This report provides a quarterly update on Devon County Council’s (DCC’s) corporate Environmental Performance programme that implements the Environmental Policy. The report is split into topics (e.g. Energy, Procurement, Waste & Resources) and gives a short update on the individual projects we are running to improve environmental performance of that topic.
July 2021 – October 2021
Project Colour Key
Each project is assigned a colour to indicate its current status. The key is as follows:
Green 🟢 – Project is performing well. There may be minor issues that do not affect project viability or timescales.
Amber 🟠 – Issues have arisen that affect the time, cost or scope of the project. However, these can be dealt with by the Environmental Performance Management Group. The Environmental Performance Board should be notified.
Red 🔴 – Significant issues that cannot be handled solely by the Environmental Performance Management Group. The Environmental Performance Board must be engaged to assess the situation.
Buildings Energy Efficiency [Green 🟢]
Target is to retrofit 2 buildings by March 2023. Current projection is to have retrofitted 10 due to unexpected funding opportunities from government.
Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 1 – Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (£4.6m grant) to deliver deep retrofit of Great Moor House, Taw View, Abbey Rise, St Michaels and Lucombe House. A second extension has been provided by government through to March 2022. Tender for works has closed and works have come in more expensive than expected due to supply chain issues. A revised approach to continue with these retrofits has been developed and will be considered by Cabinet in November.
Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 2 – Getting Building Fund (£2m grant) to achieve deep retrofit of Rifford Rd, Honiton Newholme, Rosalind House, Treetops and Orchard House. Survey work has started. Tender has been delayed and is expected to be launched next quarter. Completion date for these is March 2022, which is on track.
Starting to develop a proposal for a submission to phase 3 of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for further buildings.
Corporate Renewables [Green 🟢]
Target is to install 400kW by March 2023. Current projection is for 631kW.
The installation of 131kW of solar panels on the roofs of DCC salt depots is in its design phase. Tender is expected to be issued in the next quarter.
300kW of solar PV is expected from the solar car ports at County Hall and Taw View. Planning applications for these were expected to be submitted by now, but Taw View is still waiting for approval from Digital Transformation and Business Support (DTBS) Management Team. The County Hall planning application is expected to be submitted next quarter.
The two phases of the Zero Carbon Buildings projects are expected to install 200kW of renewable energy.
Proposal for purchasing renewable energy from community schemes via synthetic power purchase agreements is being presented to the Environmental Performance Board in November.
Street Lighting [Green 🟢]
Objective is to retrofit 100% of remaining all and part-night lighting with LED lamps by March 2023. Work is ongoing across the county to schedule. 49,000 of the 79,000 lamps have been replaced.
Energy Upgrades in the Schools Estate [Green 🟢]
Carbon offsetting opportunity for Okehampton Special School new-build has yet to be taken forward and would need a steer on what type of offset would be appropriate .
Over the summer of 2021 Whitchurch received a PV array; Payhembury had its heating converted to heat pump technology; Shaugh Prior had a replacement heating system with PV. West Exe Children’s’ Centre will receive a PV system in November. Bishops Nympton will have additional wall insulation installed by the end of the financial year.
Two schools were initially part of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme bid alongside 5 corporate buildings but these have been removed due to uncertainty about government policy regarding future academisation.
County Council Travel Plans for Strategic Work Locations [Amber 🟠]
Majority of staff are continuing to work remotely and therefore the implementation of the Travel Plans is taking stock of what this means for how our strategic work locations will be used post COVID.
However, measures are being collated for implementation at County Hall in anticipation of staff returning to work on a flexible basis.
Electric Vehicles and Charging [Green 🟢]
Rapid Charging Devon
Rapid Charging Exeter has been renamed Rapid Charging Devon to reflect increased geography, including sites in northern Devon. 70 sockets across 35 sites have been confirmed and are on track to be installed by March 2022. Works have started on site – the first on Barrack Road is now being tested.
Leases are currently being signed for the Deletti phase 1 contract awarded to Scottish Power. This will see chargepoints installed at 68 sites across Devon and South Somerset, 40 of which are in Devon. Installations was expected to commence this quarter but has been delayed. Leases are still awaiting to be signed and installations are expected to start next quarter.
Bid to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for phase 2 of the Deletti project with the installation of chargepoints at a further 38 public car parks across Devon, including parish council sites, has been successful. Tender will be launched next quarter.
Target is 25 electric vehicles in the fleet by March 2023. Total electric vehicles in the fleet is now 6.
Procurement of a further 12 replacement vehicles is underway. Delivery not expected until April 2022 due to supply chain issues.
In May, the Environmental Performance Board approved a request for capital funding to install 13 further chargeposts at Ivybridge, Great Moor House, Avocet Rd and Taw View for highways vans. This was expected to be achieved by September 2021 but has been delayed. Design work is progressing and are expected to be installed by March 2022.
Waste and Resources
Establish a new Reuse Policy [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter. The new Reuse Policy has been drafted, however it doesn’t feel the right time to be progressing this when there is considerable uncertainty over they types and quantities of resources that the policy will need to cover after COVID. Currently on hold.
Establish a waste/recycling data management system [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter. The waste analysis, to look at the composition of the refuse from County Hall, was planned for March 2020, has been postponed until we know more about how buildings will be used after COVID.
Procurement and Commissioning
Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy [Green 🟢]
The plan is to develop a Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy by the end of 2021/22 to provide a route map to a net-zero supply chain by 2030. The steering group is continuing to meet and data and intelligence for the strategy is being collated, including through a supply chain survey to understand the data and skills different sized suppliers have to help with the net-zero agenda.
ICT Commissioning and Smarter Devon are helping review the authority’s data requirements for collating and reporting on the carbon footprint of the supply chain.
Opportunities are being taken to test approaches to considering carbon in contracts and tendering procedures as they come up for review.
Highways, Development and Infrastructure Activity [Green 🟢]
Highways, Development and Infrastructure continue to make progress on benchmarking the carbon intensity of regular civils activity – 25 activities are now complete (up from 15 in the previous quarter) and 6 remain in progress. These are expected to be completed by the end of the financial year.
Whole life carbon assessments of street lighting maintenance and grass cutting/cyclical drainage have been drafted. Further detail is being added.
Carbon Impact Assessment Tool
The user testing phase of a bespoke carbon impact assessment tool is complete. It allows planners and designers to understand the impact of treatment selection against carbon cost/emissions. It also identifies carbon hotspots within design and offers a platform for evidence-based decision making.
Best Practice Sharing
Presentations have been given to several local authorities by request. These include: East Sussex, Somerset, Oxford, Buckinghamshire. Devon has secured a place on the Scope 3 Emissions working party being facilitated by the Future Highways Research Group and the Southwest Highways Alliance Group.
Initial discovery work has commenced to develop a data entry platform for carbon emissions. End customer interviews have been held with contractors to understand the full needs of the solution.
The service is continuing the evaluation for new materials that could help the authority on its journey to net zero:
- Warm Asphalt is now the default material on several contracts.
- The Minor Engineering Works Framework 2022-26 are being reviewed to include a wide range of carbon friendly products.
- Consideration of alternative road marking products.
- The trial for addition of lime to asphalt (to increase durability) is complete – awaiting report.
Produce a Template for Service-Level Climate Adaptation Risk Assessments [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter.
Enhance Procedures for Reporting and Learning from Environmental Incidents and Near Misses [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter.
Water Resource Management Surveys [Amber 🟠]
Last quarter, Water Resource Management Surveys of the top 5 water consuming properties were completed. We will now review the report findings and work to agree a policy target by the end of the financial year. The development of a strategy proposal is delayed due to a focus on delivering energy projects over the past quarter but this will be brought to the Environmental Performance Management Group next quarter.
Countryside and Heritage
Support the delivery of the Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan [Green 🟢]
A successful bid to support further tree planting has been successful. A four year project to deliver a £2.6m intervention has received £760k from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Remaining funding is being provided by a range of partners.
The ‘Right Place, Right Tree’ project has launched its guidance online.
Pilot the Valuation of Natural and Cultural Assets in Part of the County Farms Estate [Amber 🟠]
The Environmental Land Management Scheme trial is now underway in North Devon. A County tenant was not included in the first phase, but there could be an opportunity to do so in the second phase later in 2021. The North Devon Biosphere service will liaise with the County Farms land agent over opportunities.
Review the Land Drainage Consent Process to Ensure Compliance with Statutory Environmental Requirements [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter.
Addressing Light Pollution [Green 🟢]
Officers from DCC Highways, Engineering Design Group and Environment Group are working together on a DCC Lighting and Environment Paper to supplement DCC’s Lighting Policy. This quarter the paper has been circulated to key stakeholders for final comment.
Purchasing Woodland Carbon Units [Green 🟢]
The early stages of a procurement process to purchase carbon offsets to cover the organisation’s commitment to offset 10% of 2021/22 emissions have started. It’s likely a local offsetting opportunity will be found.
Land Purchase Exploration [Amber 🟠]
NPS have been engaged to search for land purchase opportunities. This has led to success in purchasing 28 acres of land between Exeter and Okehampton for a price similar to that budgeted by the Carbon Reduction Plan. However the process has been time consuming and, generally, land values are increasing more quickly than expected which means the future strategy for offsetting may need to change.
Additional Resource [Amber 🟠]
The job description for a new resource to lead on the testing of different approaches to carbon offsetting and habitat enhancement to meet the carbon offsetting commitments of the Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan has been submitted to HR for job evaluation.