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 and gives a short update on the individual projects we are running to improve environmental performance.
January 2023 – April 2023
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 significantly.
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.
Corporate Building Retrofit [Green 🟢 ]
Target: Retrofit 3 buildings by March 2023 to save 93 tCO2e per year. Achieved 9 buildings and 346 tCO2e due to unexpected funding opportunities from government.
Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 1 – 300 tCO2e per year reduction complete.
Currently working on the snagging list. Training sessions with building users completed mid-February 2023.
Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 2 – Works largely complete at all sites. 46 tCO2e per year reduction.
Measures have included solid wall insulation, heat recovery ventilation systems, high-performance windows and doors, heat pumps and solar panels. A solution for ongoing training for building users needs to be designed and implemented.
From April 2023:
An application is being prepared to Government’s Low Carbon Skills Fund to provide £100k funding to prepare a Retrofit Strategy for DCC’s corporate buildings. This is a prerequisite to apply for the next round of Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund money in the autumn.
Renewables [Red 🔴]
Target 1: 400kWp new capacity installed by March 2023 on DCC assets. Current achievement is 225kWp.
Solar PV on salt barns – The remainder of the programme (totalling 106kWp) has been endorsed by the Environmental Performance Board in March 2023 at a value of £280k. This is now progressing through corporate approvals.
From April 2023:
£32k earmarked from the revenue budget for the Carbon Reduction Plan can help identify further opportunities on buildings and land assets in cooperation with the property team (to include county farms). Some of this funding could be spent on corporate retrofit opportunities identification if the LCSF bid is unsuccessful.
Target 2: Use Virtual Power Purchase Agreements to buy power from 23MWp of new solar capacity in Devon by 2030. Current achievement is 0MWp.
The business case for purchasing renewable energy from community schemes via Virtual Power Purchase Agreement is being updated. Work has started on the options evaluation using feedback provided in January 2023 from the Power Allotments project funded by DCC’s Community Energy Fund.
County Farmhouses Retrofit [Green 🟢]
35 of 66 dwellings completed. A further seven nearing completion. This leaves 24 remaining to complete the estates total of 66 let dwellings.
From April 2023:
Up to five are expected to be completed in 2023/24.
Street Lighting [Green 🟢]
Target: Retrofit 100% of lighting with LED lamps by March 2024.
63,208 of the 79,000 lamps (80%) have been replaced. A programme of installing dimmable lenses has commenced in addition to the LED replacement to save more energy.
Schools Estate [Amber 🟠] (not reported in carbon footprint)
Enhancements delivered as part of the 2022/23 maintenance programme need to be compiled along with the anticipated improvements in 2023/24.
Travel Plans for Strategic Work Locations [Green 🟢]
Majority of staff are continuing to work flexibly.
From April 2023:
An estimate of commuting emissions is being prepared for integration into the corporate carbon footprint and backdated to the baseline year of 2012.
The Automatic Number Plate Recognition system at County Hall was activated in November 2022 and the barrier has recommenced operation. Following a pilot phase, a decision will be taken about whether to reintroduce the mandatory car-free days.
The pilot will be extended for a further 3 months to consider the impact on the capacity of car park now that we have the RDUH on site and it being the beginning of a new leave year.
Will charging be considered for reintroduction? This funded travel plan measures – without it, where will budget come from to continue to increase active travel infrastructure?
Electric Vehicles and Charging [Amber 🟠]
Visitors and Staff
The Deletti project is providing 4 charging bays available for staff (and public) use at County Hall and Great Moor House. Two bays at Great Moor House are active. Two bays at County Hall have been delayed due to supply chain issues but are expected to be live in the summer.
Target: 25 electric vehicles in the fleet by March 2023. Currently achieved 18.
Installation of the first phase of 8 chargepoints (providing 16 charging bays) for new fleet vehicles at Ivybridge, Great Moor House, Avocet Rd and County Hall are complete.
Taw View had intended to be part of this first phase but the cost to upgrade the local supply point is prohibitive and so the installation has not gone ahead. County Hall was substituted for Taw View.
From April 2023:
The Phase 2 chargeposts were to be procured earlier in 2022/23 along with the vehicles that will use them but the procurement of both the charge posts and the vehicles were on hold due to the financial sustainability programme. The funding will be carried forward into 2023/24 at outturn in June. We now have permission to proceed and the tender is due to be launched imminently, The vehicles to use these Phase 2 charge posts will be tendered in April 2023 and expected to arrive by October 2023.
The Phase 3 chargeposts will install 15 charging sockets during 2023/24 in readiness for 15 vehicles that are planned to arrive in 2024/25. The Environmental Performance Board and the Capital Programme Group has endorsed the spend (£118k). The intention is to incorporate the Phase 3 charge posts into the Phase 2 tender to be launched by 31st March 2023 to maximise value from DCC’s resources and potentially obtain economies of scale from the supply chain.
Sowton Fleet Depot: Feasibility work has started on developing a depot at Sowton Park and Ride for the charging of minibuses as they are converted to electric. We’re agreeing terms with Exeter City Council for the change of use. £10k from the Carbon Reduction Plan has been earmarked to assist with this further in 2023/24.
Waste and Resources
Establish a new Reuse Policy [Green 🟢]
Policy has been revised following feedback from the Environmental Performance Management Group in October 2022 and the Environmental Performance Board in March 2023. It will be circulated for approval by the Board in April 2023 and subsequent Cabinet member approval.
Establish a waste/recycling data management system [Green 🟢]
The waste analysis, to look at the composition of the refuse from County Hall, has budget assigned from the Carbon Reduction Plan revenue funding for this financial year (£2k).
Procurement and Commissioning
Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy [Green 🟢]
The Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy was due for consideration by Cabinet in April however this is being delayed to June.
A post-request to introduce a full-time post to deliver the Strategy, funded by the revenue budget attached to the Corporate Carbon Plan, is being prepared.
Highways, Development and Infrastructure Activity [Green 🟢]
Managing service-wide carbon data
Since 1st July 23, 254 full carbon reports on highway construction schemes have been provided digitally through Devon’s webform. Initial auditing shows a good confidence in data accuracy.
A method of reporting the scope 3 emissions for depots has been developed.
Visualising and Sharing the Data
The final testing phase of the PowerBi dashboard system is underway.
Devon are utilising a sustainable HVO fuel source in the north devon area in DCC vehicles (from Milestone, Devon’s term Maintenance Contractor). All HVO is derived from food waste.
Work to develop a service decarbonisation strategy has commenced. A board to steer and guide this document is also due to be set up by the service.
Several sites in the North and West areas have been identified for shallow in-situ recycling.
The Live Labs business case to determine how to create a carbon negative road with the A382 works has been submitted to ADEPT.
A seven-authority led trial of the Devon method of carbon calculation and reporting is now complete, with positive feedback. Working with the Future Highways Research Group, Devon are now authoring a standards document entitled the ‘Carbon Calculation and Accountancy Standards’ (CCAS). This document will be published to the industry as a standard guidance method for highway specific carbon calculation. (Published through ADEPT).
Audit of Climate Change Adaptation Activity [Green 🟢]
Devon Audit Partnership is currently preparing an audit of the authority’s preparation for climate change. This is due to conclude in April.
Produce a Template for Service-Level Climate Adaptation Risk Assessments [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter. Template is available to all service areas. Requires promotion and offer of support to encourage further uptake.
Enhance Procedures for Reporting and Learning from Environmental Incidents and Near Misses [Amber 🟠]
No further progress this quarter.
Water Resource Management Surveys [Amber 🟠]
Water Resource Management Surveys completed. The development of a strategy proposal is delayed due to a focus on delivering energy projects.
Countryside, Coast and Heritage
The Countryside, Coast and Heritage Action Plan has been revised and approved by the Environmental Performance Board. It will be considered by Cabinet later in 2023/24.
Support the delivery of the Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan [Green 🟢]
There is continued good progress in the delivery of the DCC Emergency Tree Fund project, as well the ‘Saving Devon’s Treescapes’ project. DCC has also been successful in securing c.£ 300k through the government’s Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund which will enable the appointment of three new posts over the coming two years to support tree and woodland establishment across Devon.
Review of Options [Green 🟢]
• The pilot a carbon footprint assessment of one County Farm to determine carbon sequestration opportunities is underway. Further £10k funding from the Carbon Reduction Plan revenue budget available to audit more farms.
• Review of the Carbon Reduction Plan is underway to understand whether the absolute carbon reduction target (currently 70%) can be increased to minimise the carbon offsetting requirement.
• The tender to procure Pending Issuance Units from the Woodland Carbon Code for 2022/23 has completed successfully.
• £151k is earmarked for an offsetting solution for the 2023/24 emissions.
Brook Wood [Green 🟢]
An application to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant has been successful to provide resource to prepare an application to the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). Planting has been moved forwards to the planting season of 2023/2024 largely due to delays in the EWCO application and the shortage of tree stock in the UK.
The Environmental Performance Board endorsed the capital request in March 2023 for the planting scheme (£125k from EWCO and £43k from DCC Carbon Reduction Plan), which now needs to progress through the Capital Programme Group for corporate approval.