Devon Climate Emergency Response Group – Minutes, 9th May 2019



Phil Norrey
Doug Eltham
Graham Halladay
Phil Shears
Neil Hamlyn
Paul Netherton
Janet Williams
Ken Miles
Harry Barton
Drew Powell
Jenny Shellens
Mark Goodwin
Jennie Kingston
Andrew Pritchard
Virginia Pearson

Devon County Council (Chair)
Devon County Council
Western Power Distribution
Teignbridge District Council
DCIoS LRF Coordinator
Devon and Cornwall Police
Torridge District Council
North Devon District Council
Devon Wildlife Trust and Natural Devon
South Hams and West Devon Councils
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
University of Exeter
South West Ambulance Service Trust
Mid Devon District Council
Devon Public Health
Public Health England


Alistair Macpherson
Jamie Whitford-Robson

Plymouth City Council
Plymouth City Council



Phil Norrey welcomed and thanked everybody for attending at such short notice. Phil explained that this group has been convened to determine a joint response to the growing community support for action on climate change and made clear that whilst the Local Resilience Forum procedures have been borrowed to get a process underway, there is no proposal to declare an official emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act.

Paul Netherton advised that he is content with the reflection of Local Resilience Forum (LRF) procedures, stating that this is an emergency, it’s just that the timescales are different to those that the LRF would normally deal with.

Neil Hamlyn advised caution over any confusion with a formal LRF emergency but is content so long as the climate response is kept separate.

Jenny Shellons asked for the group not be referred to as a Strategic Climate Group and suggested a Climate Emergency Response Group instead. This was AGREED.


Immediate Joint Response

Phil described a proposal for a climate declaration that would:

      1. outline a combined response to the emergency
      2. demonstrate a willingness to lobby on required national policy changes
      3. commit each organisation to reviewing its existing corporate carbon reduction plans within 6 months.
      4. commit each organisation to collaborating on a Devon-wide carbon plan
      5. be endorsed by this group within 2 weeks

This was AGREED, subject to:

  • the detail of the commitments
  • being sensitive to the recent political changes, meaning that formal sign-up by local authorities will take longer
  • the year for decarbonisation is communicated carefully considering the different timescales that have been declared

Mark Goodwin offered the academic support of the university to help resolve issues.


Structure for Joint Working

Phil proposed a two-tier structure. This group being the top tier, with a tactical group of nominated officers from each organisation below to deliver outputs. The tactical group would draft the declaration within the next 2 weeks for subsequent discussion and endorsement by this Climate Emergency Response Group. The two-tier structure was AGREED.

Paul Netherton proposed a Devon Climate Impacts Group to look at the adaptation response that will be required irrespective of the speed that carbon emissions are reduced. Paul offered to chair this group. This activity could be reflected in the declaration. This proposal was AGREED and Phil thanked Paul for suggesting it.


Next Steps and Actions

Each organisation agreed to nominate an officer by Monday 13th May to sit on the tactical group. Doug Eltham will initially lead the tactical group. The tactical group will prepare a declaration in the next 2 weeks.

Devon CC will circulate a politically-neutral press release later today for signoff by midday on Friday 10th May by partners.

Next meeting of this Climate Emergency Response Group is scheduled for 13:00 on the 22nd May. Devon CC will send an invitation for this.