Devon County Council
Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

ANALYSIS  ⁄  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.

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

ANALYSIS  ⁄  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.

Church Road traffic congestions

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Alphington "enhancements" will not mitigate traffic impact from massive South West Exeter extension

County council manipulates public consultation and allocates just 1% of £55 million grant to pedestrian scheme while spending 75% on new roads and increased road capacity for 3,500 new cars expected on greenfield housing estate.

Magdalen Road public consultation results option preferences bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

£900,000 to keep Magdalen Road one-way system despite decisive public support for low traffic street

County council misrepresented and omitted key public consultation findings in report and did not publish results until after decision taken in favour of option with only 18% public support. Exeter Observer snapshot survey finds 90%+ motor vehicles passing shops are through traffic.

  • 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

  • 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

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    More talk less action

    The county council has derived more surprising new insights from the second phase of a consultation on the impact of traffic in Heavitree and Whipton...

    TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Buses stop

    Exeter’s Labour county councillors successfully lobbied County Hall to convene an unscheduled meeting of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HaTOC) yesterday to discuss the state of bus services in the city...

    TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

  • Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan cover edit

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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.

    Exeter Live Better sugarloaf cable car

    BLOG

    Council reveals plan for "Pods in Exeter's Sky" to beat city congestion

    Exeter City Futures proposal connects key city sites with a network of Alpine-style cable cars as an alternative to traffic improvement measures.

    Karime Hassan, Phil Bialyk, Tony Rowe and Paul Thomas at Sandy Park hotel development site

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    Decision to send council CEO and director to work for Exeter City Futures is "disservice to citizens"

    City council disregards governance, risk and conflict of interest issues despite cross-party challenges and conflates decarbonisation agenda with property development financing scheme.

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

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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

    Not such an honourable mention

    Cranbrook’s appearance in a recent Transport for New Homes report examining new housing developments across England to find out whether they are built around sustainable transport or car dependency does not exactly celebrate the satellite town’s mobility provision...

    TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Has the county council learned its lesson?

    Judging by the “ample space” for greenfield business park and housing development promoted in the “Clean Growth Vision for the West of East Devon” it commissioned from City Science Corporation (an Exeter City Futures sister company) for submission to the East Devon Local Plan consultation, it seems not...

    PLANNING & PLACE

  • Exeter Digest #9: Pennsylvania petitioners - Devon Pension Fund - University social mobility - Harlequins fate sealed

    Our ninth newsletter is a bumper edition providing plenty of independent public interest journalism to keep you company on long midwinter evenings.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Devolution doublespeak

    Devon is apparently at the front of the pack for a Michael Gove-flavoured “double” devolution deal despite a competing bid led by Plymouth City Council (which wants to combine with the adjacent West Devon and South Hams district councils), next to no guidance on what is on offer from Whitehall, and even less public discussion about the prospect of local government changes across the county...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • 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

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

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    It's grim down South West

    Recent synthesis of economic data by Devon County Council doesn’t make for very cheerful reading...

    ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

  • Exeter Digest #4: University and council drop development standards - Exe valley under threat - Kinder Exeter community festival

    In the fourth edition of our newsletter we also welcome trainee reporter Jenna McGill to the team and introduce the first Exeter Observer caption competition.

    Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel holdings

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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.

    Exeter City Council 2021 election results ballot share percentage by ward

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    Did Exeter's local elections results tell a Labour success story?

    Exeter Labour lost just one seat in the city council elections and held all seven of its county hall seats, but on closer inspection its performance was more mixed than these headline results imply.

    Net Zero Exeter logo

    COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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.

    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.

    Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences

    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.

    Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall - Inauguration of Lord Mayor

    NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    High Court rules council meetings must resume in person after local elections

    Case seeking judgement to allow local authority meetings to continue remotely when temporary coronavirus regulations expire fails to override requirement for primary legislation.

    Electoral Commission ballot box graphic

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    2021 Exeter local elections guide

    Elections for Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner are taking place in Exeter on 6 May. Our essential election guide highlights wards and divisions to watch, changes taking place and how, when and where to vote.

    Exeter Digest #1: Statistics in the balance - Dartmoor Line to reopen - Local elections are coming

    In this first edition of Exeter Observer's email newsletter we introduce our format and bring you up to date with our coverage over the past couple of months.

  • NOTES & SKETCHES

    Independent county councillor Claire Wright stands down

    Claire Wright, who has represented Otter Valley since 2013 is standing down after winning the largest majority of any county councillor two terms running...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • Train at Okehampton Station in 2015

    NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    Okehampton to Exeter "Dartmoor Line" passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed

    £40 million Department for Transport "Restoring your Railway" funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.

    Independent councillor Jemima Moore campaigns in Newtown during the 2019 Exeter local elections

    NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    Door to door campaigning for May local elections to go ahead after all

    Government announces relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on election canvassing from next Monday 8 March in step with planned lockdown rule changes.

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

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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 polling station

    NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    May local elections to go ahead despite COVID-19 challenges

    Ban on doorstep canvassing and door to door leaflet distribution likely to favour the two major parties on 6 May as postal and proxy voting encouraged in Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

    Exeter energy recovery facility

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    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.

    Pedestrians and people waiting at bus stop on Exeter Cowick Street

    NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre

    Devon County Council cites "pushback" from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after "snap poll".

    Cyclists, pedestrians and cars compete for space on Union Road, Exeter, 1 June 2020

    NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    Devon County Council fails to deliver promised COVID-19 cycling and walking infrastructure

    Deadline for action on social distancing for safe travel set by county cabinet member passes despite Devon receiving £1.7 million share of government emergency fund.

    Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

    Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.

    Pulling Road Pinhoe Exeter zero carbon housing development site plan

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

    Exeter's first "zero carbon" housing development includes 96 car parking spaces for 40 homes

    Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an "exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city" while accepting that zero carbon construction comes "at a cost to the provision of affordable housing".

    Country Bus G service to Exeter Quay

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    An integrated public transport service for Devon remains a distant aspiration

    A change to Exeter's G bus service operator has revealed the limits of Devon County Council's approach to transport system integration.

    2019 Devon County Council Heavitree & Whipton Barton by-election Exeter vote share swing bar chart

    NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

    Exeter Labour support collapses in Heavitree & Whipton Barton county by-election

    Greg Sheldon wins Devon County Council division by just 40 votes after Labour loses nearly a fifth of its previous vote share.

    Dutch living streets woonerf sign

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.

    Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.

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    ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   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 CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   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 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   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   HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS   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   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   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   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   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   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. 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   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER  


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