What have we done so far.....

Retrofit and Green Homes Grants

Secured £600,000 in Green Homes Grants, through the Governments Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme. We are also involved in the Devon wide involved sustainable warmth grant project, which will bring another £580k of grants to upgrade energy inefficient homes of low-income households.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

We launched an initiative to help longer-term let landlords meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

The support package on offer from the District Council includes grants to help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their property. This includes ways to improve the energy efficiency of homes such as, roof and wall insulation, replacement heating systems or draught proofing. 

The Council is working in partnership with Tamar Energy Community to help landlords meet these standards and will be investigating properties that do not. 

Retrofit Behavioral Insights

The Council is also working with the Local Government Association and Social Engine through the LGA's Behavioural Insights programme to  understand why home-owners are not taking the necessary steps to retrofit their properties (rented or otherwise) even when a wide range of grant funding is available and what messages and measures could be adopted to stimulate this change.

 

During the second half of 2022 and into 2023 the team (Social Engine, Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council, South Hams District Council, East Devon District Council and Devon County Council) will develop an intervention which can be trialled, at scale, with learning intended to inform future work in the area and beyond

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Carbon Literacy

Following Carbon Literacy Training for our senior leaders, West Devon Borough Council has been awarded bronze level as a Carbon Literate Organisation. Further training is now being offered internally to a wider range of staff levels.

A Carbon Literate Organisation is an organisation that has been accredited by The Carbon Literacy Project as being “culturally Carbon Literate”; maintaining a substantial proportion of its workforce as Carbon Literate and demonstrating its Carbon Literacy through its organisational behaviour.

 

Carbon Literacy is an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.

 

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EV Charging

At the meeting of West Devon Borough Council’s Hub on 21 September 2021,  Councillors discussed electric car charging points and decided that the Council should enter the Devon and Torbay Residential Chargepoint Scheme. This scheme will fund EV charging at the following West Devon Borough Council Car Parks;

  • Bedford car park, Tavistock

  • Abbey car park, Tavistock

  • Mill Road car park, Okehampton

  • Chagford car park, Chagford

  • Hatherleigh car park, Hatherleigh

As a result of funding through the Governments Off-street Residential Charging Scheme a 22kW dual charging point will be installed at Pilgrims Drive car park in Bere Alston.​

to read the council reports on these schemes in full click here.

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Climate emergency planning policy and guidance

In response to the Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies declared by Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon Councils, we are introducing a new planning policy and guidance document.

The Climate Emergency Planning Policy and Guidance document sets out exactly what all new development should do to make sure that it can adapt to the challenges of climate change. This document is for anyone submitting a planning application, whether it is for an extension to their home, new employment development or new homes.

This document is ambitious. It sets out ways to ensure that all new development is fit for the future, by including solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging facilities as standard. It sets out measures that will mean development is better able to cope with the challenges of climate change to avoid overheating and flooding and bring health and wellbeing benefits.

a consultation was conducted in March 2022 and the latest updates, as well as the document can be found here https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/planningandbuildingcontrol/planningpolicyandguidance/climateemergencyplanningpolicyandguidance

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District Behaviour Change

In 2021, the Council Partnered with Carbon Savvy to run two engagement campaigns​​.

  • Lifestyle Spring Clean Week - from Friday 12 to Sunday 21 March. This was a chance for individuals to measure their carbon footprint with the Carbon Savvy calculator and learn about steps they can take to reduce it. Carbon Savvy was chosen because of thier unique approach to carbon footprints which shows that not only is carbon-saving easier than people think, but it can actually increase happiness and wellbeing at the same time, as many things which improve your quality of life also contributes to doing your bit for the climate, as well as saving money in the long run.

  • Shop4good - Saturday 30th October to Saturday 13th November. the programme promoted ten ways to shop that reduce CO2 emissions and raise well-being.  The campaign followed new research that shows consumer interest in sustainability has increased significantly since the pandemic, and suggests consumer buying power may be doing more to help the climate than initially realised.

A Council led Climate and Biodiversity Community Forum was established in 2021, which the Local Government Association featured as a case study in 2021 https://www.local.gov.uk/case-studies/developing-community-forum-help-tackle-climate-change-and-increase-biodiversity To date the forum as helped the Council guide its work and focus such as refining grant scheme criteria and promote work such as a public survey into attitudes around car share and bike share schemes. The survey was promoted by West Devon Borough Council in collaboration with CoCars and CoBikes and would give affordable access to electric cars for everyone, whilst also supporting the shift to zero carbon transport

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2030 Net Zero Organisation Actions

So far we have;

  • Produced two greenhouse gas accounts, for the 18/19 year and 20/21 year *The differences between the two accounts are a result of more accurate data collection and effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures

  • Conducted a review of our fleet and produced a forward fleet plan to transition our vehicle fleet to EV. The report will be available in September 2022

  • Commissioned an organisational decarbonisation plan with Exeter University, the report will be published in October 2022

  • Secured £14,000 through the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund to produce a costed heat decarbonisation plan for our leisure centres

  • £300,000 was approved to facilitate solar panel installation for the two West Devon leisure centres.

  • Introduced an EV salary scheme for staff and increase the cycle to work threshold to £5000 to account for e-bike purchases

  • Reviewed Solar Canopy opportunities in Council owned car parks with a second review undertaken with the South West Energy Hub

  • Saved through ‘agile’ working since January 2021 an estimated 300,000 miles of travel has been avoided, leading to a saving of 106tCO2e (Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent).

  • Climate Change will be reflected on future role profiles across the organisation, depending on grade these are

Grades 9 - 4

Climate Change

Contribute to the Council’s corporate objectives in relation to climate change by considering the environmental impact of individual and collective actions, working to reduce resource and energy use, minimise waste, and anticipate and enhance the efficiency of services in response to a changing climate, wherever possible, to help the council reduce its own carbon footprint and that of the district.

Grade 4 and above

Climate Change

Promote and role model the Council’s corporate objectives in relation to climate change by considering the environmental impact of individual and collective actions, working to reduce resource and energy use, minimise waste, and anticipate and enhance the efficiency of services in response to a changing climate, wherever possible, to help the council reduce its own carbon footprint and that of the district.

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Natural Regeneration

The Council owns very limited ‘significant’ sized spaces, particularly with the potential to undertake meaningful interventions for the benefit of the natural environment. The exceptions to this are the two sites at Harrowbeer Lane, Yelverton and Bedford Bridge near Horrabridge.

The 4.7ha site off Harrowbeer Lane, Yelverton (in Buckland Monachorum Ward) was previously grazed, but has now been vacant for a few years following cessation of the previous arrangement

The 3.5ha site at Bedford Bridge, near Horrabridge (Burrator Ward) lies between the A386 and River Walkham and is grazed, with 12 months’ notice having been served on the existing tenant in September 2021 and vacant possession will be obtained in September 2022.

Both of these sites are within the Forestry Commission High Spatial Priority Area for Biodiversity – this being the Priority Habitat network layer for nature recovery that builds upon the adjacent areas of existing Deciduous Woodland (a Priority Habitat) – the easternmost of the three fields at Harrowbeer Lane already containing some of this existing woodland habitat layer.

 

Delivering woodland creation or enabling natural woodland regeneration at the sites will deliver multiple benefits including:

a. Creating new woodland habitat contributing to nature recovery

b. Reducing flood risk

c. Storing carbon and contributing to combatting climate change

The Council will be working in partnership the Woodland Trust to achieve this and it is hoped that through this strategic partnership the resultant carbon credits can be registered.

 

The woodland regeneration will link adjacent habitat and are in a priority area for nature recovery. After 5 years both sites should have seen an increase in biodiversity of around 80%

 

The Council will furthermore be contributing to the national target of 30% coverage for nature, set out in the Environment Act 2021.

 

Advice and Assistance

To support others working to achieve district climate aims, we have

  • created a town and parish and guide to net-zero which is available here.

  • produced a short guide for businesses to achieve net zero which is available here.

  • continued to produce monthly newsletters which provide updates on what the council is doing, direct readers to webinars, events and funding opportunities and summarises the latest in climate and natural science and updates in national and international policy and research