A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with issues raised by the public;
In accordance with the Public Forum Procedure Rules, the Chairman informed that five questions had been received for consideration during this agenda item.
1. Question from Mr Guy Chapman
‘What assistance will this Council provide to individual Town and Parish Councils in the South Hams wishing to draw up their own Climate Action Plans – and how will you help them calculate the overall emissions and biodiversity levels of their parishes?’
In reply, the Leader of the Council provided the following response:
‘At its meeting on 26 September 2019, the Council took the following decision:
In support of its commitment to the Climate and Biodiversity crisis, this Council would welcome the Town and Parish Councils across the District that have declared a Climate and Biodiversity crisis working together to create Action Plans to address and mitigate this challenge. To support this action, South Hams District Council will set up a website, similar to the one now well established for Neighbourhood Plans and populate it with our plans, a ‘carbon footprint’ calculator and a blog page for groups to exchange views.
The Council is in the process of developing this website, which will be launched as soon as is practically possible.
The Council has also arranged its joint SHDC / Devon County Council Annual Consultation Event with town and parish council representatives on the evening of Wednesday, 4 December 2019 and this session will include an open discussion on Climate Change Emergency Declarations.
2. Question from Ms Alexandra Bridgeman
‘In the Council’s Climate and Biodiversity Action Plan, what measurable indicators of biodiversity levels will the Council be using?
Do you have baseline data on the total areas of woodland, moorland, wildflower meadow etc and the number and diversity of species in these areas?
In response, the Leader stated that the Council was in the process of developing its Action Plan whilst also supporting the Devon Carbon Plan. It was envisaged that the Action Plan, or work emerging from the Plan, would include the use of measurable indicators but these have not been determined at this stage. Finally, the Council would be establishing baseline data through the same process.
3. Question from Ms Jo Raeburn
‘What national legal, regulatory or financial obstacles currently obstruct delivery of an effective local Climate Action Plan – and how will you help persuade the Government to remove these obstacles?’
The Leader replied that a key part of the Council’s emerging Action Plan, and the wider Devon Carbon Plan, would be determining what obstacles existed and how they may be overcome. This could include a range of actions including lobbying and influencing relevant organisations, including the Government.
4. Question from Ms Sima Cutting
‘Does this Council’s current electric vehicle charging points use electricity from 100% renewable (solar / hydro / wind) suppliers? And do all its properties use electricity from 100% renewable energy suppliers? If not, what steps are being taken to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Council’s energy purchases?
In her reply, the Leader of Council gave the following response:
At this stage, not all electricity was sourced from 100% renewable energy suppliers. A key part of the Council’s emerging Action Plan was to establish a baseline of its own carbon footprint and to determine how it would achieve a net-zero position. An important component of this would be reducing the footprint of its energy purchases.
5. Question from Ms Dee Cunnison
‘On 25 July, this Council committed to develop a Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan that will include an assessment of a 2030 target for becoming carbon neutral. As Torbay City, Plymouth City and Cornwall County Councils aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Teignbridge District, Dartmoor National Park and Totnes by 2025, how have you worked with these specific councils to assess this option and is this emerging assessment open to scrutiny by this committee?
The Leader replied that the Council was working with a range of organisations including Torbay, Plymouth, Teignbridge and Dartmoor National Park, primarily through the development of the Devon Carbon Plan. The Council was preparing an Action Plan through its Climate Change and Biodiversity Member Working Group, which was scheduled to be presented to the Council meeting on 19 December 2019 for consideration.