Minutes of the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at 6.30 pm
Councillor B Wootton
Councillor C Hawkins (substitute for Councillor J McKenzie)
Councillor J Craigie (Chairman)
Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
4 x Members of the Public
39. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Councillor J McKenzie (East Ward – personal). Mr J Day.
The Chairman indicated that Mr Day was employed in the Midlands, having attained his Doctorate, and that the Co-opted Member position could well be reviewed.
Councillor Mrs Craigie wished that Committee’s appreciation of the former Chairman’s work and congratulations on his academic achievements be conveyed to him.
40. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
There were no Declarations of Interest.
41. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD
A Member requested a copy of the Chairman’s report following his attendance at the Zero Carbon Britain Decarbonisation Action Planning Conference.
The Chairman assented to the request.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 November 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
43. DECARBONISATION ACTION PLAN (DAP)
a. Report from Zero Carbon Britain DAP Conference. The Chairman circulated the “Executive Summary” from the Conference by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).
The Conference had outlined the various emissions created by the Country including shipping and aviation (not ordinarily accounted). He advised that they had an energy model that could be scaled down through population size to provide data for Parishes. Although not perfect, given the level of variances with housing standards i.e. insulation, heating efficiency, it would provide an estimate of the local position and the work required to achieve zero carbon emissions. Variances can be made to the model of powering up, through meeting demand with renewable and carbon neutral energy sources without fossil fuels and powering down through reduction and change in travelling and heating. The Model can provide a carbon footprint for an area (crude but most accurate). An assumption can be made on thermal efficiency through the age of buildings and providing that new buildings are in line with Building Regulations.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer stated that the model would be useful, at Town Council level, to inform local actions.
The Chairman spoke in terms of creating a document for the Parish of Bideford on how to achieve Carbon Zero considering the power consumption of buildings and transport needs. He spoke of British transport working on half the (present) number of cars but with an expectancy of them going twice as far through multiple user initiatives and co-ownership of vehicles. It was conceded that in having an overview of Britain the CAT report did not address the rural (transport) challenges; electrical vehicles were also deemed expensive.
A change of land use associated with food production could see a large reduction in emissions, however, Members felt that taking meat out of the system would be disruptive, locally.
The Chairman spoke of the benefit of synthetic kerosene, used for airline fuel, sourced partly from biomass; Councillor Herron noted the variety of uses for Hemp including clothing and medicines. He added that future land use for “Natural Farmers” could include carbon sequestration through the storage of carbon, from the atmosphere in carbon sinks using soil.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer felt that the farms local to Bideford were smaller and the land well managed. Larger more industrial farms would be more suited. She reiterated that the Council should concentrate on the Town Area.
b. DAP Considerations.
The Chairman noted that to work out the scale of the problem is one form of action. Aim to decarbonise all our energy, reduce fossil fuel demand to zero and manage land to absorb all used energy. He indicated that the Community would need to establish the criterion.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer stated that the Council could not enforce directives.
The Chairman agreed but indicated the Council could encourage, inform and further discourage poor practises. Obtaining a full Energy Model report would lead to the production of a DAP document.
A “transition” Town model could provide for localised food production / consumption – season eating and reduction in food miles.
Councillor Herron stated that schools are not provided with local food, an area that should be considered.
In noting Councillor Mrs Hellyer advised that DCC were responsible for (school) meals.
Councillor Mrs Craigie highlighted a “milk machine” initiative at Parkham, where individuals purchase and re-use their own milk bottles.
The Chairman concluded that a questionnaire could be provided to gauge the will to change.
44. WORKING GROUPS
a. Carbon sinks and biodiversity (CSB). Councillor Herron spoke on his Bideford Forest initiative entitled Dimpsey (Devon local vernacular – twilight) Woods. He explained that he had six oak trees, in pots, the development of which would be documented on a website, following the planting and germinating over one to two years.
His intention to encourage using leaflets and providing compost and pots to set up “garden nurseries” over a three to four-year period when the trees will be rewilded. He acknowledged that land will be needed.
Members discussed potential land availability including the Kenwith Dam (TDC owned) and an area of East Ridge - close to East the Water School.
Councillor Herron indicated that the Woodland Trust would provide 1,000 trees and compost is freely available from Deep Moor; he suggested that there are lots of ways to drive things cheaply. It was felt that schools could be involved; help would be needed with the management of planted trees.
Councillor Herron reiterated the qualities of Hemp, it’s multi use, and ability to soak up three times more carbon per acre of land than a wood.
b. Energy and Heat. The Chairman advised that the Planning and LBC applications for the Pannier Market solar array had successfully passed the Council Planning Committee. The Clerk confirmed that following further questioning the applications would be considered at the TDC Planning Meeting scheduled for 3 March 2020.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer advised that the Nappy Library was ready. There have been a number of enquiries from Bideford.
c. Transport. Members spoke about the Children’s Centre Project with their Action for Children (eight years and under) initiative that is seeking to encourage cycling through liaison with schools.
They noted the Governments “All Electric Town Initiative,” which, they believed, was more suited to urban areas – complicated in Devon – that would see full electrification of buses; discussion followed that indicated further funding would be required, liaison with or creation of a bus operation (CIC / social enterprise).
Councillor Herron led discussion on car sharing opportunities highlighting concerns that drivers were making similar day to day journeys but as the only occupant. He suggested the development of a car sharing website.
The Chairman thanked the Members for their attendance and support. He concluded the Meeting at 7.45 pm.