Net Zero Task Force Meeting Minutes 26th February

Net Zero Task Force Draft Minutes 26th February 2021. Download a PDF copy of the minutes here.

Attendees:

  • Patrick Devine-Wright (Chair)
  • Sue Goodfellow
  • Doug Eltham
  • Emily Reed
  • Hannah Oliver
  • Ian Hutchcroft
  • Kerry Hayes
  • Lyndis Cole
  • Nik Bowyer
  • Tim Jones
  • Harry Bonnell
  • Iain Bailey
  • Hannah Lawrie
  • James Shorten
  • Gill Westcott

Apologies:

  • Ian Stewart
  • Cornelia Guell

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was AGREED that the minutes are a true record of the discussion.

2. Progress Report

The Task Force questioned whether the progress being made at reducing carbon emissions across Devon is fast enough. Doug advised that the partners are aware that it isn’t and will not be until the barriers outlined in the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan are overcome. Ian suggested noting the progress in the context of the overall carbon reductions necessary to keep this issue at the front of the Response Group’s minds.

Patrick suggested the way the projects are reflected on the website could be more engaging to show the public what is happening.

Patrick also suggested putting the carbon footprint data on the front page of the website.  

Ian, Kerry and Sue noted that we need to take people with us on this journey and we need to celebrate the action that communities and the partners are doing. Nik noted that the early consultation findings show widespread support for the Plan and for action be taken earlier, so it’s important that the actions already underway are communicated clearly.  

The Task Force AGREED they would like an opportunity to discuss progress with the Response Group. Action: Secretariat to arrange for some representatives of the Task Force to attend a Response Group meeting to discuss progress

3. Interim Devon Carbon Plan Consultation

3.1 Responses

Emily circulated a brief paper explaining the headlines of the consultation.

Lyndis advised that the good representation from the older sectors is reassuring as previous consultations of this type in Devon have not engaged older people so well.

Nik asked if the under representation from 16 – 34 year olds is the same as that for the general online communications. Hannah advised it is lower than on our social media channels. Emily added that paid communications on YouTube and Instagram were targeted at young people, as well as an active TikTok account.

Kerry suggested engaging the schools network again as was done for the Youth Parliament summit during the Call for Evidence.

Harry suggested that the format of the consultation was probably intimidating to younger people and therefore we need to think about the different types of messaging we can use to get this age group involved.

Tim and Patrick said it was exciting to see this data set and are looking forward to the final analysis. Kerry added that the response we’ve had is excellent considering the pandemic situation.

Patrick commented that it is interesting that it appears to be the urban areas that are more underrepresented than rural, which is the opposite of what we anticipated. This needs to be considered for future communications.  

James asked for the Consultation Report to show how the consultation response differs between organisations responding and individuals responding.

ACTION: Secretariat to continue implementing activity to increase youth engagement.

3.2 Draft Report of the Consultation

The draft report will be available for the Task Force by the 9th April.

Patrick highlighted that the respondent’s opinion on the themes for the assembly discussion should be a priority, which Emily agreed.

3.3 Post-Consultation Interim Devon Carbon Plan

Emily described that the consultation version has been praised for being comprehensive but in the same breath criticised for being too detailed and difficult to digest. So the post-consultation version needs to be more accessible.

Lyndis suggested one area that can be rationalised is the ‘Outcomes’ and the ‘Co-Benefits’ sections of the Plan, to ensure the ‘Outcomes’ are focused on carbon and then focus the co-benefits on non-carbon issues.

Doug suggested focussing the post-consultation version of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan on the outcomes, the co-benefits and the roadmap (which is shown in each of the emissions-reductions diagrams in each section of the Plan). The detail would be left in the consultation version of the Interim Plan which would remain as a reference document. Different versions of the post-consultation document could be tailored to different audiences – e.g. policy makers, like the IPCC does.

Kerry, Tim, Nik and Patrick agreed that the post-consultation version should be slimmed down and focussed for different audiences as per Doug’s description. Laura advised that there should still be an appropriate level of detail so that messages aren’t oversimplified.

Ian Bailey supported the next phase being less complex and using more focused  documentation.

Patrick asked for a diagram showing how the different documents (inc. the Final Carbon Plan following the assembly) relate to each other – which bits are in each document and which bits are going to the assembly, so that the public understand.  

ACTION: Secretariat to prepare a diagram showing how the documents relate and what’s in each one.

Patrick said that we need to be clear in subsequent documents about how difficult it is to estimate carbon savings from enabling actions.

Gill said that costs and carbon savings for different policy options are likely to be needed to inform deliberations at the citizens’ assembly. Doug advised that the expert witnesses will provide information where it is available, as they did for the national assembly.

Patrick noted that the majority of respondents to the consultation voted for 2030 as Devon’s net-zero target. Patrick asked how this information will be used by the partners. Doug advised that the partners will use this information to inform the net-zero target to appear in the post-consultation version of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan. The partners expected this outcome from the consultation and have arranged for the Tactical Group to continue conversations between the partners to arrive at a target statement that is palatable to all of the partners using the advice provided by the Task Force and the outcomes of the consultation. Their recommendation will subsequently be discussed by the Response Group.

James suggested trying to identify parts of the Plan that can be implemented earlier. Tim advised caution as we’ll need to be careful to take communities with us, such as businesses and farmers.

4.     Citizens’ Assembly

4.1 Update on Procurement Provider

Emily advised that ten bids were received for the recruitment and facilitation service provider which are currently being evaluated by the Secretariat.

4.2 Role of the Task Force

Emily outlined that for Task Force members that have time, the Task Force is expected to operate as the advisory group. This will entail collaborating with the provider to 1) sign off the recruitment methodology, 2) confirm the issues to be deliberated, 3) shortlist expert witnesses to be invited, 4) invite a chair, 5) agree content of communicating the assembly’s findings.

Doug added that a project team was likely to be convened to run the day-to-day organisation of the assembly that would involve the provider, Emily, a couple of members of the Tactical Group and ideally, if you have time, a couple of members of the Task Force to speed up decision making given the tight timescales for implementation.

The Task Force noted that some of its membership may be able to act as witnesses and therefore those members should probably not form part of the advisory process. Doug said we can take the advice of the provider based on their experience on that point.

4.3 Assembly Chair

Emily asked whether the Task Force expects an independent chair as the secretariat has learned that some assemblies use a lead facilitator in this role.

The Task Force said we should take the steer from the provider but tended to prefer one than not at this stage.

4.4 Number of Issues to be Discussed

At the last meeting, the Task Force discussed how to manage the risk that not all of the 6 issues identified in the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan can be deliberated at the assembly. Doug was able to advise that by grouping these issues into overarching themes there will be sufficient time to cover all of them.

4.5 How to Engage Under 16s

The Task Force expressed an appetite for a parallel process to engage under 16s. Nik highlighted that the relative weight that is given to those opinions needs to be considered as they’ll be most affected by climate change.

Patrick asked for this to be an agenda item for the next meeting.

ACTION: Secretariat to add youth engagement as an agenda item for next meeting.

5.     Communications Update

Hannah provided an update on communications and plans that are being developed with partners to major on the G7.

Hannah advised that the project has been gathering information about how projects currently being implemented map onto actions in the Interim Carbon Plan, and these are being put onto the website.

Patrick said that there are three key points for communication this year: 1) May is two years from the declaration of the climate emergency in Devon, 2) is the G7 in June and October is COP26.

ACTION: Secretariat to incorporate these three themes into the communications plan.

6. Future Timetable

Emily shared revised timetables for the post-consultation version of the Interim Carbon Plan and the Final Carbon Plan based on the learning from last autumn about how much time is necessary to finalise documents and prepare them for online distribution.

These timetables result in approximately a 3-month extension to the timetable for each Plan.

ACTION: Task Force to provide comment on these documents by the 15th March before they are presented to the Response Group on the 18th.

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7. Parish Survey

Harry informed Task Force that the Parish Council Sustainability Survey conducted by Devon Communities Together had had responses from 97 councils. He reported that whilst the results were still being compiled they indicated that many Parishes are concerned about environmental issues, with some currently acting and many are keen for more support.

ACTION: Harry to share more detail on the results.

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8. AOB

Lyndis provided additional thoughts about how the post-consultation version of the Interim Carbon Plan can better communicate the potential carbon savings that are expected to arise from each chapter of the Plan by explicitly explaining those upfront rather than in the action graphs.

Doug said we can certainly do that, but what we’ve already tried and found difficulties with is assigning a carbon saving to enabling actions. For example, we know how much carbon will be saved by insulating houses, but the first significant action to get us there is to set up a Devon Energy Advice Service which itself won’t save any carbon.

Patrick agreed and said that we also need to make it clearer where data does not yet exist, explain what has been tried and what the difficulties have been.