Environmental Performance Highlight Report October 2020 – January 2021

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.


October 2020 – January 2021

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 implements 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 [Green 🟢]

£2m Zero Carbon Buildings (previously known as ZebCat2) bid to Getting Building Fund approved to deliver deep retrofit of 5 DCC buildings (Rifford Rd, Honiton Newholme, Rosalind House, Treetops, Orchard House) that will deliver energy reduction of c. 70% and carbon reduction of 65 tonnes CO2e per year. Grant Funding Agreement yet to be signed.

Submitted £4m bid to Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to deliver deep retrofit of Great Moor House, Taw View, Abbey Rise, St Michaels and Lucombe.

Secured £200k from the Low Carbon Skills Fund to pay for pre-design work for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. This pre-design work will be completed in the next quarter.

Phase 2 of the County Hall windows energy efficiency improvement works is ongoing.

Corporate Renewables [Green 🟢]

Business case is being developed for new solar PV arrays on the roofs of DCC salt depots. Bids to the Corporate Capital Group to make use of some of the £2m climate change allocation are delayed but expected in the next quarter.

Held webinars through the AgroRes project to raise the profile of the opportunity for onshore wind and solar PV with battery storage in the agricultural sector.

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. Awaiting outcome in early February. The schools are Winkleigh, Lifton and Littleham.


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

StreetHUBZ (Rapid Charging Exeter) project installing up to 100 on-street charging in Exeter has started the Traffic Regulation Order process for phase 1 and DCC has sent out a press release.

Contractor for phase 1 of the Deletti project will be awarded by the end of January 2021. This will install chargepoints at a minimum of 25 public car parks across Devon including DCC sites (County Hall, Great Moor House, Taw View, Science Park, Sowton P&R, Honiton Road P&R). Completed meeting with Historic England to review installation of solar carports at County Hall and Taw View and support was found for both installations although for County Hall some additional landscaping work would be needed. This will hopefully be agreed in the next quarter.

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. Clarification questions from the fund administrator are now being addressed.

DCC Fleet

Preferred locations for charging points for DCC fleet vehicles have been identified. Contractor has been procured to deliver installation of chargepoints at Avocet Road for DCC Highways electric vans and works planned to start in March 2021 using free chargepoints secured through the E-Flex Innovate UK funded project.

Waste and Resources

Establish a New Reuse Policy [Amber 🟠]

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 🟠]

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

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.


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.

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 🟠]

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 🟢]

Saving Devon’s Treescape project has allocated 15,000 trees to landowners. Held a number of free-tree events to hand out the trees. Community tree nursery operating in Meath Quarry.

The Right Tree, Right Place project is developing guidance for landowners.

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 [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 🟠]

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

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

Discussions with the Built Environment team has happened and an invitation to the Public Rights of Way team to learn more about the tool has been submitted.

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. The paper has been drafted and further progress will be made next quarter.

Enhanced Environmental Action

Additional activities supporting Countryside and Heritage are reported here.

Embodied Carbon

Civils Activity [Green 🟢]

Highways, Development and Infrastructure have identified the top ten most carbon-intensive works by using a red, amber, green system. Work has been ongoing to develop a benchmark for carbon output on these ten activities.  Seven are complete. The next ten priority activities for benchmarking have been identified.

A booklet of CO2 emissions per activity/m2 area has been developed by Exeter University.

Letter of project and corporate intent has been circulated to the procurement team and existing contractors. This was to set the scene for the journey we are on and promote inclusion. Work to make links with key contractors have been improved. This is an essential requirement as the contractor’s data is required for the benchmark development.

An interrogation of the market for carbon impact assessment tools has been completed. This has identified that there may not be a tool 100% ‘fit for purpose’ for Highway construction works in Devon. Bespoke tool is likely to be developed with the help of Exeter University.

Carbon Offsetting

Purchasing Woodland Carbon Units [Green 🟢]

Procurement process has started to buy Woodland Carbon Code accredited carbon units to meet the commitment made in the new Carbon Reduction Plan to offset 5% of 2019/20 and 7.5% 2020/21 carbon emissions to kickstart a market in Devon. This process will be complete next quarter.