Agenda item

Climate Change Emergency - Our Response

This report is intended as a high level discussion document to assist in exploring the council’s organisational ambitions in relation to climate change and consider how this topic might feature on the new council’s agenda and priorities.


Appendix A – Devon Climate Declaration

Appendix B – EDDC Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2025 (first draft)

Appendix C – Developing a Devon Carbon Plan


David Rochester, a member of Extinction Rebellion congratulated EDDC for its comprehensive reports on climate change on the agenda. He suggested the date of 2050 for net-zero carbon emissions was too far away and that massive cultural changes to reduce these emissions must be made immediately. He welcomed the report but said more must be done. He suggested a clear date of 2025 to be carbon neutral reflecting the reality of the emergency we face, being stronger with this message to higher tiers of Government as well as the council taking an assertive approach to lobbing central government. Immediate action could be made through the planning process with a must to any new substantial developments being close to employment and public transport links. He pointed out that area development must include adequate storage for bicycles in order people to use buses and trains.


The Strategic Lead Housing, Health and Environment introduced his report which was intended as a high level discussion document for Cabinet to assist in exploring EDDC’s organisational ambitions in relation to climate change, consider how this topic might feature on the new Council’s agenda and priorities. He spoke clearly and concisely on how the issue must be a concerted effort from everyone - people, businesses, local and central governments who should and must act now. Everyone including businesses must assume personal responsibility to look into their carbon reliance. He stated the need to research EDDC’s present carbon footprint before a date could be put forward to becoming carbon neutral.


The Cabinet was invited to sign a declaration and give a steer, which would influence the development of an EDDC action plan, a series of commitments, and the process for contributing towards challenging reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This approach needed to be consistent with international, national and regional efforts to limit further climate change.


As part of these considerations EDDC needed to form a view on:

Ø  The extent of its’ ambitions in this area;

Ø  Whether to look to be a Carbon Neutral Council and engage in carbon offsetting;

Ø  How to establish an emissions baseline for council activities/buildings (essential if wanting to become carbon neutral);

Ø  How this ambition would be articulated politically, through communications and in the Council Plan;

Ø  The resourcing requirements and financial implications;

Ø  How to embrace this as a one council activity touching all Services;

Ø  The extent to which EDDC would work in partnership with others;

Ø  How the education, influencer, and enabling roles would operate;

Ø  The wider policy context and where the council could make meaningful interventions.

Discussions included the following:

·       The need to stop granting planning permissions on flood plans

·       Planting hundreds of more trees to address the balance

·       Must lead by example to engage residents to follow as well as being achievable

·       Local housing stock to have solar panels to become carbon neutral with any surplus brought back to be reinvested in climate change education

·       It was not hard to reduce one’s own individual carbon footprint

·       Anything done now must be considered and sensible and done in a coordinated way

·       Declare a Climate Emergency locally

·       Work with the farming community to reduce the production of methane in order to gain the greatest carbon capture

·       Try for 2025 for significantly reducing carbon emissions

·       Keep records of what we are doing in order to make calculations

·       Carbon capture was being lost through the development of new roads, houses and industrial estates reliance on concrete

·       Show leadership in the community with a need for a solid framework which to operate on.

·       Baseline surveys being evolving documents necessary to establish carbon emissions

·       Regular quarterly update reviews

·       Reflect the emergency within the EDDC itself

·       Local public transport to work together to improve and coordinate their timetables

·       Lobby central government to revise building regulations

·       No plastic drink containers to be sold on EDDC land

·       Consider how to engage younger people

·       Targets must be informed by understanding the issues, there must be a quantifiable plan set up with the ability to finance changes

·       Lobby local MPs to demonstrate on our behalf on local government finances

·       The need to look at the ecology of the district with plans for new development to have greenspaces

·       Need to act now and not wait until changes in policies through the local plan

·       Local plan evolves from the NPPF hence the need for Government intervention to this and other national polices

The Chairman reminded members that the 10 new leaders across Devon were all wanting to take this opportunity to work together to address this climate emergency. He stated the success rate would be higher if everyone worked with positivity. He agreed that citizen assemblies must be created as well as more sustainable communities with everyone remaining flexible and fluid to change the date closer for zero carbon emissions.

The Portfolio Holders for Environment and Finance wished to thank and congratulate John Golding and his team for their detailed and informative report.

that the following be agreed:

(1)  to sign up to the Devon Climate Change Emergency Declaration; and

(2)  to work with Devon County Council and other partners to produce a Devon wide action plan on climate change; and

(3)  to prepare an East Devon District Council action plan to reduce its’ carbon footprint; and

(4)  to link the Council plan with the work of the Low Carbon Task Force; and

(5)  to support the acceleration of the proposals to achieve zero carbon development in the West End of the district; and

(6)  to reflect climate change as a priority in the new Council Plan and future updates of Service Plans and relevant corporate policies.


To commit to an agenda and series of actions that have a positive impact on reducing EDDC’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions with the ambition of becoming carbon neutral as an organisation at the earliest opportunity.

To also work in partnership with others on the climate change agenda to ensure that the council was supporting and influencing regional, national and international responses as well as assisting businesses, communities and visitors reduce their carbon use.


Supporting documents: