Environmental policy

The Devon County Council Environmental Policy outlines the organisation’s environmental objectives and demonstrates its commitment to managing the environmental impacts of its operations and improving its environmental performance.

Implementing the policy


In December 2019 we committed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, including those from our purchasing of goods and services, to net-zero by 2030. As part of this, we will reduce the emissions from our own activity by at least 70% and carbon offset the remaining emissions. We will talk with our suppliers about how they can help reduce greenhouse emissions.


We are in the process of updating our Energy Action Plan to reflect our new carbon reduction commitment.

Waste and Resources

The Corporate Waste Management Strategy documents the Authority’s intention to continue engaging all staff to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. A significant part of the action plan is to improve data about how much waste is produced and how it is managed. See how we’re doing in the Progress Report.

Marine Plastic

Plastic is an incredibly useful material because of its versatility, but it comes with issues that need addressing. One issue is litter in the environment which ultimately ends up in the oceans. The Plastic Strategy describes how the Authority will play its part in reducing plastic litter. As part of this activity we have undertaken a review of our own use of single-use plastics. See how we’re doing in the Progress Report.


The Sustainable Environmental Procurement Policy renews the authority’s commitment to ensuring environmental risks and opportunities are considered at the outset of procurement activity. The action plan majors on raising awareness of this commitment at all levels of the organisation and re-launching the sustainable procurement impact assessment tool.

Countryside and heritage

The Countryside and Heritage Policy looks to enhance the Authority’s project appraisal processes to improve outcomes for environmental issues (such as wildlife, landscape and historic assets), reduce legislative and reputational risk for the authority and demonstrate community leadership on issues such as ash dieback. The action plan’s focus is on enhancing specific processes by making appropriate data and expertise available at key points to influence a project’s design in a positive, collaborative fashion between project managers and environmental specialists.

The council’s Pollinators Action Plan is also part of this workstream.

Environmental Risk

The Environmental Risk Strategy and Action Plan aims to: Identify, understand and implement all relevant environmental legislation fully; encourage a culture of reporting near-misses and sharing learning to improve processes; ensure planning for severe weather events is included in business continuity plans for business-critical services; and encourage all services to undertake an assessment of the risks presented by climate change.


The Draft Water Strategy and Action Plan looks to make further improvements to DCC’s management of water and take additional steps to minimise water consumption. We are working to improve data collection to inform the final policy and ensure activity is focussed on the right priorities.

How are we doing?

Progress against the environmental objectives of the Environmental Policy are reported in the annual Environmental Performance Statement which includes a detailed Greenhouse Gas Report. We’ve also produced this infographic to illustrate how we’re doing.

The Environmental Performance Board meets quarterly to monitor progress of the projects we are implementing to improve our performance. Recent Highlight Reports that the Board receives are available below:

January – April 2020
April – July 2020
August – October 2020