Climate change is having a major impact on our planet. On 24 June 2019, we declared a ‘Climate Emergency’. As a partner we support the work of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, which is aiming to produce a collaborative Devon-wide response to the climate emergency to help us get to net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible and also prepare Devon for the necessary adaptation to infrastructure and services required to respond to climate change. Further information on the progress of this plan and how you can get involved can be found here – A public consultation on the first part of the Devon Carbon Plan will commence on 7 December 2020 and will run until 15 February 2021. For further information on how you can learn about the plan (including signing up for a series of online webinars) and provide comments, please visit the Devon Climate Emergency website.

Our current Energy and Climate Change Strategy for Torbay describes how we aim to help minimise the economic, social and environmental costs of climate change in the Bay by demonstrating leadership and providing encouragement in working toward emission reductions and resilience to our changing climate. We will be conducting a major review and update of this plan during 2021 to take account of the latest evidence, work that is being carried out with the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and identify new focuses within the Council as an organisation and within the Torbay community to decarbonise and proactively respond to climate change.

The current strategy is our second climate change strategy and was unanimously adopted by full council in July 2014 reflecting our commitment to addressing at local level the causes of global climate change. Since the first strategy was formally adopted in 2008, significant reductions in our energy consumption and waste have contributed towards significant financial savings and a reduction in CO2 emissions. However, we recognise that we need to continue to do much more as an organisation to reduce our impact and vulnerability. We also must play our part in helping to activate other organisations, groups, businesses and individuals in Torbay to meet the challenge.

We recognise that there also multiple additional co-benefits from taking action on climate change. For instant actions such as increasing walking and cycling, reducing energy consumption, promoting local food and businesses, reducing, reusing and recycling waste, etc. all helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but is also good for our health, our environment, our economy and our society.

Our strategic vision continues to be:

The community working together to minimise Torbay’s greenhouse gas emissions for a more sustainable future

The strategy seeks to support this vision by building on the sustainable practice already in place and the delivery of a more resource efficient council and community, where people are aware of what actions they can take in making a positive impact on the environment.

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear and irrefutable. There will be far reaching effects on ecosystems and communities on a global scale. In Torbay it is predicted (see UK Climate Projections 2009) that the average annual temperature could be up to 4°C higher by 2080 than it was in 1990 leading to a 50% reduction in summer rainfall and a 20% increase in winter rainfall with a sea level rise of up to 90 cms. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. Changes to our climate on this scale will have wide ranging impacts on our water resources, coastal defences, transport, public health, farming practices, wildlife, landscape, and Torbay’s economy. The amount of climate change we experience in Torbay can be lessened by us all playing our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and we can prepare for its impacts in a way which also helps make Torbay a better place to live, work and play, for all of us.

Climate Change Strategy 2014 to 2019
Strategy which provides a framework for the council, its partners and the wider community to help build a low carbon future and make us more resilient to extreme weather events.
Statement of representations - Energy and Climate Change Strategy 2014 to 2019
Details of the consultation process and a full list of the comments received on the draft strategy document and how they were processed.