County council leader supports Devon Climate Declaration

Cllr John Hart

Posted on: 22 May 2019

Devon County Council’s leader John Hart has backed the Devon Climate Declaration, which commits signatories to work together to reduce carbon emissions across the county.

Earlier this year Devon County Council (DCC) declared a ‘climate emergency’ and pledged to work with ‘strategic stakeholders’ to ensure that the county of Devon becomes carbon neutral.

Today the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) endorsed the underlying principles of the declaration – to reduce carbon emissions through ‘collective action, innovation and influence’.

In a telephone meeting chaired by DCC’s Chief Executive Phil Norrey, the DCERG – made up of executives and chief officers of about 20 organisations including councils, emergency services and business groups – were asked to sign up to the declaration ‘as quickly as their procedures allowed.’

By signing the declaration, organisations would be committing to support a range of measures and initiatives including lobbying government to prioritise decarbonisation and to provide the resources and funding necessary to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon and resilient economy and society.

Each member would also be committing to publish annual progress reports of their organisation’s decarbonisation programme.

Last week DCC’s ruling Cabinet agreed to set aside £250,000 towards this initiative to persuade organisations, communities and individuals to do more to reduce global warming.

Some of this money will be earmarked to develop the Devon-wide Carbon Plan, a ‘road map’ to help ensure that the county becomes carbon neutral, and to fund a dedicated project officer.

DCERG also agreed yesterday to initiate the next stage, for the 20 organisations to co-design and cost within the next month a process for preparing the Devon-wide Carbon Plan. The plan will also include a ‘citizens assembly’ to ensure Devon’s residents have a voice in the process.

Dr Norrey said: “This was a productive meeting and I’m pleased that members of the Dr NorreyDevon Climate Emergency Response Group agreed with the underlying principles of the Devon Climate Declaration.

“Individually we have the knowledge, skills and technologies to reduce carbon emissions and each member realises that only by working in concert can we hope to realise our ambition of Devon becoming carbon neutral.”

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council said: “I agree with Dr

photograph of Councillor John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

Norrey that the world is at a turning point where the effects of climate change are already being felt, and if left unchecked climate change will profoundly affect the environment, our prosperity and our quality of life.

“We clearly can’t do this alone and that’s why Devon County Council is working hard to bring organisations, communities and individuals together to take collective action.

“I will be taking a report to Cabinet recommending that our council adopts this Devon Climate Declaration.

“Only by working together with strategic partners can we develop and implement an effective plan to ensure that Devon is on the right trajectory to meet the IPCC’s carbon reduction recommendations.”

39 comments on “County council leader supports Devon Climate Declaration

  1. Lisette Granados says:

    Hi I’m interested in finding out more and joining a citizens assembly
    Please can you keep us informed

    Thank you

  2. Gill Thomas says:

    Gill Thomas says:
    2nd June at 1805
    I applaud the initiative . May I suggest that all new builds have to have photo-voltaic/solar panels.

  3. DALE HALL says:

    Am interested in the Citizens’ Panel – as an applicant and to know how it is appointed

    • david.beasley says:

      Thanks for your interest Dale and to everyone who has shown an interest in the citizen’s panel. We are currently looking at the best way to do this. In the meantime I have forwarded the details of those who have shown an interest to our environment and sustainability team.

  4. lynn says:

    Have you seen the work that Tearfund are doing regarding Climate Change – can you link up with such an enthusiastic organisation to use their expertise to help get this right in Devon?

  5. Andrew French says:

    I have an idea, and if all shops and businesses that trade with the general public took it on it would make a huge difference. If shop did not have plastic bags, people would have to get into the habit of bringing there own bags it would just take a little bit of time and it would become a norm. When people went shopping they would know that they need to take their shopping bags with them. Well its just an idea. We need to look after this beautiful planet that are visitors on. You know the human being classes itself as intelligent, well if we were intelligent we wouldn’t destroy the very environment that we need for our own survival. Hope this idea and other like it come into being. Peace and love to all 🙂

    • Lynn says:

      Surely people are now in the good habit of bringing their own bags – this neds to extend to bringing your own lidded box for cheese/meat. importantly the carrier bag fine should be extended to a plastic tax on manufacturers (which is not passed on to the consumer) and make them take responsibility for the unnecessary packaging they use, along with encouraging the research and development of plastic alternatives

  6. Liz Butler says:

    Looking at where people live in relation to where they are expected to work would be a start. When I work for Devon my travelling time is often longer than my working time. I was not made aware of the travel commitments when I obtained my job. I also don’t get paid travel. This makes no sense when I could work closer to home.

  7. Nicola says:

    I hope this is the time when we fully embrace clean technologies/ local produce etc and not just an opportunity to tax/ charge people more.

  8. Helen Bee says:

    How will you select the Citizens for the assembly?
    Yes to many more trees, and trees in hedges. Encourage cycling please, it is a potential positive and real solution.
    Stop using Glyphosates as they kill and damage far more than the weeds they are sprayed on. We are in an ecological crisis and need to work towards halting biodiversity loss immediately. Without pollinators there will be severe food shortages, and no birds =(

  9. Stevie Ranson says:

    Interesting how comments I made yesterday about planting more trees to tackle emissions have been removed!? Just like the trees in Devon.

  10. Stevie Ranson says:

    Plant more trees. It’s a good place to start and a complete no-brainer.

  11. Amy Bright says:

    I have just found out from SSE that to heat our bungalow using an electric boiler will cost 6 times more than the present cost of heating with gas.

  12. Mo Godfrey says:

    Sounds good as long as its not just a nod to looking like things are being done without real progress towards change.
    More information needed about the citizens assembly.
    A better plan for sustainability across Devon – I cant imagine how gridlocked our roads are going to become once the huge amount of new build housing development has been completed.
    Electric vehicles need charging points if they are going to be viable options when people look to change to a more environmentally friendly mode of transport.

  13. Malcolm Knox says:

    The group should create a long clear list of do’s and don’ts, for the individual person. Real progress will come from meaningful direct engagement with us as people. We in turn will try to influence family, friends, colleagues and contacts everywhere. There is a lot of good practice information out there, but it’s in so many different places. Small groups of employees from DCERG agencies would willingly contribute ideas for such a list. Everyone in Devon needs to be clear about exactly what they should be doing to help, everyday, wherever they are.

  14. Lynn says:

    Excellent to see Devon’s commitment to reduce our impact on Climate Change. Hope the actions you take as leaders are well publicised so others can share good practice.
    It would be good to see employees encouraged to make lifestyle changes as part of this collective action.
    I’m interested to see how you involve both employees and the wider community.

  15. Robert Cook says:

    Why does the Devon Climate Convention make no reference to controlling population? This seems rather illogical. The Kaya Identity, which is used by the IPCC, describes climate change as a function of human population, GDP per capita, energy intensity (per unit of GDP), and carbon intensity. Thus, Devon could never achieve the aim of being ‘carbon neutral’ even if it did reduce everyone’s travel; reduce their ‘needs’ and consumption; and get them to prefer expensive local products over cheap goods made in China, – if that population continues to boom.
    Or is that a bit too contentious to discuss, even though its essential?


    Thank you for forming this citizen’s assembly. I hope very much that Devon will be courageous in taking steps to reduce carbon emmissions. Traffic congestion and air pollution, and increased use of renewable energy are obvious issues to tackle.

  17. Marie Buckfield says:

    I’d like to be involved as a citizen. I live here, bring up my family here, run a business here and want to see ICEs disappear asap.

  18. Mrs J P Webber says:

    All seems to be good ideas.
    But, electric cars seem to make no noise.
    If this is correct it will be of great disadvantage to so many of us!

    Firstly, many of those who are blind have a dog to guide them.
    The dogs eyesight and hearing is great.
    They are able to see cars from both directions on a normal roadway.
    But cars joining from a side road cannot be heard.

    Many youngsters are able to hear a car in the distance so do not cross the road until all sounds have disappeared.
    As with older folk, sight may be impaired a little but the sound of a car is easily recognised.

    Lovely for no noise inside the car, but a certain amount for pedestrians would be beneficial.

    Thank you for reading this e-mail

    Mrs J P Webber

  19. Stevie Ranson says:

    The easiest and cheapest way to mitigate emissions is PLANT MORE TREES, and more and more and more. It’s all about the trees. Lungs of the planet, not to mention the many other benefits to humans and other wildlife. It’s seems to me like a total no-brainer. Plant trees. It’s an easy start to make for the benefit of future generations.

    • Nicola says:

      I completely agree Stevie, also to stop cutting down older trees – i believe older or slower growing trees absorb more pollution, lets grow more wild flowers etc to benefit the insect world too – lets green up Devon.

    • M Buckfield says:

      And according to Springwatch last night, 50% of the oxygen we breathe comes from trees, the other 50% from plankton. As well as planting more trees we must also remember to cut plastic pollution in our waterways.

    • adam powell says:

      The U.K. has the smallest percentage land area to woodland of any country in Europe

  20. Bob Paul says:

    Citizens Assembly
    Where are the ordinary people, people who have to bear the cost of many initiatives which are endorsed by the people who can easily afford them.
    Let’s all by diesel cars, now let’s all by electric cars. How many of us can afford this?

    • Rosemarie Heron says:

      Make the buses more affordable and available to encourage people to use public transport rather than cars

    • Kirstyn Munro says:

      Exactly – electric cars are out of most peoples budgets, especially in the Westcountry. Reducing emissions on the vehicles we have now instead of scrapping them all and swapping to expensive battery vehicles has got to be a more enviromentally and pocket friendly option. Pure Hydrogen works on all cars – you can have it installed in around 1 hour and cut emissions instantly. www,ecomotus.co.uk

  21. Kirstyn Munro says:

    Here in Devon you have a local business Ecomotus, http://www.ecomotus.co.uk who design and manufacture a patented system that massively cuts the effects of carbon and pollution from engine exhausts. It works with petrol and diesel engines and has a dramatic effect on reducing pollution from traffic jams and rush hour traffic. Ecomotus is currently working with the University of Bath on tests with the product.

  22. Cllr Jonathan Rose says:

    I live in hope that this is not councils signing up to this and just saying it and not actually doing action plans, I as a scientist first and councillor 2nd on this issue have warned since the early 1990’s of climate change, and only now are councils and government starting to pay attention, but still not doing enough to combat it, when I was a boy you could use trains to go to towns like mine Gt.Torrington, and many others, and everyone admits in hindsight that beecher was wrong, but hardly anyone in government national and local is looking at trains as a viable option to bring the carbon footprint down, all our freight can go on rail and you do not lose jobs either from that as the drivers continue on rail with there load and can drive off other end something that in europe they never stopped doing, so hows about doing something acheivable that can be turned around in a few years then I will stop using my car if we had a viable railway with better prices, in fact in this country we do not have trains running after certain times at night which could easily be implemented and make journeys cheaper in these off peak times.

  23. Nicola says:

    electric buses with a discount for local residents/ school children would reduce car trips

    • Liz Vizard says:

      Agreed, but first central government needs to allow councils to run their own bus services so profit is not the first motive. We need a vastly better bus service so school children and families can afford to use them and discourage cars from entering our towns and cities. This will also improve our air quality – another emergency. I’m an Exeter resident and these are major concerns for us.

  24. adam powell says:

    I would be interested in taking part in your citizens assembly.
    Please keep me updated on your plans for the following carbon reduction measures in Devon;
    tree planting, improved allotment provision
    building zero carbon homes
    phototaics, wind power and water power schemes
    electric vehicles, trams, buses, and trains and diesel scrappage
    home working
    low tillage agriculture
    promoting veganism at least part of the week

  25. Gareth Young says:

    Your policy on development is too onerous.
    You might think this is a rant, but actually it’s serious. Your planning department is not fit for purpose. Or there only purpose is to stop development of any kind.
    I’m a consultant engineer. I have never been paid in advance, but your planning department insists on payment in advance before they will hold any meeting.
    Your stated policy on the provision of social housing prevents any development, unless it’s negotiated.
    This is not viable in an atmosphere of open government

    • adam powell says:

      Good point about the planning, payment up front to even be considered.

      We need good quality zero carbon truly affordable social housing, to be proud to call home.

      Not poor quality, expensive to buy and run houses that we are ashamed of. Housing is being built in quantity with no connection or contribution to our Devon landscape and environment.

  26. wendy stayte says:

    I am glad the DCC see this need to act decisively to try and mitigate the huge damage we have already casued as a human species.
    I would heartily back steps to make buses cheaper , specially for those with children; and subsidies of solar panels, and making as many of our DEVON TOWNS CAR-FREE APART FROM NECESSARY DELIVERIES AND DISABLED VEHICLES AND BUSES.
    Just for starters.

  27. Richard Ambrose says:

    This is a great step by Devon County Council at a time when the greatest threat provides the greatest opportunity. This will need the input from representatives from all sectors, to achieve a sustainable county, balancing its rich environments and biodiversity with future developments. I look forward to hearing more and helping where I can. Time is off the essence and change is vital.

  28. Dermot Roberts says:

    It’s a great idea. How will you select a Citizen’s assembly and how can one apply

    • john says:

      Use our hedgerows. We have 33,000 miles of them yet they are being ignored. Taken for granted. Often badly treated. If we had a standard tree every 50 yards or so how many would be added and how much difference would that make? Use our experts and enthusiasts! Get them on the Assembly. Use what we know. Thanks.

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