NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Devon Carbon Plan consultation finds majority want net zero by 2030

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group questions whether 2030 "realistic" and suggests "palatable" compromise while only 13% of consultees support UK government's 2050 target.

DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   CLIMATE CRISIS  

An initial summary of public consultation responses to the first draft of the Devon Carbon Plan has found a clear majority in favour of a 2030 target date for Devon decarbonisation.

The consultation on the Devon Carbon Plan draft, which ran from 7 December 2020 to 15 February 2021, received 1,321 responses from individuals and a variety of organisations across the county.

51% of respondents said 2030 should be the date by when the county should achieve “net zero” carbon emissions, with some commenting that the urgency of the situation required rising to the challenges involved in achieving this aim.

Just 13% of the survey’s respondents support the UK government’s 2050 target date. Devon County Council’s current policy is that the county should decarbonise by 2050 “at the latest”.

A report on the consultation response findings to the county council’s Climate Change Standing Overview Group said 2030 was a “popular” target year, but asked whether it was “realistic”. It nevertheless said as “early-as-possible should be incentivised” and highlighted “a risk of being too focused on a number” saying a “rapid initial carbon reduction” is more important.

At subsequent meetings an unspecified “compromise position” on a decarbonisation date that “could be palatable to all of the organisations in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership” was suggested.

Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences.
Data: Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.

The consultation’s 1,321 responses represent just over 0.11% of Devon’s population, although this was more than the 893 responses to the public call for evidence for the plan which took place in Autumn 2019.

Only around 45% were responses to the full-length 45 minute consultation questionnaire: the rest were responses to a brief ten minute survey. Some respondents said they were concerned by the length of the questionnaire, others commented they were pleased with its comprehensive scope.

Responses came from residents in all local authority areas in Devon, with only Plymouth under-represented, and organisations including political parties, environmental campaign groups, businesses, educational institutions and county, district, town and parish councils.

Nine webinars were held during the consultation period at which attendance varied between 50 and more than 100.

51% of individual respondents were female, 44% male and the remainder “other” or “preferred not to say”, reflecting Devon’s gender demographics. 32% were from individuals over 65 years of age while younger people were under-represented despite a targeted social media campaign aimed at reaching these age groups.

Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation respondent age group proportions.
Data: Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.

The consultation also invited respondents to determine which of six questions laid out in the first draft of the Devon Carbon Plan should be prioritised for discussion at a citizens’ assembly of 70 Devon residents due to be held in July.

The questions are:

  • How should Devon’s landscapes evolve in ways that positively support achieving net-zero and that are beneficial to their special qualities?
  • The Committee on Climate Change scenarios for achieving net-zero require a 20% reduction in beef, lamb and dairy consumption nationally. What does this mean for Devon?
  • What is the role of reducing road capacity in reducing traffic, and is it appropriate for Devon?
  • To what extent should financial incentives and legislation be used to accelerate the retrofitting of buildings with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies?
  • What is the role of onshore wind energy in the Devon Renewable Energy Strategy? How can tensions between the support for onshore wind energy in theory and practice be reduced?
  • To what extent would the use of financial mechanisms be acceptable to Devon’s citizens to help discourage activities that generate emissions and to fund emissions reduction?

Despite intending to determine which three of these issues should be prioritised if the citizens’ assembly does not have time to deliberate them all, the consultation found near-equal interest in all six, with a slight emphasis in favour of discussion around food and farming.

The assembly will consist of a total of 24 hours of deliberation spread across several days. The 70 participants are expected to be demographically and attitudinally representative of the population of Devon.

The citizens’ assembly will not be invited to discuss the date for achieving decarbonisation in Devon, despite some consultation respondents saying they thought it should.

Nor will it be invited to consider the Devon Carbon Plan’s dependence on carbon offsetting despite its increasing significance in climate policy-making.

The citizens’ assembly “recommendations” are intended to be “considered” and used to “inform” a revised draft of the Devon Carbon Plan, which will also incorporate changes resulting from consultation responses and further input from partner organisations. It is not clear whether detailed findings from the public consultation will be published as part of this process.

The plan’s authors do not, however, intend to update its emissions reduction trajectory in response to the UK government’s recently announced revised target of reducing 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 78% by 2035, despite this target exceeding the Devon Carbon Plan aim of reducing 2010 emissions by 50% by 2035.

Similarly, the announcement that the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions would be included in national emissions reduction measures for the first time will not lead to significant changes in the Devon plan because aviation is “thought to be be less than 1% of Devon’s emissions”.

Original Devon Carbon Plan development timetable

Original Devon Carbon Plan development timetable.
Source: Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.

A second public consultation, on the revised draft of the Devon Carbon Plan, was expected before a final version was agreed. However it now appears that this second public consultation has been scrapped, in which case the revised draft will go straight to partner organisations for approval.

This is one of several compromises that have been made to compensate for slippage in the plan development timetable, which originally intended the citizens’ assembly to begin in January last year with the final plan to be produced in September and approved during October and November.

Before the decision to scrap the second public consultation the plan delivery timetable was two years and two months behind schedule. Even with this change the Devon Carbon Plan is not expected to take effect until April 2022, three years after Devon County Council convened the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.


 is editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited.

Recent stories
Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

Property development promotion as community planning participation

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

St. James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes


Help power our public interest journalism

More News
Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

PLANNING & PLACE

St. James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Council failed to provide sufficient evidence to support 2012 planning policy introduced to limit impact of student occupation of residential housing stock.

Monkerton masterplan map

PLANNING & PLACE

Progressive Group planning enforcement proposal adopted despite public Labour rejection

Newly-published register also reveals council has issued as many planning enforcement notices in the past three months as it has in the past three years.

Exeter Statement of Community Involvement cover

PLANNING & PLACE

Council rejects calls for greater community involvement in Exeter planning policy and decisions

Council defends existing approach despite Statement of Community Involvement consultation producing just 17 responses, and won't do more to promote neighbourhood planning despite prospect of enhanced community powers.

All News
Analysis
Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes

Government underfunding and bus sector challenges limit scope for improvement but county council failure to upgrade routes and policy ambitions plus high housing costs make Exeter difficulties acute, undermining net zero aspirations.

Exeter City Futures website - vision & mission summary

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

University emissions study confirms Net Zero Exeter plan redundancy

Council retains Exeter City Futures' services despite history of delivery failures and lack of capacity to support defined decarbonisation targets.

Greenhouse gas protocol for cities - sources and boundaries of city greenhouse gas emissions (scale)

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter greenhouse gas report disregards hundreds of thousands of tonnes of annual city emissions

Restricted scope of study misrepresents scale of city's impact to produce partial decarbonisation targets while ignoring opportunities to reduce emissions imported by residents, businesses and visitors, guaranteeing net zero failure.

All Analysis
Comment
Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero

Exeter City Futures' private debt-driven Liveable Exeter property development financing scheme is under fire from councillors who say it is based on insufficiently-evidenced assumptions and won't meet Exeter's housing needs.

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.

Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

PLANNING & PLACE

Property development promotion as community planning participation

If the Liveable Exeter property development scheme and its Exeter Development Fund financing vehicle are already intended to "anchor and underpin" the new Exeter Local Plan, what will public consultation on the plan decide?

All Comment
The Exeter Digest

Exeter Digest #15: Bus back better? - Net zero redundancy - Development fund under fire

Our bumper holiday newsletter also covers a St. James' HMO appeal, planning enforcement changes, scope 3 emissions failure, cycling and walking strategy delays and property development promotion as community planning participation.

Exeter Digest #14: Exeter beset - Alphington impacts - Magdalen Road - Community involvement?

Our essential newsletter also covers continuing Exeter Development Fund scrutiny, missing meetings minutes from Exeter City Futures and Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, Liveable Exeter confusion and local design code reforms.

Exeter Digest #13: Flowerpot Playing Fields under threat - Scrutiny circumvention continues - Kidical Mass rides into town

Our thirteenth newsletter also covers city council spending on Instagram influencers, museum-fronted property development promotion, reports on local democracy and the role of councils in climate action and a government inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism.

All Exeter Digest
On the agenda
New Exeter Local Plan

New Exeter Local Plan draft consultation

A consultation on the draft version of the new Exeter Local Plan, which will guide development in the city until 2040, is taking place this autumn.

All topics

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK   ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON   BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   COP26 COP26 COP26   COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19   CITYPOINT CITYPOINT CITYPOINT   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS   CO-LIVING CO-LIVING CO-LIVING   CONGESTION CONGESTION CONGESTION   COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX   CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE   CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING   DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT   DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER   DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION   EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER   EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN   EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX   EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE   EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK   EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S   EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY   EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   EXWICK EXWICK EXWICK   FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER   GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS   GUILDHALL GUILDHALL GUILDHALL   HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS   HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP   HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON   HEAVITREE HEAVITREE HEAVITREE   HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION   HOUSING HOUSING HOUSING   LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+   LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD   LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER   LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY   LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS   MAKETANK MAKETANK MAKETANK   MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON   MET OFFICE MET OFFICE MET OFFICE   MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S   NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS   OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE   PARIS STREET PARIS STREET PARIS STREET   PARKING PARKING PARKING   PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT   PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA   PINHOE PINHOE PINHOE   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PRIORY PRIORY PRIORY   PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT   PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION   PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT   PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK   ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST   SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET   SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION   SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER   SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY   SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT   ST. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS ST. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS ST. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS   ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S   ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S   ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE   ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT   ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   TOPSHAM TOPSHAM TOPSHAM   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER  

More stories