Net Zero Task Force, Meeting Minutes, 25th April 2022

Attendees

Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair) 

Lyndis Cole 

Nik Bowyer 

Ian Bailey  

Tim Jones  

Ian Hutchcroft 

Olly Frankland 

Laura Cardenas 

Apologies

Conny Guell 

Hannah Lawrie 

James Shorten 

Gill Westcott 

Harry Bonnell 

Sue Goodfellow 

Secretariat

Emily Reed  

Doug Eltham  

Emily Widdecombe 

1. Matters arising from previous minutes

Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record of the meeting. 

Emily updated the Task Force on arranging a Physical meeting of the Task Force later in the year.  

ACTION: Emily to send out a Doodle Poll to select a date.   

2. Progress Report

Emily R invited questions on the Progress Report and drew attention to the latest projects being implemented by the partners.  

Patrick asked about the Community Engagement Sub-Group. Doug explained that any organisation on the Tactical Group is invited and it has been setup to develop a project to deliver county-wide engagement on the climate emergency, particularly on enabling communities to engage the disengaged.  

ACTION: Patrick to connect Emily with a PhD student who has been researching how to engage the disengaged.  

3. Responding to the Citizens’ Assembly

Emily reported that the consultation closed with 209 responses. 10 responses were from organisations and 199 from individuals. 2% were from under 24s and 38% were from over 65s. This is substantially lower than was received for the consultation on the whole Devon Carbon Plan, which was 1,300.  

Emily said that a high number of respondents actually responded with the answer ‘neutral’. Next stage of the analysis will be to dig down into the results to see what why people have said this. 

Ian Hutchcroft said even if it’s a small proportion of people who disagreed, we should understand the context of these from the comments they have made.  

Patrick said there may have been confusion, that might come through when the comments are analysed, about whether people were being asked to comment on the citizens’ assembly findings vs the partnership’s response.  

Ian Bailey commented that we need to be careful about the statistical significance of the finding because this is a very small sample. 

Emily will prepare a full consultation report to share at the next meeting.

4. Transitioning to the Future Governance Arrangements 

Emily explained the proposed governance arrangements and gave an update on how the ongoing devolution negotiations with government may impact those.  

Patrick noted that the diversity of the Climate Change Committee will be important, which will depend upon the recruitment process. Emily invited thoughts from the Task Force on how that should work.  

Lyndis noted that she is involved at the project level, and represents the Task Force at that level. Should Task Force members be involved in projects in future? 

Ian Hutchcroft highlighted that if the governance arrangements make use of existing groups then they benefit from existing momentum, but that that momentum is just ticking along, which is not enough to require the step-change we need. Therefore is something new needed rather than using an existing group? But there is of course a risk that in a new group we might not get the buy-in we need to progress things.  

Lyndis asked if actually these groupings could get too big and become moribund. Patrick added the time commitment on the members is needed to be considered as well.  

Doug said that the structure is copied from the Auckland climate change project. But whilst it’s working for them, it may be too cumbersome for us. We should definitely take opportunities to simplify it if those simplifications can get the same outcome. Lyndis said the structure is similar to how National Park management plans are governed.  

Lyndis said the diagram could work up the other way. Plus it could be simplified by removing the participants of the Theme Boards.  

ACTION: Secretariat to re-jig the diagram with more focus on the projects to show this is where the Action is.  

Ian Hutchcroft said the resourcing of the relaunch of this will be critical, at a period when society’s focus has moved on to other issues. How do we ensure we have the resource to deliver the plan alongside governing it? Emily reminded the Task Force that all of the local authorities have recruited new staff and allocated budget over the past three years, and many of the projects are already underway. So it’s more a case of putting the governance structure in place to pull together what’s already happening and identify resource to implement the bits that aren’t happening. 

Tim said that the structure of the implementation of the Carbon Plan could be aligned with the structure of the County devolution deal. Secondly, Tim said there needs to be further support to deliver the programme in the Carbon Plan, and there are businesses out there who are interested to help. Having representation from business on the voluntary elements of the governance structure could work well.  

Ian Bailey said could the role of the Multi-Theme board and the Response Group be combined? Doug suggested it could. Ian stressed that it needs careful thought.  

Laura asked how external partners are incorporated into the governance structure? Also, how can feedback be included? E.g. how can the Board feedback to the projects? The structure also needs to be dynamic and be kept under review in the event that it’s not working. Laura also said that quality assurance is required by comparing progress with other areas and then updating  

ACTION: Update the diagram to reflect how feedback could happen. 

Olly said we need to have the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in mind for delivery. Doug noted the difference between resources to administer the plan (which are principally Doug and Emily, funded by Devon County Council, with further officer time from each of the partners) and resources to deliver the plan which is going to need substantial public sector funding and new investment opportunities for the private sector.  

Patrick said we’ll need to start getting these structures in place over the summer ready to launch in the autumn.  

5. Progress with the Devon Carbon Plan

Thank you for all of the comments on the Food, Land and Sea chapter. Next chapter we are working on is Economy and Resources.  

Chapter of Interim Devon Carbon Plan Progress on Redrafting 
Cross Cutting Themes Amended chapter circulated 17th September 2021 
Economy and Resources Still to be circulated  
Energy Supply Amended chapter circulated 17th September 2021 
Built Environment Latest version of amended chapter circulated 16th December 2021 
Transport Amended chapter circulated in July 2021 
Food, Land and Sea Circulated in early March 2022.  

6. Communications Update

Emily Widdecombe reported that social media following has not increased substantially during the consultation, however most of the people who took part in the consultation have been happy to be added to our mailing list.  

The Net-Zero Visions project has passed the draft visions developed by communities over to the creatives.  

May will be quite busy. Active Devon and the Local Nature Partnership are running Naturally Healthy Month.  Also ‘The Big Fix’ focussing on repair and upcycling. It’s also Bike Month.  

7. AOB

Lyndis asked whether the Ruby Country Net-Zero Beef Farming Forum is actually going to answer the issue about whether the people of Devon are willing to change their diets. Emily said that the redraft of the Food, Land and Sea chapter identifies that that change is already afoot as people are already eating less meat, and the creation of the Devon Food Partnership is established as a forum to continue those messages.  

Professor Alison Anderson has a lecture on Thursday evening about the role of the media in communicating the climate emergency. Ian will circulate a link to Emily.