Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Meeting 23rd June

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group Minutes 23rd June.  Download a PDF of the minutes here.

Attendees

Phil Norrey | Devon County Council (Chair)
Doug Eltham | Devon County Council
Andrew Butler | National Farmers’ Union
Ellie Rowlands | Devon Climate Emergency
Melanie Sealey | Devon County Council
Dan Ulanowsky| Pennon Group
David Edmondson | Torbay Council
Helen Dobby | Environment Agency
Harry Barton | Devon Wildlife Trust
Emma Page | University of Exeter
Sara Gibbs | Devon Public Health
James Cooper | Environment Agency
Emily Reed | Devon Climate Emergency
Janet Williams | Torridge District Council
Alex Gandy | Dartmoor National Park Authority
David Eaton | Teignbridge District Council
Jodie Wyatt | Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Apologies

Clare Reid | Exmoor National Park Authority
Neil Hamlyn | Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum
Emily Bullock | South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were AGREED as a true record of the discussion.

Phil Norrey advised that East Devon District Council would like a further conversation about the sign-off procedure for the draft Devon Carbon Plan.

ACTION: Doug Eltham to speak further with East Devon.

2. Project Progress Report

Only a brief period was focussed on project progress this month to enable sufficient time for agenda item 3.

2.1. Project Management Update

Ellie Rowlands and Doug Eltham provided an update reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report at Annexe 1 of these minutes.

2.2. Update from the Net-Zero Task Force

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

Doug Eltham added that an approach around presenting the actions in the Devon Carbon Plan was emerging through conversations with partner organisations. The approach is to pitch the actions as an impartial suite of activity that must happen to set Devon on the right trajectory for net-zero but to caveat this with the reality that implementation will require various issues to be aligned, such as partners beyond the immediate DCERG representation being supportive, for funding and investment to be secured and, in some cases, regulatory approvals. So in this way, the Plan will have immediate actions that have funding secured, but it will also have many actions that read more as a prospectus to seize opportunities.

Andrew Butler, Dan Ulanowsky and Harry Barton supported this approach and noted that this approach also means the Plan will be in a good position to influence the Green Recovery from Covid.

Phil Norrey proposed that we should now consider more seriously the use of an online assembly process considering the ongoing uncertainty about Covid and social distancing. The Group AGREED to work with the University of Exeter to determine whether an online process could give sufficient confidence to elected members across the county that its recommendations are representative of the population of Devon.

ACTION: Doug Eltham and Emily Reed to speak further with the University of Exeter about producing a recommendations report on the use of an online assembly.

2.3. Update on the Climate Impacts Group

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

3. Devon Solar Together

Doug Eltham reported that a Devon-wide, domestic solar-PV buying collective will be launched in late July under the banner of the Devon Climate Emergency. This will give the opportunity for households to purchase discounted solar-PV installations. All councillors, including parish councillors, will be sent information about this ahead of the launch in liaison with Tactical Group officers.

4. Influencing a Green Covid-19 Reset

Phil Norrey introduced this section of the meeting with a report that traffic across Devon is still 30% below pre-lockdown levels.

Mel Sealey provided an update on the economic recovery planning process that was introduced to the Response Group at its last meeting.

A prospectus of investment opportunities is being compiled through discussions with partners, including some that sit on this Response Group. The prospectus will be available for sharing at the end of June and will be an iterative and dynamic document.

Many of the priorities identified in the draft Devon Carbon Plan will be reflected in the prospectus. Once the prospectus is drafted we’ll need to make sure the actions and aspirations related to green recovery in the two documents are pulling in the same direction.

ACTION: Doug Eltham, Emily Reed and Mel Sealey to align actions later in June and early July.

Sara Gibbs asked to what extent the opportunity to address inequalities has been considered. Mel advised that this has been a key discussion point as the focus has been “how do we help the people who’ve been hardest hit”.

5. Local Updates  

None this month.

6. Any Other Business

Doug Eltham mentioned that Ellie Rowlands has prepared a web page showing the progress each partner has made with reviewing its own carbon emissions, having signed the Devon Climate Declaration. This is in response to recent public enquiries.

Ellie will be in touch with partners’ representatives on the Tactical Group where there are gaps.

7. Next Meeting

Next meeting is the 23rd July 10:30 – 11:30.

Appendix 1 – Project Progress Report

Period: May – June 2020

Status Indicator key:

Red = Serious issues 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. Activity Over the Past Month

ActivityRAG
Project Communications  
Website phase 2 preferred contractor has been appointed. New website expected to be operational by the end of August. In the meantime, the existing website has been enhanced.    
Green
Using the Climate Emergency as a Material Planning Consideration  
Cornwall Council will share consultation findings on their draft Climate Change Development Plan Document with Devon County Council later in June which will provide an opportunity for Devon authorities to learn from Cornwall’s approach.   Planning has also become the topic of the monthly inter-SW-authorities’ climate emergency meeting for the next two months.  
Green
Covid Reset  
Letter is currently being drafted from the DCE Project to the UK Government supporting the investment priorities identified by the Committee on Climate Change as these align well with the themes emerging from the activity on the Devon Carbon Plan and the Adaptation Plan. Resources focused on Covid response has caused slight delay.
Amber


1.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Project Communications

  • Development of ‘Website Phase 2’ will continue.
  • Further social media content around the suggestions in the call for evidence and themed hearings will be developed.

Using the Climate Emergency as a Material Planning Consideration

  • Await the consultation responses from Cornwall Council – this is likely to identify the issues and unintended consequences of prioritising carbon reduction within the planning process.
  • James Shorten, member of the Net Zero Task Force, will be meeting with the Devon Planning Officers’ Group. 

Covid Reset

  • Letter to UK Government will be finalised and despatched.

2.Net-Zero Task Force Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To use its specialist knowledge and experience to produce an evidence-led Devon Carbon Plan, including consideration of the earliest credible date that should be set for net-zero emissions.

2.1. Activity Over the Past Month

ActivityRAG
Citizens’ Assembly   The timing of the citizens’ assembly remains uncertain. The national climate assembly is being held online and the Task Force is monitoring its effectiveness to consider whether an online approach could work in Devon but there are clearly issues with digital inclusivity that would appear to be difficult to overcome.   Amber
Developing the Carbon Plan   The Task Force continues to synthesise the key actions for the Version 1 Carbon Plan.   A workshop facilitated by Regen on the 22nd May helped the Task Force review the objectives of the Plan and identify interdependencies, risks and feedback loops between the priority actions to embed ‘systems thinking’ into the Plan. This has helped inform the structure of the Carbon Plan which is now taking shape.   The Centre for Energy and Environment at the University of Exeter is leading on an approach to help the Task Force identify the potential carbon impact of each action that will involve quantification where possible.   A spreadsheet has been produced documenting about 160 actions. These are categorised by the theme they relate to as well as the strategic-level outcomes and objectives they are helping achieve. The actions are further categorised by whether the action is something to be delivered locally or nationally, an issue that the citizens’ assembly should deliberate (and therefore will not be resolved within the Version 1 Carbon Plan), which type of organisations would be involved, who the lead organisation might be, which type of geography it is relevant to (e.g. city, market town, rural etc.) and the timescale for implementation.   This spreadsheet has been shared with project partners and meetings with the secretariat are being undertaken to discuss further.  Green

2.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Citizens’ Assembly and Carbon Plan Timetable

  • Watching brief will remain on government advice regarding mass gatherings and the effectiveness of the national citizens’ assembly.  

Developing the Carbon Plan

  • Finalise the assessment of the carbon saving potential of the actions. Once complete, use this analysis to help prioritise actions further.
  • The secretariat will continue to meet with project partners to discuss the actions and progress towards having a draft Version 1 Plan ready for public consultation in September.  
  • Specific issues that the citizens’ assembly will need to deliberate will continue to be compiled by the Net-Zero Task Force and project partners, and research briefs around these will be prepared and commissioned as necessary.

3.Climate Impacts Group Update

Role from its Terms of Reference: To work collaboratively with the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly climate emergency projects operating in each of the three localities to use its expertise to help:

  • prepare communities for the necessary adaptations to infrastructure, services and behaviours that will be required to respond to a warmer world.
  • improve the resilience of the natural environment against the effects of climate change

3.1. Activity Over the Past Month

ActivityRAG
Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change   The Met Office has finalised its summary of the 2018 climate projections.   Narratives on: Flood and coastal risk (led by the Environment Agency)Health (led by Public Health England)The natural environment (led by the Local Nature Partnership with the Westcountry Rivers Trust)   are expected by mid-July, which is a slight delay due to partners’ focus on the immediate Covid response.   Then, the social and economic commentary will be added by the University of Exeter potentially by the middle of August.  Amber
Timetable for the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan   The Group has prepared a timetable for the Plan production.  The proposal is for a draft plan to be prepared for consultation in March 2021 and a final plan available for organisations to endorse from July 2021.Green

3.2. Activity Expected Next Month

Narratives of the Effects of Climate Change

The narratives will be finalised and the University of Exeter will begin its commentary on wider social and economic issues.

4. Summary Comments

The Devon Carbon Plan continues to be in a phase of understanding the key actions that could be implemented locally and the choices that should be deliberated by the citizens’ assembly.

The Climate Impacts Group is now under a new Chair and is completing the impact narratives.

Overall, the project continues to perform well given the Covid-19 restrictions