Devon Carbon Plan to be developed

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Posted on: 27 June 2019

People across Devon will have the opportunity to be involved in the development of a countywide Carbon Plan, the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) agreed yesterday (Wed 26 June).

Proposals to establish a Devon Carbon Plan have been endorsed by members of DCERG, who have given their backing for a Net Zero Task Force to be appointed to develop the plan.

This Task Force will consist of 12 people with expertise in areas relevant to carbon reduction – drawing them from economic, environmental, health and academic organisations, and chaired by a leading climate expert.

A series of hearings will be delivered by the Task Force where experts will be invited to answer questions to determine the barriers and opportunities of tackling carbon dioxide emissions in specific areas such as transport, new development, waste, and agriculture.

The hearings will identify if any additional research is necessary before putting forward potential policy options for inclusion in the Devon Carbon Plan.

Options drawn up by the Task Force will be tested and refined at a series of citizens’ assembly meetings, which will be scheduled to take place next Spring in order to help inform the content of the plan.

A full public consultation will then be held on the draft plan, with the aim of the DCERG adopting the final plan by the end of 2020.

Dr Phil Norrey, Chief Executive of Devon County Council

Dr Phil Norrey

Dr Phil Norrey, Chairman of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and Chief Executive of Devon County Council, said: “The Response Group has given its full backing to the development of a fully transparent Devon Carbon Plan which will provide the opportunity not only for collaboration and expert input, but also direct involvement from people across Devon and the chance for everybody to submit their views.”

An initial review of climate-related community risks will also be carried out after the response group approved proposals to establish a task and finish “Climate Impacts Group”. This will examine the risks currently identified by the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) to assess the risks of climate impact over the next 10-20 years.

The Devon Climate Emergency Response Group is made up of around 25 organisations including councils, emergency services, businesses and voluntary organisations from across Devon. It has been set up to co-ordinate a collaborative response to the climate emergency.

All of the organisations involved in the response group are being asked to sign up to the Devon Climate Declaration that will commit them to reducing their organisation’s carbon emissions.

25 comments on “Devon Carbon Plan to be developed

  1. Paul Whiteley says:

    Dartmoor was one time tree covered but our neolithic ancestors chopped them down and soil erosion did the rest. It didn’t stop there though as continued sheep and cattle grazing mean that even well established woods are suffering. Piles Copse has almost no young trees and has halved in extent in the last 50 years.
    The national park cite “visual amenity” when countering tree planting efforts but that is just whitewash for the excuse that tree cover on Dartmoor is reducing even now and what they say they are managing is just their idea of what it should look like. In other words just as artificial as someone who paves over their front lawn

  2. Charles Mossman says:

    I would like to ask what progress has been made in the last month? Every day decisions are being made in this county which do not support the Climate Emergency Declarations. Action is needed now.

  3. David McEwing says:

    The council should encourage the reforestation of Dartmoor with mixed deciduous trees. The planting of billions of trees has the potential to capture significant amounts of carbon dioxide. This would also increase biodiversity, reduce soil erosion and flooding at lower levels.

    • Paul Whiteley says:

      You are right.Originally uplands like Dartmoor were tree covered and open Savannah. This made it attractive to early neolithic settlers as a place to live, rather than the damp, densely wooded valleys. Over time the trees were all gradually felled and the rain washed the top soils away and what little remained turned acidic due to the underlying rocks making it unusable for primitive agriculture. The inhabitants began clearing the woods below and slowly moved down into the valleys.

      The evidence for this is clear to see in settlement remains, border rows and pathways right across the moor.

      Rewilding and tree planting needs care and upkeep if it is to succeed on the moors and to slowly build up the soils to what they were 3000 years ago. But the moors remain as a reminder of what can happen to an ecosystem if you over exploit it. Interestingly virtually the same processes are now believed to have occurred on Easter Island. The inhabitants there though did not have the luxury of having anywhere else to move to. The inhabitants woke up too late to what was happening and there are small sad remains of attempts at terracing and tree planting efforts to prevent, unsuccessfully, the soils disappearing.

  4. Charles Mossman says:

    You could make a start by examining this planning application for a transport hub off the M5 near Willand and Uffcombe19/00928/MFUL.

    The application is based on out of date policies and will not help us meet net carbon emissions by 2025, 2030 or 2050.

    All new planning applications must be reviewed in the light of the climate emergency declarations including the Government’s. There can be no use of the excuse that we can only control DCC emissions, it has to be all emissions whoever is making them.

  5. Howard Kim says:

    Excellent move, but I agree 2050 is too late. We’re already wasting crucial time and resources on matters such as Brexit. Let’s get our priorities right, focus on the climate crisis, reduce the timescale to a more realistic 2025 (and yes, that will be difficult and we should have started years ago, but for the climate change deniers….)

  6. Paul Whiteley says:

    Some good practical ideas here.
    As a member of Extinction Rebellion I have taken part in several actions and engage with the public regularly. Amazingly I have met and spoken with people who have never even heard of climate change, the crisis facing us and about the ongoing efforts to tackle it. I would therefore suggest that the council takes out adverts to publicize it’s important work.and find additional ways of bringing the message home.
    Many people believe like Mr White above believe it is either unimportant,or a hoax.
    There are some who’s understanding of the issues is clouded by a lack of knowledge believe it is a good thing. Anne Widdicombe MEP for example.
    We need to put this country on something like a war footing and if we are to be succesful then every one will need to do their bit. People need educating, we will fail otherwise.

    • david spencerd says:

      A war footing, yes!
      Use mass media to instill in peoples minds how vital immediate action is needed.
      A national campaign from the government.
      All the countries resources to be concentrated on reducing carbon emmision from day one ( how about Christmas 2019).
      All non-essential transport, including flying, (on hols Cornwall in May, I noticed the sky over the peininsula was covered in vapour trails, approx 70% covered in poisonous gas!). Shipping, heavy transport (these trucks burn huge amounts of diesel, 8 to 10 mpg). Alternatively, if the govt wont act, call a National Strike.

  7. Catherine Western says:

    I agree with Ruth and Nikki. As a society we need to begin the process of serious infrastructure change to reduce our carbon footprint as soon as possible. Time is running out.

  8. david spencer says:

    Its simple. Start by declaring an extreme emergency, draw up plans to run only essential transport, all other to be switched off. Close the airport to all flights except those necessary for vital supplies.
    Take all land into common ownership, plan food production, tree planting, using carbon fuel burning machines only where human power not enough. As we will all own all the land, this will motivate us all to return to the land. Unemployment will be almost nil, and we will all be fitter and happier in this new life.
    No live stock, vegetarian diet only.
    Call on central govt to impliment and finance Devon’s plan across the country..
    Green energy development of course.
    Read “News from Nowhere” by William Morris, altough written in the 1840’s or thereabout, this story shows how its done.

  9. Janet says:

    Are there any farmers’ representatives on the DCERG?

  10. Nikki Young says:

    2050 is too late! This deadline needs to be brought forward

  11. Ruth Leonard-Williams says:

    I think this is a fantastic development but the timescales are completely out of sink with what the IPCC is telling us is necessary to avoid runaway global warming. We need a Devon County Council target of 2025, as adopted by Teignbridge District Council. 2050 is simply too late. Yes 2025 is extremely ambitious, but it will send an important message to central Government that they need to treat this issue like the crisis that it is.

  12. Mike Allen says:

    Dear Michael,

    A few ideas for things we COULD do

    It is possible to revise Planning rules to require all new homes to be built Carbon-neutral. Alternatively each MUST have PV if possible or earth/air heat pumps if not. Developers would not like it and mortgage costs would go up.

    Additionally we could waive opposition to electricity storage sheds in rural areas and allow more PV farms in certain areas. Both have been opposed before.

    The County Council could install electricity charge points in High Street parking areas and gain income from fees for charging up.

    We could prohibit fossil cars from seafront, City or town parking and insist they stay in Park-and-ride areas

    We could insist all public vehicles are electric.


    • Simon Pickstone says:

      Hi Michael, I don’t want to throw water on your ideas as they are all valid and will help to reach a low carbon future…although I do just want to take issue a bit with the EV ideas. If we invest in low carbon energy and infrastructure I would prefer not to see it facilitating an ongoing private car ownership model…otherwise with AVs etc. we risk even more cars taking up what could be more productively used space etc. I would prefer it if the low carbon energy (Hydrogen, Electric Charging for BEVs etc.) was used in support of shared, public, mass transit infrastructure models. This will almost certainly provide even wider benefits than just carbon reduction. Thanks for your attention, Simon

  13. Jo Hutter says:

    I’d like to see some discussion about making use of our natural resources in the region, such as turbines in the sea and rivers to generate electricity for local communities. Lots of our towns have rivers running through them, which could be generating electricity. I agree with the comment about action now, we can plant trees and empower businesses and individuals. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a lead from central government!

  14. Simon Pickstone says:

    Here are a few ideas:
    – Solar Panels on every residential property where practical by 2025 (Upfront Capital costs paid for by LA using a loan from the Public Works Loans Board and repaid through council tax increase in line with energy saving being realised by residents);
    – Start a pledge to get every Devon resident committed to eating 1 less meat-based meal a week for 1 year;
    – Start a pledge to get every Devon resident committed to replacing at least one additional trip a week they would normally have done using a car by walking, cycling or using public transport.

  15. Denise Smith says:

    This is a great idea but not reporting until Spring next year seems too far off to me. We need to be taking action now.
    It also appears that a big element is missing from the scope of the Taskforce – that is what we can do across all communities in Devon to tackle climate change: particularly in the area of planting. If all people across Devon got involved in planting trees for example, we could have an impact on the carbon levels. A countywide initiative could really have an impact here. I would be happy to get involved and help, though I have no particular expertise to offer.

  16. Michael says:

    The county council have set aside £250,000 for this Devon Climate Emergency Response Group while the overall budget for 19/20 has just been cut by 11% (around £13m).

    Expecting cash-strapped local authorities to take the lead on this is an expectation doomed to fail when they’re barely coping as it is to provide vital frontline services like care and education. Only central government funding and action will achieve anything near what it needs to.

  17. Simon Pickstone says:

    Yes, lets focus on some immediate actions, many of which we already know need doing. We can’t just talk shop for the next year before we invest in action.

  18. roger julian white says:

    The Hadley Centre stats show NO warming the past 15 years in England.
    The seas around the South West shores are currently well below the long term average temperature.
    So why the ” climate emergency?”
    We need more doctors, nurses & social care – so stop wasting money on the climate change cult bandwagon.

    • Michael says:

      Roger, there has been an increase, which is what the stats do show (https://ukcip.ouce.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/PDFs/UKCP09_Trends.pdf).

      It’s almost as if a trend is different and more indicative than “well it’s fine today so this must all be lies”, but given you’re calling it a “cult” and your twitter appears to be little more than posting a handful of denialists as proof the overwhelming evidence-based study of climate change must be wrong or lies then I don’t think your mind is going to be changed.

    • Paul Whiteley says:

      The temperature in Anchorage Alaska was shattered last week. by 3 C (5F) It went to 32 C (90F) this is for a city on the Arctic Circle.
      Interestingly there is a climate model produced by the Met Office where as the planet heats up the Gulf Stream weakens and the UK gets much colder so we end up with glaciers in Scotland and icebergs around the coasts in winter. Western European weather will similarly become more extreme and the associated deaths that we saw a few years back with 15,000 deaths due heat stroke.
      When we start getting Daffodils in December, which we did year before last, then something is clearly going wrong.
      I suggest you get off your computer and start looking outside.

  19. Mike Allen says:

    Excellent coordination. Please get Industry on board. We need to think big and think fast. We need action in immediate and mid-term actions and to start on long-term developments. The last thing we need is a talking shop and another report.

    We need every new house to be generating its own electricity and also use ground source if possible. There is already a move to action this around Exeter, but I am not aware of any action taken since I voted investment in this from East Devon DC

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