The second Net Zero Visions workshop saw community groups coming together to develop their visions for net zero in their local area.
Whilst developing their Visions, the groups were encouraged to think about all aspects of a low-carbon future, from food production, land use and the local economy to home energy, buildings and transportation. To achieve this, groups were guided by the five themes in the Interim Devon Carbon Plan. Members of the Expert Panel, whose individual expertise correspond to each of the five themes, were on-hand to inform the discussions, which took place in breakout rooms.
The discussions were rich and detailed, taking place both within individual groups, and between groups from different areas. This workshop provided an opportunity for groups to lay a solid foundation for their Vision, covering key considerations and creatively exploring how these might be realised.
Feedback from each group showed that similar visions were shared across many of Devon’s communities. Common themes included upscaling community-owned renewables, enhancing sustainable transport alternatives, creating community gardens, improving access to locally-grown food, and the broad need for “reduce, re-use, recycle” initiatives, such as share-sheds and repair cafés.
Whilst the groups shared many common interests, the unique features and qualities of each community shone through in the specific concerns individual groups expressed. In areas with rich architectural heritage, for example, communities were interested in ensuring that building retrofit did not detract from important, historical experiences of place. Urban areas saw an increased interest in cultivating productive community green space, as well as optimizing local urban food production, and ‘reclaiming’ the built environment for the purposes and pleasures of the community. Rural areas showed concern over mobility, emphasizing the need for improved sustainable transport infrastructure.
Above all, this workshop demonstrated that, whilst the transition to low-carbon lifestyles will likely involve a broadly similar cultural shift across the UK, local landscapes and local identity will play a key part in shaping the finer details of our net-zero futures.
Each group appreciated the opportunity to discuss their Vision with other communities, working out areas of similarity and difference, sharing ideas and insights. Going forward, the communities will continue to strengthen their visions, before handing them over to the creative professionals, who will begin bringing them to life at the end of March.