Key Points from the Summary Hearing: spatial planning, behaviour change and procurement/industrial strategy

Key Outcomes

  •  Devon’s largely rural nature makes it distinct from a planning and cultural point of view.
  •  We won’t get the outcomes we need if the procedural criteria for investment, procurement and planning, and ultimately the institutional goals don’t elevate the importance of the climate and ecological emergency.
  •  We need new financial products and mechanisms to stimulate change in the economy towards net-zero carbon.
  •  We have to communicate clearly about how climate change is relevant to all of our everyday lives and more beyond technocratic jargon.
  •  A collaboratively produced and detailed vision of life in net-zero carbon Devon is needed.
  •  We have to massively reduce our consumption, but our lives can be better for it.
  •  We don’t have time to use the existing processes for changing planning law, it will take too long.
  •  Planning must actively enable communities to be viable in a net-zero carbon world, including small rural communities.
Key Actions Barriers / issues Overcoming barriers / Opportunities
Finance
· We need a price on carbon to incentivise behaviour change.
· Criteria used to assess investments need to internalize carbon impact & non-monetary co-benefits of choices.
· Develop and offer finance products to stimulate a just transition to net-zero.
· How to address justice issues of carbon pricing?
· 60% of businesses in Devon are sole traders and can struggle with access to finance.
· Create a regional mutual bank to finance just transition.
· Devon County Council should invest more in institutions offering finance for decarbonisation. Public authorities can help use their money to supply blended finance.
· Investment: impact of GHGs and social impact must have primacy.
·Financial mechanisms to consider:
o Discounts – to incentivise retrofitting, e.g. council tax discounts, business rate discounts.
o Loans – low cost loans for improvements that need to be done.
o Levies – to disincentivise carbon intensive activities.
o Pricing – to incentivise change.
Language
 ·Communicate about climate change in everyday language.
· Reaffirm media’s and council’s role in communicating this crisis.
· Reframe the climate emergency in an outcome orientated way.
· The risk of writing a technocratic carbon plan for Devon.· Frame action on climate change in terms of benefits to lives of individuals and focus on the co-benefits.
· Reframe the climate emergency in terms of how this changes end use consumption of products and services e.g. cooking, washing etc.
Procurement
· Realign procurement to support the transition to net-zero carbon.
·The financial hurdle – organisations being a certain size to get through first hurdle of the procurement
process.
 ·Procurement criteria – currently financial cost first, then social and environmental. Local Authorities aspire to be more sustainable and socially responsible but often it is unaffordable within current budgets.
· Market prices are seldom an adequate guide to the full social and environmental costs and benefits of the product and services.
·Increase capacity of procurement staff, so procurement can be more considered.
· Support SMEs to bid for contracts.
· Share good practice between organisations.
· Creativity in delivering services e.g. of Lambeth council’s work on youth offenders, they invited in ex-youth offenders to coproduce response, had a lot of uncertainty but helped to innovate.
o Good e.g. of procurement from Preston, redirected
millions of pounds to Preston Procurement Group to
share good ideas and challenges.
o E.g. Cornwall hospital procurement of food.
· Encourage a culture of trial and error, mitigate with open conversations with those delivering services.
· Utilise the Public Services Act 2012 – must consider the impact of procurement.
· We need to explain why council tax might want to go up and the
benefits which will come from that.
· The Social Value Act – how do we use that as an opportunity in councils to join dots especially on procurement.
Culture
· Embed collaboration and listening in institutions.
· Imagine a decarbonized Devon in detail, collectively, to help people personally invest in & feel it as possible.
· Council to lead on taking a systems approach to the climate
emergency.
· Need to find ways to bridge conflicts and include people.
· Focus on Devon’s cultural identity – how does that underpins the final plan.
· Need people with the skills, time and resources to collaborate better – to lean into messy.
· How to engage those who are detached from communities?
· It is assumed everyone is the same and universal service delivery works on this assumption and doesn’t recognise the differences within communities.
· Different types of facilitation.
· Develop a narrative about how life could look in the Devon Carbon Plan.
· There is an interesting role for the arts to play in cultural
disruption. e.g. in Calgary, artists have been embedded in planning agencies.
· Work of Nina Simon cited as relevant.
Planning
· Move planning beyond incremental – longer view objectives needed.
· Actively plan for sustainable communities.
· Protect urban green spaces.
· Invest in natural capital.
· Increase support for local plans – move beyond housing. Help communities to be more ambitious for green infrastructure & balanced communities.
· Give communities stronger “permission to act” signals – incl. permission to fail & take risks.
· We need to be experimenting and innovating and then if it works mainstream these things.
· Connect planning with wider land use strategy.
· Local ability vs national to give power back locally.
· Speed – typically it takes 8 to 10 years to develop planning plans but we need to speed this up.
· National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is problematic – how can we give officers the right to reject developments given that we are now in an emergency, given the risk of overturn at appeal.
·Local authorities are subject to the risk of legal objections and the cost of this.
· Land value is high.
· Danger that regional planning is driven just by the cities and their needs rather than accounting for rural needs as well.
· Planning officers in the system don’t necessarily consider the bigger picture.
· Planning is very urban focused and doesn’t tie in with wider land use strategy coherently.
· A lack of training and support to take on a wider perspective through planning, so if you’re a highway person you take a highways perspective rather than the wider picture.
· Support planners to be more ambitious e.g. align appeal process to also account for the climate emergency.
· Inspectors given guidance to take into account how the local authority came to the decision.
· Focus on viable scale for communities – so there can be local schools and other services to allow low travel lifestyles. This might mean permitting more housing in villages.
· Allow % of people living in rural areas to grow – to make it more viable to feed people in zero-carbon ways.
· We need to work with communities in a less paternalistic way – as principle of engagement.
· Staff having the time and resources to lift head up to see the wider picture is key.
· Could planning exercise Citizens Jury?
· Integrate planning in a wider land use strategy.
Local Economy
· “Plug leaks” in communities –
services, economy…
· Support
regenerative agriculture.
· Co-produce services with
community.
 · Acknowledge constraints of poverty on
many people’s lives.
· Help communities identify their epi-centre as loci for change.
· Land users need permission to innovate & fail on way to regenerative
agriculture.
· Use asset-based approaches in communities.
· Locate the
conversations around climate change in our local economies & their challenges e.g. dominance of visitor economy.
Behaviour Change & Consumption
· Be honest that we need to reduce consumption massively.
· Keep benefits for the individual at forefront.
· We must mobilize people in the spirit of emergency response e.g. like war response.
· We must engage people as whole people, not fragment people as professional and personal-selves.