Agenda and draft minutes

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee
Monday, 8 June 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: This was an online virtual meeting. To view the meeting copy and paste this link into your browser:

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members.


Councillor Ian White submitted his apologies ahead of the meeting. Councillor Alan Thompson was present as his substitiute.


Committee Chair's announcements

To receive any announcements from the chairman and general housekeeping matters.


Committee Chair, Councillor Sue Roberts, addressed the committee:


Covid-19 has completely altered the landscape for climate and biodiversity since we last met in January. Lockdown and social distancing are changing the way we live and work.


Some of these changes can be harnessed for the good. The reduction in travel and commuting has markedly reduced air pollution and carbon emissions. Some degree of home-working has become a preferred options for many businesses, such as Barclays who are closing entire offices. In our own council, we are responding to the positive way that many of our staff regard home-working, and are adjusting our plans for the new council building. This may give more leeway to ensure that it shall be zero-carbon both in its build and in its operation.


Transport emissions should alter as people commute less. The Government’s Department for Transport has allocated £2bn to allow social distancing in towns. This has led to pop-up barriers to increase the width of pedestrian areas and of cycle lanes. Oxfordshire County Council has received bids from our towns for pedestrianisation schemes or cycle path improvements. There is a general wish for 20mph limits in towns and villages to slow and smooth traffic flows. Grant Shapps, Secretary of State, calls this a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to create a shift from cars to walking and cycling.


Fundamental changes have occurred shifting the focus of the economy, away, for example, from hospitality and the visitor economy. There has been a surge in unemployment and we and Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership should be focussing on retraining and redeployment of people to different work.


For a Green Recovery, we need significant new skills. We need retrofitting specialists, to make the 60,000 existing homes in South Oxfordshire more energy efficient; we need passivhaus builders to ensure that new homes never need to be retrofitted as they will be zero carbon in their build and in their operation; and we need to provide good jobs on the land for an agricultural revolution that moves away from industrial, chemical-based farming and towards re-wilding for nature recovery.


A Green Recovery would also mean the repurposing of our factories to more useful goods. For example, some car factories have simply closed due to there being no market for cars during the pandemic. Others have re-purposed. Formula 1 has been making medical ventilators. Our future home heating systems will be electric; they will be heat pumps. The specialist engineers and the mass production techniques of our car industry are perfectly placed to improve designs and efficiencies of heat pumps and mass-produce them for this growing market.


The changes that are upon us are hard to take in, in their entirety. There could be a complete shift in the way society operates. It could be a shift for the better - we want South Oxfordshire to be at the forefront of guiding and encouraging this.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To review the minutes of the last meeting and for the Chair to sign them as an agreed record of the meeting.


Members expressed that they wish to see items in the minutes that are for action to be flagged up. It was agreed that these would be tabled and could be reviewed in each meeting.

The chair’s address will be included in the body of the minutes.


To adopt the minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2020 as a correct record and agree that the chair signs them as such.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.




Urgent business

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent.




Work programme update and the impact of the Covid-19 response on progress. pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Committee to receive a report that provides an update on the status of the Climate Emergency Work Programme since the most recent Climate Emergency Advisory Committee meeting on 28 January 2020 in the context of COVID-19.



The committee went through the report provided by the insight and policy manager, who was present to answer questions.


The committee chair led the committee through the report page by page, and the main points raised are listed below.


·         Item 1:  the committee discussed Aether’s work on calculating the district’s carbon baseline. This was due to be presented at a Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) meeting, but we cannot technically have external presenters at this stage. Therefore, it was agreed that a teak and finish group would be presented to and would feedback to the CEAC. The volunteers for the task and finish group are Councillors Wilson, Robb and Roberts. The Aether report will be provided to the CEAC.

·         Item 2: Creation of a vision for a future low carbon South Oxfordshire – this item is paused and the insight and policy manager explained that there is no timescale at present but she is happy to accelerate this item if it is seen as high priority. The pause is due to a possible revision of the vision due to Covid-19. This vision will be brought back to the CEAC.

·         There was mention of potential sustainable plans for the ARC.

·         Item 3 - South Oxfordshire Greenhouse Gas Emissions report 2018/19 – corporate energy officer updated the committee that this was taken on by the officer team and took time to understand and complete well. The team studied district council emissions between 2009-2013, and there was a 20 percent drop in greenhouse gases. It is expected that in 20-21 data, a drop will be seen due to Covid-19 measures.

·         Item 4 - Baseline review of council energy consumption and CO2 emissions – Concept Energy are critiquing the greenhouse gas report. Discussion was had about artificial reduction in emissions due to the lockdown. It was suggested that a 5-6 percent reduction in emissions during lockdown has been created, but when we need around 7 percent, can we achieve this?

·         The issue was raised about measuring air quality and the use of diffusion tubes and asked whether we can get more regular measurements than yearly. Councillor Rouane added that there are three air quality management areas where there are regular, real-time month by month recordings.

·         The work planned on Faringdon leisure centre to have renewable energy for heating – the CEAC could learn from what they are doing – task and finish group item?

·         Item 6 – Tree mapping – concerns in Henley regarding mapping of hedgerows – these are important wildlife corridors that need inclusion.

·         It was agreed that a biodiversity planning officer would speak to a task and finish group or a CEAC meeting.

·         Item 7 – solar energy – The corporate energy officer said we are in the early stages of working with the low carbon hub. The council are keen to focus on the local area for offsite solar energy.

·         Item 10 – grounds management – Councillor Rouane, Cabinet member for housing and the environment, updated the committee that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Public participation

To consider written statements from members of the public, submitted before the meeting.