THE EXETER DIGEST

Exeter Digest #2: Exeter local elections guide - Majority want net zero by 2030 - Council meetings to resume in person

With the local elections a week today and a bank holiday weekend on its way we thought we'd publish our second edition a day early to give you extra time to take your pick of our top stories.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER   NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S   PUBLIC CONSULTATION   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER LOCAL PLAN   LIVEABLE EXETER   CLIMATE CRISIS   NET ZERO EXETER  

Welcome to the second edition of The Exeter Digest, Exeter Observer’s essential free email newsletter. Thanks for subscribing.

Feedback is most welcome: please feel free to reply to this email or otherwise get in touch with any comments or suggestions you may have.

TOP STORIES

EXETER’S LOCAL ELECTIONS ARE NEXT THURSDAY

Our essential election guide highlights wards and divisions to watch, changes taking place and how, when and where to vote on 6 May.

This year all eyes are on Exeter’s city centre wards, all three of which were won by challengers in 2019. Will the Progressive Group of Green, Liberal Democrat and independent councillors build on its cross-party consensus to further challenge Labour’s dominance?

There might be trouble for Labour in the suburbs too, where Conservative John Harvey could unseat Labour Executive member David Harvey, and in Pennsylvania where the contest looks wide open.

Just don’t confuse Exeter’s John Harvey with comedian Jon Harvey, standing in the London mayoral election this year as “independent space warrior” Count Binface. Although who wouldn’t want a city centre parking policy based on the Monopoly board?

WHAT DO WE WANT? NET ZERO! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? 2030!

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group responded to its own Devon Carbon Plan consultation finding that a majority want net zero by 2030 by questioning whether a 2030 target is “realistic” and suggesting a “compromise position” on a decarbonisation date that “could be palatable to all of the organisations in the Devon Climate Emergency partnership”. This despite only 13% of consultees supporting the government’s 2050 target.

SOARING RHETORIC TO GRACE EXETER GUILDHALL ONCE MORE

A case seeking to allow local authority meetings to continue remotely when temporary coronavirus regulations expire next week failed to override the requirement for primary legislation. Exeter City Council will now hold its post-election annual meeting at the Guildhall on 18 May, with Devon County Council doing the same at County Hall on the 27th.

REPORT CONFIRMS “RELENTLESS” INTENSIFICATION OF CLIMATE CRISIS

2020 is set to be the equal warmest year on record despite cooling La Niña conditions in the Pacific, and the Internal Energy Agency warns that the post-pandemic economic stimulus is expected to drive the second largest annual increase in carbon emissions in history, with UK emissions set to overshoot the country’s 2030 target by 40%.

Our Earth Day report was an update on recent research from leading climate monitoring sources.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

THREE THINGS I LEARNED DURING COVID

A leading climate scientist’s perspective on what the community has learned over the past year about the interactions between the pandemic and the current and future global climate.

Exeter Observer has joined the global Covering Climate Now journalism partnership, allowing us to republish stories shared by a network of publishers including The Guardian, Reuters and Bloomberg.

LINE OF DUTY?

Exeter Observer broke the news that Labour councillor Robert Lamb was disqualified from representing St. David’s ward on Exeter City Council after attending none of the council meetings at which he was expected over the previous six months.

Had Exeter City Council not postponed the full council meeting it had scheduled for 20 April, Councillor Lamb might have logged in and kept his position for the final weeks of his term.

ISN’T THE LUXURY ACCOMMODATION ENOUGH?

We noticed a Freedom of Information request submitted via WhatDoTheyKnow asking the university how much it spends on advertising and marketing. The university’s response did not supply most of the requested information, but it did reveal that it spent £966,585 on marketing in 2019-20.

ON THE AGENDA

EXMOUTH JUNCTION PLANNING DECISION DUE

As we go to press Exeter City Council’s planning committee is deciding an application to build a three to five storey block of 51 residential units on a small section of the Exmouth Junction site at the Morrisons supermarket end of Prince Charles Road. Planning officer’s report here, full application details here.

NEWTOWN CONSULTATION ENDS TOMORROW!

Newtown residents are invited to tell Exeter City Council and Devon County Council how they would like to see their neighbourhood improved. The consultation emphasis is on increasing “active travel” although it offers scope to comment on a range of issues including public spaces, parking, play and recreation and the wider community. Have your say here. The survey will inform proposals which will come forward during the summer.

NORTHBROOK APPROACH CONSULTATION ENDS NEXT WEEK

After backtracking on its plans to redevelop the golf course (which closed in 2019) into housing, the city council now wants community views on the site’s future. The council’s draft Parks and Green Spaces strategy mentions “sponsorship and commercial opportunities” as “alternatives to traditional revenue funding”. Have your say here, but only until 3 May.

NEW EXETER LOCAL PLAN ON ITS WAY

A Local Development Scheme report (essentially a timetable for the new local plan) is due on 1 June, then a Local Plan initial consultation document is due for approval a month later, on 6 July.

The governance, resourcing and timetable arrangements for the East Devon, Exeter. Mid Devon and Teignbridge Joint Plan (aka GESP Redux) are also due on 6 July, for a final decision on 20 July by full council.

LIVEABLE EXETER UPDATE

An update on the Liveable Exeter programme is also due to be presented at the Executive meeting on 1 June. The city council’s full meetings calendar is here.

ON OUR READING LIST

CLIMATE POLICY TRACKER APRIL UPDATE

Green Alliance’s essential UK climate action policy tracker shows the country risks complacency just as the heavy lifting is needed across the economy to create green jobs and reach its decarbonisation targets. PDF here.

Top line: “Based on current government policy, emissions will be nearly 40 per cent higher than needed to hit the 2030 climate target”.

THE CONCEPT OF NET ZERO IS A DANGEROUS TRAP

University of Exeter climate scientist James Dyke and colleagues with an essential corrective for all those who still mistakenly believe that #NetZeroExeter groupthink/rhetoric/solutionism will get us where we need to be.

The wrap: “Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5°C because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual, not the climate. If we want to keep people safe then large and sustained cuts to carbon emissions need to happen now. That is the very simple acid test that must be applied to all climate policies. The time for wishful thinking is over.”

REFORMING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

mySociety’s latest research report proposing improvements to strengthen access to information in the UK. PDF here.

LAST WORD

SO MANY QUESTIONS …

Quote of the week must surely go to Exeter City Council leader Phil Bialyk for: “Sorry, chair, I just need to refer to some of my other notes, if you’ll just bear with me”.

It followed two long minutes at Exeter City Council’s Tuesday evening meeting in which Councillor Bialyk read out a scripted statement on the council’s willingness to use green space beside the river for development in answer to a completely different question.

It was only when he turned the page that he noticed his mistake (but still seemed to miss the amusement among his colleagues).

The question? From Exeter Observer contributing editor Peter Cleasby: “Since the council has failed to respond to repeated questioning from Exeter Observer on the topic, will the leader of the council please explain why the Church of England has two representatives on the Liveable Exeter Place Board while other faiths and churches have none?”

Unfortunately, when Councillor Bialyk did find the correct script he still failed to provide an answer.


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 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
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
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  

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