Members considered a report that outlined progress in developing the Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan and proposals for progressing its implementation along with proposed targets for reducing carbon emissions both organisationally and across the South Hams District.
In discussion, reference was made to:-
(a) the amount of unscheduled work that had been undertaken by officers. Notwithstanding the amount of work, some Members also emphasised that, having declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, it was now vitally important that the Council began to make real progress on the delivery of the Action Plan;
(b) the Devonwide Citizens Assembly. Members paid tribute to the Citizens Assembly document that had been circulated and it was confirmed that:
o it would be published on the Council website; and
o the proposed Assembly would engage with the younger community.
It was then:
1. That the draft Action Plan proposal (as at Appendix 1) subject to it being:
(a) amended to comply with parts 2 and 4 of the Climate Change resolution arising from the Special Council meeting held on 25 July 2019 (Minute 29/19(b) refers);
(b) forwarded to Town and Parish Councils for their comments and for such comments to be received by 31 March 2020;
(c) published on the Council’s Climate Change section of its website with a provision for comments from the public to be received by 31 March 2020;
(d) reviewed and amended following the end of the consultation period at points (b) and (c) above. (NB. such amendments to be considered by the Working Group by 30 April 2020, with an updated version of the Action Plan then being submitted to the Annual Council meeting on 21 May 2020 for approval);
(e) able to be monitored on an ongoing basis by Full Council at any time it considers it necessary and/or appropriate;
2. That the content of the Council’s first Greenhouse Gas Inventory (as outlined at Section 5 of the presented agenda report) be noted;
3. That the Council aim to reduce its organisational carbon emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions) to net-zero by 2030;
4. That the Council commit to working with partners through the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group to aim to reduce the District of South Hams’ carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest;
5. That the Council aim for a 10% Biodiversity Net Gain in the habitat value of its green and wooded public open space by 2025;
6. That the Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group be requested to develop a Framework for a Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy to be brought back to Full Council for approval on 21 May 2020; and
7. Request that an update on progress against the adopted aims be brought back to Council on an annual basis.