Progress has been made on a ten point green action plan to help tackle climate change in Devon, councillors have been told.
Daniel Clark – Local Democracy Reporter sidmouth.nub.news
Cllr Claire Wright
Last July, Devon County Council’s Environmental Performance Board were mandated to look into how the ten actions that were proposed by Cllr Claire Wright could be addressed.
Over a year on, Cllr Wright, at last Thursday’s full council meeting, asked for an update on the progress on the actions resulting from the plan.
Cllr Roger Croad, cabinet member for environmental services, said that while the huge demands of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic have, inevitably, affected the way the council has been able to take forward its planned action, more positively though it has been recognised that environmental objectives must underpin the plans for COVID recovery.
He said: “Given the huge imperative to support the Devon Climate Emergency, the Environmental Performance Board has deliberately prioritised effort to progress our DCC carbon reduction plan, as well as assisting in the development of the Devon Carbon Plan and Climate Impacts Plan.
“For this reason, formalising this broader approach to enhanced environmental action through a refreshed suite of action plans has not yet occurred, although opportunities for action are being pursued with vigour.”
Examples of recent progress that had been made, Cllr Croad said, included the recruitment to a new Ecologist position to help provide the required capacity to take forward actions from the DCC Pollinators Action Plan, and that Local Nature Partnership work on October Dark Skies Week will raise awareness of the impacts of lighting on insects and promote actions that people can take.
He added: “Work is progressing well, with significant input from the county council, on the Development Phase of ‘Saving Devon’s Treescapes’, with the first tree planting events starting in October.
“The council is working closely with other local authorities, the Woodland Trust, Local Nature Partnership and others to secure national funding to progress a ‘Trees for Devon’ initiative, which aims to increase tree cover in the county.
“The draft Action Plan to reduce the councils’s own water consumption has been taken forward through the cleaning-up of DCC account held with Pennon Group, analysis of data over a 3-year period, identification of the top 10 sites for water usage from size of building and the establishment of a Water Resources Management System to carry out surveys on those identified sites.
“The authority is also committed to refurbishing county farm dwellings to reflect the decent homes standard. Twenty refurbishments have been completed and a further six are in progress during 2020.”