New drive to cut carbon emissions across Devon

picture of a streelight.The Council is investing in LED street lighting that is more environmentally-friendly.

Posted on: 16 May 2019

Devon County Council leader John Hart has pledged cash support towards a new drive to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Devon’s ruling Cabinet has agreed to set aside £250,000 towards an initiative to persuade organisations, communities and individuals to do more to reduce global warming.

Earlier this year the county council declared a ‘climate emergency’ and committed to becoming carbon neutral.

The authority’s already cut its carbon emissions by 36 per cent since 2012.

Cllr John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

But council leader John Hart says Devon has to do more.

He wants to bring together public bodies across the county with business representatives and the utility companies to support urgent action on the climate emergency.

They are all being asked to acknowledge the climate emergency and establish what measures need to be taken to decarbonise Devon, what they can do themselves and what would need the Government to intervene.

A Citizens’ Assembly would also be set up, representing the views and opinions of people across Devon, to review what is proposed.

Mr Hart said:

“We clearly can’t do this alone but I want Devon to take a lead in bringing organisations, communities and individuals together to take action.

“This is an issue that affects us all and requires action from all of us from large-scale corporate concerns to the individual resident.

“That’s why I’ve asked the Chief Executive, Phil Norrey, to lead on this to demonstrate how seriously we are taking it.

“Since I became leader of Devon County Council in 2009, we’ve managed to set a balanced budget every year with some small surpluses.

“We’ve done that again for 2018/19 and I will be asking the council to approve £250,000 to cover the costs of getting this initiative moving.

“I would like to see a Devon Carbon Plan produced that would set out how we are all going to reduce emissions – from the largest organisation through our towns and villages right through to as many committed individuals as possible.

“We are all in this together and we have to tackle it together.”

14 comments on “New drive to cut carbon emissions across Devon

  1. Dee Ross says:

    At this critical time it is important that local people and local organisations are involved and have real opportunity to shape the future actions of DCC and related councils so that the actions proposed are meaningful to local folk and not just another think tank idea that someone miles away thinks we need rather than what suits the area. Hopefully that way more people will support the changes we need to make the Climate Change Declarations a real force for carbon reduction.

  2. Dave O’Toole says:

    What a huge waste of money and effort. It has been estimated by the GWPF that achieving the government’s 2050 climate targets in the UK will cost a trillion pounds. The Extinction Rebellions targets of 2025 will unachievable without going back to the Stone Age.

    The establishment and use of assemblies is undemocratic and in fact anti democratic. I’m frankly speechless.

    Dave O’Toole

  3. Charles Mossman says:

    Certainly must not be a talking shop, I’ve been involved in too many over the years on sustainability matters. Councils have produced these sorts of plans in the past which get shelved and forgotten. Looks good at the time, a box ticked. If there is a genuine will to actually reduce carbon emissions then I might be tempted to join in.

  4. Gill Gale says:

    This is a good start. It may be more effective, if more uncomfortable for the organisations, if the Citizen’s assembly was to be involved at the formation of policy rather than just ratifying them. This could lead to more joined up thinking at an earlier stage.

  5. Kim Howard says:

    This is very good news, especially about the Citizens Assembly. Hopefully working together in this way towards a common goal will also help to heal the damaging rifts caused by the time and resource-wasting Brexit fiasco.

  6. Ley Holloway says:

    I’m pleased that someone is taking this issue seriously, I can see the need for some kind of working group to coordinate efforst rather tahn duplicating unnessessarily. I’ve just filed an article, at Barnstaple Library, which talks about the reduction in bus use in Devon. All of us here agreed that the bus services are not used because they are not adequate and bus routes are not in the most needed places. Park and ride schemes seem to me to a very good idea, if I had somewhere to leave my car close to a bus, I might well consider returning to buses for my journey to work, it’s the long drag on foot, after a long uncomfortable bus ride, that puts me off.

  7. Iain says:

    For street lighting in particular, just too many lights driven by increasingly outdated lighting standards and an expectation that everywhere should be illuminated 24hrs a day (even part time lighting is for most of the night). Serious rationalisation and removal would represent one pioneering yet small part of this wider issue and would also address light pollution for humanity and wildlife. Even with a light corridor maintained (i.e. one light can be seen from the other) huge numbers of street lights in between could be removed. Just need to be bold and consider the bigger picture or the nimbys will dilute the declared ’emergency’.

    • Hi Iain. That’s a good point. Over recent years we’ve been replacing our streetlights with energy efficient LED lighting, and we’ve introduced in many areas part night lighting so that the lights aren’t on all the time. It reduces energy yes, but light pollution too. It’s been interesting to see public opinion shift a little as people get more used to lights being turned off at night. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peter Smith says:

      Well said Iain, much more could be done however. Road lighting is unnecessary in some areas, road signs, many not needed & certainly not lit when vehicles no longer have candle lit head lamps!

    • Dave O’Toole says:

      The idea that green politics is progressive is laughable. Young people are attracted to it because they think they are being anti establishment whereas in fact all three parties are completely on side and all they are doing is supporting consensus.

      Of course councils are only too happy to comply because it allows them to push through cuts to services by arguing climate dictates it. And as the above demonstrates the majority support it wholeheartedly. Shocking nonsense.

  8. Marianne Tissandier says:

    This is excellent news. I particularly welcome the idea of setting up a Citizens’ Assembly to help to shape the path in front of us. If we are to make the radical changes needed, we all need to feel heard, and to be engaged and inspired.

  9. Dr Malcolm Lewis-Jones says:

    First basic housekeeping, repairing potholes and making road contractore remove signs and cones after work is finished would deliver much bu reducing braking and subsequent acceleration.
    £250,000 of my money to fund yet another talking shop is what Psychiatrists call displacement activity.
    Some simple and effective management would be appreciated instead of virtue signalling waffle.

    • Making contractors remove signs and cones after work is finished would reduce braking and acceleration, and that’d therefore be better for the environment. That’s a very valid point, and one that we will remind our contractors about. Thank you.

    • Dave O’Toole says:

      £250,000? Jesus wept.

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