group next week and published on the website by the end of September.  

The partnership needs to agree the detail of how the Assembly’s resolutions will be turned into actions. Discussions about this are on the Tactical Group meeting’s agenda on the 14th September.  

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

3. Climate Impacts Group Update [Amber]

The time-commitment of the two interns a the Environment Agency to this project is now coming to an end 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.  

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 draft of the Citizens’ Assembly report has been prepared and circulated and the secretariat is now compiling comments back to Involve.  
  • Further applications for additional resource for the Climate Impacts Group is progressing.