Agenda item

Report of the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport as the Chair of the Environmental Performance Board (EPB) (CET/22/3), attached.

 

An Impact Assessment is also attached for the attention of Members at the meeting and can also be found at - https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/environmental-policy/

Decision:

RESOLVED

 

(a) that the 53% reduction in corporate carbon emissions since 2012/13, be

noted and the carbon footprint be approved for publication and submission to

Defra;

 

(b) that the Authority’s revised Environmental Policy also be approved; and

 

(c) that the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport in

consultation with the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and

Transport be given delegated authority to make minor changes to the

Environmental Policy.

Minutes:

(Councillors Bailey, Brazil and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

 

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport (CET/22/3), circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.

 

The Report presented the Authority’s annual carbon footprint for the financial year 2020/21 (Appendix 2) and provided an update to the authority’s Environmental Policy (Appendix 1).

 

The annual carbon footprint monitored the effectiveness of implementing the Authority’s Carbon Reduction Plan, whilst the Environmental Policy summarised how the Council would continue to lead by example to minimise the impact of its own operations and its supply chain on the environment and encourage others to do the same.

 

The proposals in relation to the Carbon Footprint was outlined in section 3.1 of the Report but included that it be published, submitted to DEFRA and an infographic prepared to communicate its key points. Also included was the effect of home working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Other aspects of note had been included in the Report including the decline of corporate emissions (53% below the base year) as well as information on property emissions reductions, vehicle fleet, business travel and procurement.

 

In terms of the Environment Policy Review, the production of a short and focused Policy had been favoured, leaving the detail in the topic-specific strategies and action plans that sat beneath it. However, general additions included a link to the 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan, commitment to addressing the climate and ecological emergency and incorporation of the net-zero target, the need for innovation and testing new approaches, a mention of the single-use plastic issue and the need for a circular economy, using pesticides only when necessary and a firmed up Countryside, Coast & Heritage section and the Community Leadership section.

 

An Impact Assessment was also circulated with the agenda for the attention of Members at the meeting and could also be found at - https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/environmental-policy/. This highlighted that Climate change and environmental decline would affect everybody in the County, and would affect people less able to adapt the most which could include the less affluent, those living with physical and mental health conditions, people living in coastal communities or areas prone to flooding and young people who would live with the effects becoming worse over their lifetimes. Implementing the Environmental Policy would require changes to the way the Authority’s services were provided, which had the potential to impact negatively and positively on service users depending on the specifics of the proposals. Future tactical-level changes to services would need their own impact assessment to consider their effect on equality characteristics.

 

The Cabinet further noted that the recommendations in the Report contributed to delivering three of the six priorities of the Strategic Plan.

 

To summarise, the authority’s corporate carbon emissions continued to decline and were on track to achieve the 70% absolute reduction by 2030 and the review of the Environmental Policy brought it up to date to include contemporary environmental issues.

 

The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Director’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:

 

it was MOVED by Councillor Davis, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and

 

RESOLVED

 

(a) that the 53% reduction in corporate carbon emissions since 2012/13, be noted and the carbon footprint be approved for publication and  submission to Defra;

 

(b) that the Authority’s revised Environmental Policy also be approved; and

 

(c) that the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport be given delegated authority to make minor changes to the Environmental Policy.

 

(NB: The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and is available at https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/environmental-policy).

Supporting documents: