Environmental Performance Highlight Report October 2022 – January 2023

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.


October 2022 – January 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 – Works complete at Abbey Rise, Lucombe House, St Michaels, Great Moor House and Taw View. 300 tCO2e per year reduction.
Currently working on the snagging list. Training sessions with building users completed by mid-February 2023.

Zero Carbon Buildings Phase 2 – Works will be complete at all sites (Rifford Rd, Newholme, Rosalind House, and Orchard House) by the end of February 2023. 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.

County Farmhouses Retrofit [Green 🟢]

35 of 66 dwellings completed. A further seven nearing completion. Two deferred to next financial year.

This leaves 24 remaining to complete the estates total of 66 let dwellings.
We currently hold 69 dwellings, but two are pending disposal and a further one is marked for disposal, hence only 66 to complete in total.

Renewables [Red 🔴]

Target 1: 400kWp new capacity installed by March 2023 on DCC assets. Current achievement is 225kWp.

Solar PV on salt barns – 25kWp completed at the Ivybridge depot in October 2022. The remainder of the programme (totalling 106kWp) will be subject to future funding decisions in 2023/24, but is looking positive.

Through the Zero Carbon Buildings projects, solar panels (200 kWp) have been installed at St Michaels, Great Moor House, Abbey Rise, Taw View, Rifford Rd, Newholme and Rosalind House. Completed December 2022.

The installation of 600kWp of solar carports at County Hall, Taw View and Sowton Park will not be proceeding due to increased costs arising from supply chain conditions and restrictions from the funder. Negotiations are underway with the funding body to determine whether the money can be spent on rooftop solar elsewhere in the estate.

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.

Street Lighting [Green 🟢]

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

59,000 of the 79,000 lamps 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)

Bishops Nympton Primary School – additional external wall insulation now complete.

Other enhancements delivered as part of the 2022/23 maintenance programme need to be compiled. Village-wide electricity distribution network capacity has been a problem in rural locations for heat pump solutions.


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

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.

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.

An additional co-bikes dock and a secure bike shed are being considered for Great Moor House.

Electric Vehicles and Charging [Amber 🟠]

Visitors and Staff

The Deletti project was to provide 6 charging bays available for staff (and public) use at County Hall, Great Moor House and Taw View. Two bays at Great Moor House are active. Two bays at County Hall should be available by the end of February. Two bays at Taw View have been cancelled due to legal issues.


Target: 25 electric vehicles in the fleet by March 2023. Currently achieved 18.

Installation of 8 chargepoints (providing 16 charging bays) for new fleet vehicles at Ivybridge, Great Moor House, Avocet Rd and Taw View depots have started. Chargepoints have been delivered and should be operational by the end of February.

A second phase of 7 chargepoints (providing 14 charging bays) for fleet vehicles at Great Moor House, County Hall, Rydon Lane, Avocet, Taw View and Chelston will be completed in early 2023/24 to accompany a further delivery of 10 electric vehicles.

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 but further activity is dependent on the outcome of the financial sustainability programme.

Waste and Resources

Establish a new Reuse Policy [Green 🟢 ]

Policy has been drafted and revised following feedback from the Environmental Performance Management Group in October 2022. An issue with finding temporary space for storing furniture for reuse has been overcome. Now at final draft stage for consideration by the Environmental Performance Board in February.

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 [Amber 🟠]

The Net-Zero Supply Chain Strategy is due for consideration by Cabinet in April following a delay whilst the financial sustainability programme is proceeding.

Highways, Development and Infrastructure Activity [Green 🟢]

Managing service-wide carbon data
A webform was launched on 1st July 2022. Carbon reporting tool – Roads and transport (devon.gov.uk) to capture data from contractors. 215 returns have been received from contractors since, providing actual carbon data into the data lake.

Work to collate the scope 3 emissions for our depots have commenced.

Visualising and Sharing the Data
Power BI dashboards is complete. Testing of the system is underway with support from corporate ICT. Seven other authorities are helping with the user testing via ADEPT. We are hoping for the mobilisation of the system to be April.

Funding bid submitted to Live Labs. Aim to create of carbon negative road with A382 works, considering lots of innovations.

Environmental Risk

Audit of Climate Change Adaptation Activity [Green 🟢]

Devon Audit Partnership is currently preparing an audit of the authority’s preparation for climate change. This will conclude in the next quarter.

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 next financial year, possibly in May.

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.

Carbon Offsetting

Review of Options [Amber 🟠]

  • Application for funding submitted by Plymouth Energy Community to explore using the retrofit of domestic properties as a carbon offset was not successful.
  • The pilot a carbon footprint assessment of one County Farm to determine carbon sequestration opportunities is underway.
  • Review of the Carbon Reduction Plan has commenced to understand whether the absolute carbon reduction target (currently 70%) can be increased to minimise the carbon offsetting requirement.
  • The tender documents to procure Pending Issuance Units from the Woodland Carbon Code are being prepared.

Brook Wood [Amber 🟠]

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.