Environmental Performance Highlight Report April – July 2020

This report provides a quarterly update on Devon County Council’s (DCC’s) corporate Environmental Performance programme. 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.


April – July 2020


Programme’s Aims

The Environmental Performance programme embeds the principles of the Environmental Policy throughout the Authority and champions the consideration of environmental issues within the Authority’s policy and strategy development, and operational procedures.

It develops and implement policies and action plans that respond to the Environmental Policy and improve the Authority’s environmental performance.


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.



Energy Efficiency [🟠Amber]

Lucombe House refurbishment and the energy-efficiency improvements to sash windows at County Hall delayed due to Covid-19. Windows work will start imminently and Lucombe House early in 2021.

Developing a deep retrofit programme business case to deliver 960,000 kWh of energy reductions over next 10 years in line with the Corporate Carbon Action Plan.

Commissioning investment grade audits of the corporate estate to determine the detail in September.

Corporate Renewables [🟢Green]

Solar PV at County Hall has now been installed and is supplying electricity.

Electric Vehicle Charging [🟢Green]

StreetHubz bid led by Zapinamo and Gamma Energy for a £4m project to install on-street chargepoints in Exeter and surrounding major towns was successful. Phase 1 sites are close to being confirmed. Marketing elements may commence in September.

As part of the Deletti programme we have engaged the supply chain regarding the installation of solar carports at Taw View, County Hall, Sowton Park & Ride, Honiton Road Park & Ride and Exeter Science Park. Planning application is being developed for Taw View and County Hall. Tender is planned to be launched during the summer, and the planning applications will be submitted by July too, dependent on resource within the procurement team due to Covid-19.

Street Lighting [🟢Green]

Objective is to retrofit 100% of remaining all and part-night lighting with LED lamps. Work has commenced. 10,000 lanterns replaced so far of 45,000.

Energy Upgrades in the Schools Estate [🟢Green]

Feedback has been provided to the Department for Education on why the Salix loans fund has experienced low take-up nationally.



County Council Travel Plans for Strategic Work Locations [🟢Green]

Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology installation has started. The cameras are installed and activated and are gathering management information. Little point asking people to register onto the new system until after the Covid lockdown.

Driver Aids for DCC and Contracted Fleet [🔴Red]

Having undertaken cost-effectiveness analysis for the Corporate Carbon Action Plan, driver aids have been removed from the plan as they are very expensive for the amount of carbon they save. Money better spent elsewhere.


Waste and Resources

Establish a New Reuse Policy [🟠Amber]

In progress. Delayed as a waste team focussing on data.

Establish a waste/recycling data management system [🟢Green]

Data records are taking shape.

The waste analysis, to look at the composition of the refuse from County Hall, was planned for March 2020, has had to be postponed until after the Covid lockdown.

The Devon Norse contract arrangements are being reviewed. The waste team has fed into this regarding desired waste key performance indicators.

Plastics Strategy [🟢Green]

Action Plan implementation largely complete.



New Procurement Strategy [🟢Green]

Revised procurement strategy has been drafted, partly addressing the Climate Emergency amongst other priorities for procurement. This incorporates the actions for procurement within the Carbon Reduction Plan.

Engagement with wider parts of DCC will occur in the coming months.


Environmental Risk

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]

Still awaiting data to from South West Water.


Countryside and Heritage

Support the delivery of the Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan [🟢Green]

‘Free Trees’ has planted over 1800 trees in Devon. Next year the scheme will be operated via the Saving Devon’s Treescape project.

Implement an Enhanced Monitoring System for all County, Waste and Mineral Development [🟠Amber]

Need to produce a prioritised list of sites to monitor so that the limited resource can be used most effectively. No progress this quarter.

Pilot the Valuation of Natural and Cultural Assets in Part of the County Farms Estate [🟢Green]

The Environmental Land Management Scheme is now underway. Contractors to provide advice to land managers have been appointed by Natural England and farms will be recruited in the coming months.

Review the Land Drainage Consent Process to Ensure Compliance with Statutory Environmental Requirements [🟠Amber]

Review is underway but no progress this quarter due to staff resource focussed on the climate emergency.

Enhance the Environmental Checklist used for Public Rights of Way Maintenance to Ensure a Proportionate Environmental Review Occurs [🟠Amber]

No progress this quarter due to staff resource in Environment Group.

Addressing Light Pollution [🟢Green]

Officers from DCC Highways, Engineering Design Group and Environment Group met on 29th April to discuss DCC street lighting policy and the environment. Further to this the officers are working together on a DCC Lighting and Environment Paper to supplement DCC’s Lighting Policy. The Paper will capture what DCC is already doing to minimise environmental impacts of light pollution and will document current internal procedures and guidance applied when designing schemes.

Opportunity will also be taken to include a short, plain English guide to lighting and the environment (explaining lumens, kelvins etc) and to highlight key Devon sensitivities relating to wildlife and dark skies. Discussions to date have also started to explore what more could be done, and have captured some ideas for improving DCC’s internal procedures and outcomes around environmental assessment and scheme design.


Embodied Carbon [🟢Green]

Highways, Skanska, WSP and the Engineering Design Group have partnered up to look at the opportunities available to reduce embodied carbon in civil engineering. Currently baselining the carbon intensity of their operation, initially focussing on the top 10 activities. SWEEG at the University of Exeter is assisting with this. This is new territory for everybody involved.

DCC has established a regional group set up to discuss the this learning with South West Water, the University of Exeter, Devon and Cornwall Police and some district councils.