Climate & Environment
Extinction Rebellion UK tour bus outside Exeter City Council's Paris Street offices

COMMENT

World car free day ignored in Exeter as Extinction Rebellion challenges council climate inaction

Protestors gathered outside council offices as CEO Karime Hassan posed for photo with construction company development manager at Princesshay promotion.

Exeter City Futures website - vision & mission summary

ANALYSIS

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.

Rob Hannaford and Karime Hassan at Exeter City Council's June 2022 strategic scrutiny committee meeting

COMMENT

Net Zero Exeter accountability under scrutiny

Exeter City Council's response to the climate crisis has so far been characterised by numerous failings. Unfortunately its attitude towards accountability for its actions in this area is also cause for concern.

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

ANALYSIS

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.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Tik tok

    The county council-convened Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) has continued its apparent commitment to avoiding public scrutiny of its decision-making by simultaneously publishing the minutes of six of its meetings (which are held in private without published agendas) at the end of May — despite some being held in March...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Climate delay discourse typology

    ANALYSIS

    Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part III: Climate & environment

    The third in our 2022 local elections series examines Exeter Labour claims about climate crisis leadership, renewable energy, recycling, retrofitting and development standards as well as decisions to scrap council and city decarbonisation goals.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Leaderless by design?

    The county council’s plan to delay taking action on decarbonisation, otherwise known as the Devon Carbon Plan, continues to achieve its aim as (bear with us) the county council cabinet responds to its consultation on its response to the Devon Climate Assembly’s responses to the subset of Interim Devon Carbon Plan issues it has successfully avoided confronting...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan cover edit

    NEWS

    Exeter City Council abandons city 2030 decarbonisation "ambition"

    Unannounced decision to exclude scope 3 emissions constituting around 43% of Exeter's carbon footprint from "net zero" plans effectively ensures city will not meet its decarbonisation goals.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    We heart climate crisis

    Anyone who might have been tempted to believe that the climate crisis is at the heart of everything Exeter City Council does (as it repeatedly claims) need look no further than its response to the consultation on the Devon climate assembly’s output report for clarification...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Devon council climate action plan Climate Emergency UK scorecard scores bar chart

    NEWS

    Exeter decarbonisation plans found wanting in nationwide council climate action plan study

    Somerset West and Taunton highest scoring local authority area with East Devon in third place nationally in comprehensive Climate Emergency UK analysis.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Democracy inaction

    Meanwhile the poor record of the county council-led Devon Climate Emergency Response Group on keeping the public informed about what it is up to reached a new low this month, when it simultaneously published the minutes of ten meetings on the same day, some from as long ago as August...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Must try harder

    The university recently let us know that its carbon emissions were down 19% during the 2020-21 academic year, although as the reductions came mostly from travel that didn’t take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic we look forward to seeing how it will frame what will presumably therefore be an emissions increase next year...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Protestors hold Devon County Council stop funding fossil fuel companies banner in Bedford Square

    ANALYSIS

    County council doubles down on pension fund divestment position

    Devon Pension Fund remains committed to fossil fuel investment despite increasingly untenable pension fund committee position that relies on unfounded shareholder influence claims and failure to understand sector position and plans.

    Black-tailed godwits in Exe Estuary

    NEWS

    Exe Estuary wildlife refuges succeed in increasing bird numbers

    Three year monitoring study confirms introduction of protected spaces has resulted in greater numbers of wildfowl using internationally important Dawlish Warren and Exmouth sites.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Net Zero Exeter 2030?

    Research by University of Exeter students has concluded that local councils need to provide clearer and more accessible information on how they are addressing the climate emergency...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Exeter Extinction Rebellion activists fly flag outside COP26 Exeter event at Maketank with COP26 Exeter photography project in window

    NEWS

    COP-EXE event showcases local responses to global climate crisis

    Exeter city centre venues host exhibitions promoting local action to mitigate the climate crisis in tandem with the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

    Exeter City Council climate credentials claim in St Sidwells Point development hoarding

    ANALYSIS

    Greens call for evidence-based Exeter carbon budget as city council clings to net zero rhetoric

    The Net Zero Exeter plan lacks baseline emissions figures, recognised scope definitions and measurement and reporting frameworks, placing the city's decarbonisation agenda at risk. The opportunity for Exeter to demonstrate genuine climate crisis leadership nevertheless remains.

    GALLERY

    Exeter activists criticise corporate climate crisis claims with city centre bus shelter subvertising

    As the 2021 United Nations climate change conference (COP26) begins in Glasgow, activists post parody bus shelter adverts aimed at corporate greenwashing in Exeter city centre.

    Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament building in August 2018

    COMMENT

    Greta Thunberg calls on world leaders for honesty at COP26

    An interview with climate activist Greta Thunberg on the eve of the COP26 summit published in partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global media collaboration.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Less is more

    The University of Exeter published its long-awaited “Strategy 2030” on Monday. It’s a remarkable document, not least because of the Nobel-sized aspirations it expresses...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Exeter City Council scraps own "unachievable" carbon emissions target

    In an extraordinary reversal, the city council removed the goal of achieving carbon neutral operations by 2022 from its corporate risk register at an Audit & Governance committee meeting last week...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    We're all in it together

    Last Friday the UN released a report assessing the combined climate action plans of all 191 parties to the Paris Agreement which found that they point towards a catastrophic 2.7°C temperature rise by the end of the century...

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

  • GALLERY

    Exeter climate campaigners protest at £157 million Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment

    Fridays for Future Exeter led a march through the city to County Hall where demonstrators called on Devon County Council to divest the local public sector pension scheme it manages from fossil fuels.

    Bar chart showing 2020 pollution incidents per 10,000km2 for the nine privatised water companies in England

    NEWS

    South West Water misses pollution targets for tenth year running

    Environment Agency says regional company's performance "drags down the whole sector's reputation" as report places it at bottom of annual assessment league table while company pays out millions in shareholder dividends.

    Extinction Rebellion climate activist Imogen May

    NEWS

    Environmental activist Imogen May defiant after second liability order for non-payment of council tax

    Extinction Rebellion demonstrated at Exeter Law Courts in support of Crediton lone parent who has withheld council tax for two years in protest over government climate crisis inaction.

    UN Secretary General António Guterres briefs the media

    COMMENT

    António Guterres on the climate crisis: "We are coming to a point of no return"

    An interview with the UN Secretary General on the eve of the G7 summit in Cornwall published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration.

    Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel holdings

    ANALYSIS

    Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment position exposed by Shell and BP AGM votes

    Shareholder support for Paris Agreement-compatible goals increases but fails to prevent continuing oil and gas exploration, extraction, production or consumption as experts intensify warnings that emissions reductions goals will be missed.

    District heating network diagram

    NEWS

    South West Exeter district heating network plan abandoned

    Property developers refuse to back scheme despite local authorities committing £7.3 million to project to supply 2500 new homes with waste heat from Marsh Barton incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

    Net Zero Exeter logo

    COMMENT

    Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

    Review suggests alignment with Devon Carbon Plan, currently aimed at 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050, citing "technical and financial challenges ahead", although change in policy would require decision by councillors after 6 May local elections.

    Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences

    NEWS

    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.

    Met Office graph showing 2020 global mean temperature difference from 1850-1900

    NEWS

    World Meteorological Organization report confirms "relentless" intensification of climate crisis despite pandemic lockdowns

    2020 set to be equal warmest year on record despite cooling La Niña while Internal Energy Agency warns post-pandemic economic stimulus expected to drive second largest annual increase in carbon emissions in history and UK emissions set to overshoot 2030 target by 40%.

    Atmospheric rise in carbon dioxide from the industrial revolution to the present

    NEWS

    Atmospheric concentration of CO2 now 50% above pre-industrial levels

    Met Office says 2021 will be first year on record in which symbolic threshold breached for more than a few days as UK prepares to host COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

    Global lockdown pollution level changes

    COMMENT

    I'm a climate scientist – here's three key things I have learned over a year of 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.

    Devon County Council local authority pension fund fossil fuel investment bar chart

    NEWS

    Report places Devon County Council among UK's top local authority fossil fuel investors

    £157 million of Devon Local Government Pension Scheme is invested in companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP, Anglo American and ExxonMobil despite local authority climate emergency declarations and carbon reduction commitments.

    Exeter energy recovery facility

    NEWS

    District heating network planned for new South West Exeter development

    Local councils are investing up to £7.3 million in a £23 million project to supply a development of 2500 homes with heat which depends on the Marsh Barton waste incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

    Climate change mitigation challenges infographic

    NEWS

    University research consortium launches "Accelerate to Net Zero" project

    The GW4 Alliance of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter universities has launched a collaborative project aimed at accelerating decarbonisation across South West England and Wales.

    Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Wonford NHS Trust parking sign

    NEWS

    Hospital creates parking for 200 cars despite city climate crisis goals

    Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital says new parking "temporary" but no end-date given in planning application and no hard evidence of need provided.

    Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan proposals vs Exeter territorial emissions vs Exeter carbon footprint bar chart

    ANALYSIS

    Is the "Net Zero" Exeter plan fit for purpose?

    Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city.

    Exeter City Futures Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan

    NEWS

    Exeter City Council accepts climate emergency plan to make city carbon neutral by 2030

    Chief Executive warns that resourcing the plan is "problematic" given COVID-19 financial challenges and that lack of resources limits the council's capacity for immediate practical action.

    Exeter City Futures Blueprint for a Carbon Neutral Exeter by 2030 graphic

    COMMENT

    Is Exeter finally responding to the climate emergency?

    A surge of activity about action to combat climate change is taking place in Exeter, including the publication of a carbon neutral blueprint pending a "mobilisation summit", but detail and evidence is still missing and community engagement is falling short of debate.

    Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate banners on South Street

    NEWS

    Exeter climate strike anniversary march brings junction to standstill

    Protestors form human chain around County Hall to highlight Devon County Council's role as key regional climate policy decision-maker after Exeter City Council confiscates banners promoting carbon neutral blueprint policies.

    GALLERY

    Exeter climate strikers create human chain around County Hall

    Fridays for Future Exeter led a march through the city to form a human chain around County Hall in protest at climate change inaction.

    GALLERY

    Exeter global climate strike march

    Fridays for Future Exeter led 3500 people on a climate crisis demonstration through the city as millions mobilised in 185 countries worldwide.

    Exeter Global Climate Strike demonstrator holding placard

    ANALYSIS

    Exeter youth climate strikers launch Green New Deal for Devon

    Fridays For Future Exeter have published a detailed vision of a more equitable future that calls on elected representatives across the county to recognise the climate crisis as a symptom of a dysfunctional political economy.

    Exeter Global Climate Strike Bedford Street crowd

    NEWS

    Thousands march in Exeter for global climate strike as millions mobilise worldwide

    Fridays for Future Exeter led 3500 people on a climate crisis demonstration through the city backed by dozens of organisations on the eve of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

    GALLERY

    Exeter Extinction Rebellion Wave of Water march

    Extinction Rebellion campaigners marched through Exeter city centre led by a samba band and dressed in blue to represent a wave of water, highlighting rising sea levels and the coming global water crisis.

    Exeter Extinction Rebellion funeral march climate crisis High Street

    NEWS

    Mock funeral march brings Exeter city centre to a sombre standstill

    Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought the gravity of the ecological emergency home to Exeter on Saturday in a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

    GALLERY

    Exeter Extinction Rebellion Funeral march

    Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought Exeter City Centre to a standstill with a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

    Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate protestors with banner

    COMMENT

    Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate - the floodgates are open

    Exeter is one of the smallest cities in Britain, yet it has produced some of the country's biggest youth strikes. Climate activist Sam Sleeman recounts the story so far and explains what it means to the young people who are creating a global wave of change.

    Extinction Rebellion climate emergency protesters in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

    NEWS

    Exeter Extinction Rebellion stages climate emergency protest

    Today around 70 people joined the Exeter branch of Extinction Rebellion on the city's streets to demand urgent action to minimise the risk of catastrophic impacts from climate change.


    Help power our public interest journalism

    Transport & Mobility

    GALLERY

    Kidical Mass returns to Exeter's streets

    Hundreds of people took part in Exeter's third Kidical Mass family bike ride on Saturday as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

    E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

    COMMENT

    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.

    Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

    ANALYSIS

    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.

    Planning & Place
    The Gorge co-living block classic studio room floorplan

    NEWS

    First Exeter "co-living" block comes on stream with rooms at £946pcm+

    Even "affordable" rooms in six storey 133-unit Gladstone Road block would leave many local key workers living below minimum income threshold.

    Summerland Street co-living block redevelopment site

    NEWS

    Council paves way for 186-bed "co-living" block in Summerland Street

    Freedom of information request reveals intended scale of development after executive committee takes decision behind closed doors.

    Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

    COMMENT

    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.

    Arts & Culture
  • THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2022

    Spork! open mic night

    Headlinder Charice Bharwaj will lead an evening of spoken word entertainment.

    LITTLE DROP OF POISON

  • FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER & SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER 2022

    Pop-up curiosity shop

    Agile Rabbit is hosting a two day science and culture-themed event featuring music, live art, interactive exhibits and games, talks and workshops.

    MAKETANK

  • WEDNESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2022

    Mother Tongue

    Mothers Who Make and Spork! present a lunchtime spoken word event for mother artists and audiences with caring roles.

    MAKETANK

  • Democracy & Governance
  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Race in pole position

    Exeter Labour looks set to pick Steve Race as the party’s parliamentary candidate at the next general election after retiring incumbent Ben Bradshaw anointed his former assistant as his heir apparent in what has been a fairly safe Labour seat since the 1997 landslide...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Bundling boards

    The third in a series of city council scrutiny meetings intended to satisfy councillors that Exeter Development Fund is a way to put Exeter on the map rather than the council’s financial viability at risk took place last week...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • Exeter City Council 2022 annual meeting 17 May 2022

    ANALYSIS

    Labour councillors appointed to all fourteen city council committee chairs at annual meeting

    Council leader falsely claims "overwhelming majority" voted Labour in Exeter local elections while circumvention of council decision-making scrutiny continues.

    Community & Society
  • THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2022

    Sourdough bread-making by night

    St. Sidwell's Community Centre is running autumn evening sourdough pizza and pitta-making courses.

    SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE

  • SUNDAY 2 OCTOBER 2022

    Herbal history, folklore & medicine

    Exeter Seed Bank is holding a workshop exploring common local herbs and plants with medical herbalist Ile Ashcroft.

    EXETER PHOENIX

  • SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2022

    Kidical Mass is back

    Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its third family bike ride and picnic as part of an ongoing campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

    NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

  • Economy & Enterprise
    Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

    ANALYSIS

    Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisitions and development loans mount

    Freedom of information request reveals five paragraph "outline business plan" for £55 million Guildhall shopping centre investment.

    Exeter 2020 net internal migration by age group bar chart

    ANALYSIS

    Exeter beset by unaffordable housing, low graduate retention and economically inactive over 50's

    Exeter City Council executive ignores key challenges flagged in major council-commissioned employment and skills research report.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    How to inflate housing costs and influence people

    Despite Exeter’s rapidly worsening housing crisis, the council has continued its relentless promotion of the city as a destination to potential incomers by commissioning a coterie of Instagram influencers to flog the place to their followers after spending a May weekend here...

    ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE