Tactical Group Meeting Minutes 11th March 2021

Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group minutes of meeting 11th March 2021.
You can download a PDF of the minutes here.

Attendees

Doug Eltham, Devon County Council
Hannah Oliver, Devon Climate Emergency
Emily Reed, Devon Climate Emergency
Adam Williams, South Hams & West Devon District Councils
John Amosford, Public Health Devon
John Golding, East Devon District Council
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust
David Rose, South West Water
Jacqui Warren, Torbay Council
Jason Ball, Mid Devon District Council

Apologies

Samantha Davis, University of Plymouth
Andy Seaman, University of Exeter
William Elliott, Teignbridge District Council

Mark Saunders, North Devon District Council

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were AGREED to be a true record of the discussion.

2. Project Progress Report

2.1  Project Management Update

Hannah Oliver gave an update on the communications activity reflecting Section 1 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

Hannah outlined ideas for communications during May, June and July to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Devon Climate Emergency project and the G7. These ideas focussed on promoting what the partners are implementing, communicated via webinars, Facebook Live events and the newsletter. Hannah invited feedback on these ideas.

The Group AGREED that:

  • Any of theses approaches sound good
  • In addition, it would be helpful to engage people in what they can be doing to help as well, such as doing something practical for wildlife everyday in June (Devon Wildlife Trust likely to be promoting this) or doing a Carbon Savvy Spring Clean
  • The project should collate community and partner activities going on across Devon.
  • Video interviews with people who have installed PV through the Devon Solar Together project or who have received a Green Homes Grant measures would be beneficial.

ACTION: Hannah and Emily to continue to develop communications plans for the summer with this steer.

Doug asked partners to review the projects at Section 1.2. of the Progress Report and let the Hannah know of further projects to add and any projects that are not yet developed sufficiently to be posted on the website.

ACTION: All to notify Hannah of further projects and the projects which cannot appear on the website yet.

2.2  Update from the Net-Zero Task Force

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 2 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes. This inlcuded a description of the Assembly Project Team that will be established to deliver the Citizens’ Assembly in July. The Team will need to meet at least fortnightly, possibly weekly, between the middle of April and the end of July. Two representatives from the Tactical Group would be helpful, perhaps one from an urban authority and the other from a rural authority.

ACTION: Any members of the Tactical Group willing to sit on the Assembly Project Team to let Emily know.

Jacqui Warren volunteered from Torbay Council.

2.3  Update on the Climate Impacts Group

Emily Reed provided an update reflecting Section 3 of the Progress Report appended to these minutes.

The Group AGREED that the delay to the preparation of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Adaptation Plan due to available resources should be recorded as an Issue and reported to the Response Group on the 18th March. There is potentially an opportunity to link more closely with COVID Recovery processes to support this workstream and appetite from Torbay to see this workstream progressed could be helpful.

3. Funding Opportunities

Adam Williams drew attention to the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund Grant.

John Golding said that East Devon District Council is looking at further opportunities from the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme.

4. Net-Zero Date

The consultation on the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan found that 52% of respondents favour achieving net-zero across Devon by 2030. A further message from the consultation is that there is appetite for early, rapid progress towards carbon reduction.

Doug advised the Group that the partnership needs to:

  • Demonstrate that we’ve listened to the people who took part in the consultation by showing enhanced ambition over what was in the draft Plan.
  • Acknowledge that attempting to achieve net-zero ahead of the national timetable will require offsetting activity to net-off the emissions of individuals and organisations.
  • Achieve a compromise position that is palatable to all partners.

This Tactical Group will need to develop a recommendation to include in the next iteration of the Plan and subsequently take that to the Response Group for endorsement.

The Group AGREED that:

  • We need to be clear that all of the partners are aligned to achieve significant progress over the next decade
  • We need to recognise that there are issues in achieving net-zero ahead of the national timetable, principally that it will require local offsetting schemes to be used by individuals, communities and organisations (but the use of these must be minimised)
  • Partners must be encouraged to achieve net-zero from their own operations by 2030 and to use their areas of influence to facilitate early and rapid emissions reductions
  • All investment must be compatible with a net-zero future from 2030

ACTION: Doug and Emily will update the principles in the next two weeks and circulate for further comment. Intention is to take a set of principles to the Response Group meeting in April.

Jason asked what plans there are for a coordinated approach in Devon to developing environmental offsetting opportunities. Doug and Harry said we’ll invite Andy Bell and Rob Passmore of the North Devon Biosphere to explain more.

ACTION: Doug to invite Andy Bell and Rob Passmore to a future Tactical Group.

5. Revised Timetables

The Group did not have time to discuss the recommended extensions to the timetables for finalising the Interim Devon Carbon Plan and preparing the Final Devon Carbon Plan after the Citizens’ Assembly.

Doug asked for comments on this timetable by email. The headline is a 4 month extension to each Plan’s timetable based on the learning before Christmas about how long engagement processes with partners and contractors actually take with a partnership of this scale. The timetables will be discussed further at the Response Group on the 18th March.

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6. Any Other Business

John Golding noted that the Devon Pensions Committee has committed to achieving a net-zero investment portfolio by 2050 and a 7% per annum reduction in carbon intensity.

Appendix 1 – PROJECT PROGRESS REPORT

Period: March 2021 to April 2021

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 General Project Communications – Green

Newsletters continue to be issued on schedule and social media followings are growing. The total following has increased 57% in the past 5 months.  

1.2 Devon-wide Projects – Green

Update on a selection of Devon-wide projects:

Cross Cutting:

New dedicated staff have been recruited into Devon County Council, Torbay Council, South Hams and West Devon Councils, Teignbridge District Council, Mid Devon District Council, East Devon District Council, Dartmoor National Park Authority and South West Water. Staff are currently being recruited into North Devon and Torridge District Councils and Devon and Cornwall Police.   

Torbay Council is continuing the preparation of an immediate 10-point plan and a longer-term plan for publication in 2022.  

South Hams and West Devon Councils are considering a crowd funding climate change event later this year to coincide with the G7. Cornwall Council and Devon County Council are considering similar activities. 

Devon County Council’s Cabinet and Council has allocated £2.15m to start implementing the first two years of its 10-year plan to achieve a carbon neutral organisation and supply chain by 2030. This includes funding for electric vehicles, publicly accessible charge posts, renewable energy, building refurbishment and purchasing land for habit enhancement. The Carbon Reduction Plan is available as a PDF on the website.   

Teignbridge District Council’s corporate carbon action plan will be prepared for April 2021. 

University of Exeter’s 10 Year Plan is being considered by its Board at the end of February (decision currently unknown).  

Plymouth City Council have developed two climate action plans (one for corporate activity and one for reducing area-wide emissions) that will continue to be implemented in 2021.  

East Devon District Council has prepared and adopted its climate change action plan. 

The University of Plymouth’s climate strategy has been approved by their governing body.  

South West Water is developing a plan for it to be carbon neutral by 2030 as part of the water sector’s national commitment.  

Environment Agency is working on a net-zero roadmap that will be launched in the next few months, which will include actions to address emissions from construction projects   

Torridge District Council’s Carbon Plan is going to Council in April 2021.  

The opportunities for investment to assist with COVID recovery have been fed into processes working with government via Devon County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.  

Buildings:

The Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme projects are now in their implementation phase.  

Various local authorities in Devon have submitted bids to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for building retrofit. For example, Teignbridge District Council has submitted a £3m bid and Devon County Council has submitted a £4m bid.  

A review of Devon housing architypes is underway by Plymouth Energy Community and the South West Energy Hub in partnership with the Devon Community Energy Network as the first stage of establishing a Devon Energy Advice Service. This work will inform the size of the business opportunity.  

Energy Supply and Resources:

Devon Solar Together – over 913 households are now receiving roof surveys over the next few months. Installations have started – 35 solar PV installations are done and 50 battery installations are done.   

Torbay Council is developing two solar farms.  

Exeter City Council is currently constructing a solar farm and workstreams looking at opportunities to help the commercial sector treat more commercial waste locally.  

South West Water is looking at developing solar farm sites to take private wires into their facilities. The organisation is also updating its Adaptation Plan in-line with the Adaptation Reporting Power of the Climate Change Act.  

Devon County Council has received £1m to further plans for using heat from the Exeter Energy from Waste facility in new housing south west of Exeter. The AgroRes project is assisting farmers to make better use of renewable energy.  

Transport:

The Rapid Charging Exeter project (expected to install up to 150 on-street vehicle charging posts in Exeter) has started the Traffic Regulation Order process for phase 1.  

Twenty-five car parks across Devon will be receiving charging posts via the DELETTI project this year. Devon County Council has submitted a bid to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for a second phase of a further 48 public car parks. 

East Devon District Council and Teignbridge District Council is looking at further opportunities from the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme. 

Exeter City Council is looking at models that could be used to deploy further electric vehicle charging to keep the revenue local.  

Next month Devon County Council will be submitting the planning application for the Teign Estuary Cycle and Walking Trail to link Teignmouth with Newton Abbot. 

Food, Land and Sea

Devon Strategic Food Partnership hosted its ‘The Beginning of the Journey’ webinar on 11 February 2021 to share progress so far, hear from some key speakers with food partnership experience locally and nationally, and start the conversation around building a strategic food partnership for Devon. 

The South West Food Hub is a Community Interest Company. It was formed to create a collaborative community to support the region’s food network to buy local and establish shorter, more sustainable supply chains. They work across the South West’s food sector, focusing primarily on public procurement. 

The Devon Wildlife Trust continues to facilitate the preparation of a Nature Recovery Network with Natural Devon to guide opportunities for habitat enhancement and carbon sequestration. Devon Wildlife Trust is also incorporating livestock emissions on its landholdings into its carbon footprint. These emissions dwarf other sectors. A funding application has been submitted to get resources to find the sweet spot of management of these holdings for wildlife and carbon.  

The NFU is asking members to pledge what they will do ahead of COP26.  

Dartmoor National Park Authority is carbon footprinting the Authority’s land assets and incorporating this into the organisation’s carbon footprint. 

2. Net-Zero Task Force Update

2.1 Interim Devon Carbon Plan – Green

The secretariat is reviewing the 1300 submissions to the consultation on the draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan. Initial analysis shows strong support across Devon for early action on climate change and that the consultation document was well received. The consultation suggests that all the issues signposted by the Draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan for consideration at the citizens’ assembly were considered by respondents to be of equal importance for deliberation. 

A full report of the responses to each consultation question will be prepared for the Task Force in April, which the partners will be able to view in May. This will inform amendments to be made to the Draft Interim Devon Carbon Plan, which the Task Force will lead on. A subsequent draft will be available for partners’ comment during June. 

The Tactical Group will lead on developing an ambition for net-zero that could be palatable to all of the organisations in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership and will bring this to the Response Group for consideration in due course.  

2.2 Citizens’ Assembly

Procurement:

The procurement process for the recruitment and facilitation provider of the Assembly closed on the 12th February. The evaluation of bids has been undertaken by Devon County Council and a preferred contractor identified. Contract start date will be the 8th April.  

Governance:

It is anticipated that an Assembly Project Team will be established with representation from the secretariat, the contractor, the Task Force and the Tactical Group. This team will have the mandate to make decisions about the operation of the Assembly within the framework already agreed by the partnership so that the challenging timescale to deliver the assembly before the school summer holidays can be met.  

The Task Force will operate as the Assembly Advisory Body and will be consulted at key points during April, May and June.  

The Tactical and Response Groups will be kept informed of progress.  

3. Climate Impacts Group Update – Amber

A workshop to assign prioritisation scores to the climate risks identified by the group was held on the 27th January 2021, facilitated by the Local Resilience Forum secretariat. 

The initial register from earlier phases of the Group’s work need to be combined with the scoring outcomes from the workshop. Emily has yet to do this due to time commitments on procurement processes for the Devon Citizens’ Assembly. 

Once the data is combined into one spreadsheet, this will be circulated to the Climate Impacts Group for all to add information about: 

  1. The key organizations that are currently involved in mitigating or planning for the impacts arising from each risk 
  2. Additional stakeholders who have an interest in each risk but who are not directly responsible 
  3. Existing controls and reporting mechanisms for each risk.  

This process will identify the gaps in local preparedness for these risks. Actions required to fill these gaps will form the basis of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Climate Adaptation Plan.  

The timetable for preparing the Adaptation Plan has slipped and a revised timetable will be brought to the Response Group in April.  

Summary Comments

The Interim Devon Carbon Plan public consultation has now closed. Analysis of the submissions continues.  

Evaluation of the tender submissions to help design and facilitate the citizens’ assembly is complete and the contractor will be appointed within the next month.  

The Climate Impacts Group has not made progress as quickly as hoped but a clear plan is in place to achieve the outcomes needed.  

The partners are demonstrating a wide variety of new activity across the county to lead on addressing the climate emergency.  

As a whole, the project is continuing to make good progress.