Environmental Performance Highlight Report January – April 2022

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 2022 – April 2022

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 2 buildings by March 2023. Current projection is 9 due to unexpected funding opportunities from government.

Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 1 – Works started at Taw View, Abbey Rise, St Michaels, mobilisation at Great Moor House and works close to completion at Lucombe. Installing external wall insulation at Taw View will cause considerable disruption. Solutions are being explored but it’s likely this aspect of the work will be removed from the programme.

Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 2 – Due to tender prices being over budget, further monies needed to be allocated to the project. The EPB has approved an increase in costs and decrease in scope to focus on the four lowest ‘cost per tonne of carbon saved’ properties (Rifford Rd, Newholme, Rosalind House, Orchard House (as a replacement for Treetops)) requiring an additional £293k of CRP funding. Works will mobilise in April.

Review of how to replace gas and oil boilers beyond 2025 has been prepared by NPS.

County Farmhouses Retrofit [Green 🟢]

County Farm dwellings continue to be improved, generally achieving an Energy Performance Certificate level C, and carbon reductions of about 70%.

35 of 68 dwellings have been improved. A further 8 are currently undergoing improvement works leaving a further 25 dwellings in the programme.

A total of 17 roof mounted solar arrays totalling 63 kWp have been installed.

The first air source heat pump on the estate has been installed at Lower Pilehayes Farm as a trial to test performance and efficiency in a retrofit rural environment.

Corporate Renewables [Amber 🟠]

Target: 400kW installed by March 2023. Current projection is 631kW.

Solar PV on salt barns – Tenders received for Tiverton and South Molton depots.  Costs are over budget, but DCC Highways are looking to cover the trenching costs which would bring costs in-line with the estimate and a way forward will be decided by end of April.

Solar car ports at County Hall and Taw View – Specification is nearly finalised and hoping to go out to tender in April 2022.

The business case for purchasing renewable energy from community schemes via synthetic power purchase agreements needs updating following feedback from finance. This will be started in May. There are some concerns to be worked through.

Street Lighting [Green 🟢]

Target: Retrofit 100% of lighting with LED lamps by March 2023.

Work is ongoing to schedule. 61,000 (up from 56,000 last quarter) of the 79,000 lamps have been replaced.

Schools Estate [Amber 🟠] (not reported in carbon footprint)

Okehampton Special School new-build – recalculating carbon offset requirements, based on an updated construction specification.

West-Exe Nursery School – new PV array is being installed but has been delayed. Will complete next month.

Bishops Nympton Primary School – additional external insulation had been expected to be installed from January 2022 but the contractor pulled out. This has been reprogrammed for summer.

2022/23 Maintenance programme has been approved by Cabinet. We will look at options for small-scale, practical enhancements to improve energy performance with this funding.


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.

Electric Vehicles and Charging [Amber 🟠]

Rapid Charging Devon
The 84 charging bays to be installed by March 2022 are now expected start being commissioned from June and extend to the end of 2022.

Again, installations were expected to start last quarter but leases are still waiting to be signed for the phase 1 contract awarded to Scottish Power for the installation of charge points at 40 sites. Installations expect to start next quarter.

The tender for Phase 2 for a further 40 sites was launched and closed last quarter. Installations expected to be completed by the end of the year.

DCC Fleet

Target: 25 electric vehicles in the fleet by March 2023. Total electric vehicles in the fleet is currently 6.

Procurement of a further 12 replacement vehicles is underway. Delivery is expected by July but delays are occurring due to supply chain issues.

The tender for 9 chargeposts (providing 18 charging bays) for fleet vehicles to be installed at Ivybridge, Great Moor House, Avocet Rd and Taw View depots has been launched and closed. Installations expect to be completed by end of July.

A second phase of 7 chargeposts (providing 14 charging bays) for fleet vehicles at Great Moor House, County Hall, Rydon Lane, Avocet, Taw View and Chelston is being developed for delivery in 2022/23.

Preparatory works have started on the development of a charging hub for the minibus fleet at Sowton Park and Ride.

Waste and Resources

Establish a new Reuse Policy [Amber 🟠]

No further progress this quarter – need to understand how buildings will be used in the future.

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 🟢]

A draft Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy has been drafted and feedback from the steering group has been incorporated.

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 🟢]

Good suite of carbon-intensity benchmarks is now established. Continuing to refine benchmarks through the use of live site data.

Carbon Impact Assessment Tool for scheme design
The Tool has been shared across EDG for comment and has been trialled on the Jetty Marsh link road and A382 schemes.

Managing service-wide carbon data
A web form is nearing completion that will be used to collect activity data from contractors working on each project, to enable DCC to calculate the real carbon emissions associated with each project. This will be used to create data dashboards to track carbon emissions over time from each part of the service.

Attempting to calculate the carbon storage of highways trees through remote sensing data.

New Materials
Tyre bales are being trialled in embankment structures instead of traditional material. Masonry arch bridges, rather than steel or concrete, are being explored.

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 🟠]

Water Resource Management Surveys completed. The development of a strategy proposal is delayed due to a focus on delivering energy projects.

Countryside and Heritage

Note: The Countryside and Heritage Action Plan will be revised this year. Dormant actions that are not time-critical have been removed from this report.

Support the delivery of the Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan [Amber 🟠]

Despite good progress in replanting projects led by others (but part-funded by DCC) or, in the case of our own ‘Emergency Tree Fund’, in supporting projects on land owned by other local authorities and parish/town councils, we are struggling to find opportunities for planting on DCC land.  Further effort is required, particularly in relation to DCC Farms Estate holdings, highways land and waste management sites.

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 has been drafted and feedback is being collected to inform the final version.

Carbon Offsetting

Purchasing Woodland Carbon Units [Green 🟢]

Carbon offsets to cover the organisation’s commitment to offset 10% of 2021/22 emissions has been completed. We have agreed to facilitate new habitat enhancement projects in the North Devon Biosphere via the Biosphere’s Natural Capital Marketplace.

Land Purchase [Amber 🟠]

Land values are increasing more quickly than expected which means the future strategy for offsetting may need to change. An opportunity to buy land near Dunsford fell through due to restrictions on what could have been done with the land once in our ownership.

Additional Resource [Green 🟢]

The post of Climate and Ecological Emergency Officer has been filled and the new officer starts on 25th April 2022.