Environmental Performance Highlight Report February 2021 – April 2021

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.

Period

February 2021 – April 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.

Energy

Buildings Energy Efficiency [Green 🟢]

Funding agreement signed for £2m Getting Building Fund project to deliver deep retrofit of Rifford Rd, Honiton Newholme, Rosalind House, Treetops and Orchard House. This will deliver energy reduction of about 70% and carbon reduction of 65 tonnes CO2e per year. Kick-off meeting to start design phase will begin in the next quarter.

£4.6m bid to Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to deliver deep retrofit of Great Moor House, Taw View, Abbey Rise, St Michaels and Lucombe successful. Tender for works will be issued in the next quarter.

Corporate Renewables [Green 🟢]

Business case has been prepared for new solar PV arrays on the roofs of DCC salt depots. This is being considered for funding allocation by the Environmental Performance Board at its meeting in May 2021.

300kW of solar PV expected from the solar car ports at County Hall and Taw View. Planning application for this will be submitted next quarter.

Proposal for purchasing renewable energy from community schemes via synthetic power purchase agreements will be presented to DTBS next quarter.

Street Lighting [Green 🟢]

Objective is to retrofit 100% of remaining all and part-night lighting with LED lamps. Work is ongoing across the county to schedule.

Energy Upgrades in the Schools Estate [Green 🟢]

Following preliminary assessments on 13 schools, 10 potential schools for the 2021/22 capital maintenance programme have progressed to detailed analysis of the opportunity for capital investment to benefit carbon reduction targets. NPS will be undertaking these assessments.

Three of the worst performing schools in terms of energy expenditure have been included in the corporate Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme bid that has been successful. The schools are Winkleigh, Lifton and Littleham.

Transport

County Council Travel Plans for Strategic Work Locations [Amber 🟠]

Majority of staff are continuing to work remotely due to social distancing requirements 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.

Electric Vehicle Charging [Green 🟢]

Rapid Charging, Exeter
Eight sites have been approved by DCC in phase 1 of the StreetHUBZ/ Rapid Charging Exeter project and further sites will be going to committee in July for further approval.

Deletti
Deletti phase 1 contract awarded to Scottish Power and will see chargepoints installed at 68 sites across Devon.

As part of Deletti phase 1, later this month there will be a kick off meeting between DCC and Scottish Power for the installation of staff chargepoints at County Hall, Great Moor House, Taw View, and public chargepoints at Science Park, Sowton P&R, Honiton Rd P&R, Pinhoe train station, and North Devon Enterprise Centre. Installations are expected to complete by no later than December 2021.

Bid has been submitted to the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for phase 2 of the Deletti project with the installation of chargepoints at a further 48 public car parks across Devon including parish council sites. Will receive notification of whether this has been successful next quarter.

DCC Fleet
Works at Avocet Rd for DCC Highways electric vans to install free chargepoints secured through the E-Flex Innovate UK funded project due to complete by May 2021.

The Environmental Performance Board will be considering a request for capital funding to install 13 further chargeposts at Ivybridge, Great Moor House, Avocet Rd and Taw View for highways vans by September 2021.

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

New Procurement Strategy [Green 🟢]

Revised procurement strategy has been completed. This incorporates the actions for procurement that are within the Carbon Reduction Plan. Engagement with wider parts of DCC has started. The Sustainable Procurement Tool is being refined as part of this process.

Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy [Green 🟢]

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. Recruitment of a Low-Carbon Procurement Intern who will lead this work is underway, with the interviews complete on the 14th April 2021 and a preferred candidate has been offered the post.

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

Water Resource Management Surveys [Amber 🟠]

No further progress this quarter. South West Water has been commissioned to deliver Water Resource Management Surveys at the top 5 water consuming properties. These will be completed when COVID restrictions are lifted.

Countryside and Heritage

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

There has been excellent progress in the Development Phase of the project, with a wide range of tree planting approaches implemented over the winter season, including the distribution of free trees for public planting, over 1,000 trees planted across 12 school sites, planting of landmark trees by a range of Parish Councils and larger-scale planting of small woods and new hedgerows via private landowners. Photographic and filming work documenting ash dieback and its management is well advanced and a large number of training and citizen science events have been staged, despite lockdown constraints. As well as its overall financial contribution to the project, DCC directly arranged the distribution of free tree packs to 41 landowners spread across the County, resulting in 1,850 trees being planted during March.

The project is progressing well with draft guidance produced and ‘tested’ through events with key stakeholders. This is based on ‘visualisations’, which will illustrate how new planting might, most appropriately, be fitted into different landscape types and the factors that need to be considered when doing this. Some further refinement to the detail is planned.

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.

Extend the use of the Environmental Review tool [Green 🟢]

Discussions continue with the Built Environment team and Public Rights of Way team.

Addressing Light Pollution [Amber 🟠]

No further progress this quarter. 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. The paper has been drafted.

Embodied Carbon

Civils Activity [Green 🟢]

Highways, Development and Infrastructure – Carbon reduction strategy
Highways, Development and Infrastructure continue to make progress on benchmarking the carbon intensity of civils activity – 15 activities are complete and 13 are in progress. A booklet of CO2 emissions per activity/m2 area has been developed by Exeter University.

A bespoke carbon impact assessment tool is under development with the help of Exeter University which is going to incorporate the marginal abatement cost of each potential technological solution. Testing with end users is planned for May.

Discussions are underway with ICT about how to record, display and share data from highways works. A subgroup has been established to develop a standard approach for capturing CO2 data.

A further subgroup is exploring the targets that should be set that are achievable and reflect the opportunities available for carbon reduction.

Trials of carbon-reduction opportunities are expected for late summer and autumn. Criteria are being developed to monitor these trials.

Highways, Development and Infrastructure – New materials
The service is continuing the evaluation for new materials that could help the authority on its journey to net zero. This has included using warm asphalt on resurfacing schemes, cold mix recycling of asphalt arisings including tar and increasing the level of recycled material in asphalt.

Future trials programmed for the coming year including:

1. Shallow insitu recycling
2. The addition of lime to asphalt to increase durability
3. A mastic asphalt trial incorporating recycled tyres.

Civils Contactors
A market engagement survey of contractors has identified the levels of capability within the market place to report carbon emissions on DCC works and collected ideas about how DCC and the contractors can work together to make progress towards net-zero.

Carbon Offsetting

Purchasing Woodland Carbon Units [Green 🟢]

A procurement process to purchase Woodland Carbon Code accredited offsets to meet the commitment made in the new Carbon Reduction Plan to offset 5% of 2019/20 and 7.5% 2020/21 carbon emissions has concluded. There were not sufficient Woodland Carbon Units (carbon already stored in trees) available in the market and so the same number of Pending Issuance Units have been purchased that will have absorbed carbon dioxide by 2030.