The minutes of the special meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee of 18 June 2019 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Sills and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No.36 (Tackling Climate Change) and in response to clarification sought by Councillor Williams, the Portfolio Holder Climate & Culture stated that the statement that Exeter’s Energy Recovery Facility is the largest single source of emissions requires some context: it is one of a small number of strategic waste treatment facilities in Devon and treats waste from a catchment area well beyond the Exeter boundary. Incineration with energy recovery was environmentally preferable to disposing of waste to landfill. Diverting food waste as well as more plastic and glass waste away from energy recovery and towards recycling, which was the subject of a separate report to Place Scrutiny Committee, would reduce net carbon emissions. This would free up capacity at the Energy Recovery Facility to divert more of Devon’s non recycled waste away from landfill.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the special meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee held on 18 June 2019 be received.
To consider the report of the Programme Director for Exeter City Futures and the Deputy Leader & Portfolio Holder for Climate and Culture.
The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate & Culture introduced the report and referred to the declaration made by Exeter on the 15 March 2019 to make Exeter a Carbon-Neutral City by 2030. This ambition was aligned to the vision for the city and the report offered Members an update of what had already been achieved in the transition to a low carbon economy. The report also included a paper by Exeter City Futures Community Interest Company (ECF CIC) entitled “Towards a Carbon Neutral Exeter” which provided an overview of the approach to enable the city to become carbon neutral. The City Council had made a clear commitment borne out by the significant expansion of her Portfolio to include climate change. She introduced key speakers and colleagues from Exeter City Futures, Exeter University and Exeter City Council and referred to a number of recommendations in the report for the next steps that Exeter City Council should take in order to become carbon neutral. The City Council had already made a number of significant changes in the way they worked, as well as a commitment to work in concert with other partners and stakeholders.
The Programme Director Exeter City Futures provided some context to the report and the shared vision for the future of the city that would enable the population to thrive. The vision that has been captured through engagement activities and included vibrancy, quality of life, ability to access services, clean air, with open spaces for children to play in and protection of the biodiversity. Exeter City Council had now made a commitment to ensure that Exeter should extol best practice in respect of projects and structures with strong partnerships in place with individuals, communities and businesses. The local authority had made a clear commitment to the operational reduction of carbon, but whilst it was acknowledged that it had not progressed as quickly as it would have wished, she was pleased to see that many of the features of those leading cities had been replicated in Exeter. This all represented a massive challenge which would include the following for Members to consider:-
· the creation of a road map that was owned by the city, to show what we need to do, to achieve a carbon neutral status as well as reflect the needs and priorities of the people who live in the city and she referred to the Exeter City Futures ‘12 Goals’.
· the City Council which had made a clear commitment about their own carbon emissions reduction and had committed some resources, energy and skills to achieve that to develop the road map.
· the creation of the Carbon Neutral Mandate Group which would ensure that the voices of people were heard, and offer an objective body to hold the city to account in delivering the agreed roadmap. Exeter City Futures provided a shared governance structure and partnerships and this was now ready to move forward with action and coordination of demonstrable projects to make that happen.