The Future Oxfordshire Partnership Environment Advisory Group


HELD on Friday 26 November 2021 at 10.00 am

Virtual via MS Teams





Councillors: David Harvey, Tom Hayes, Andrea Powell, David Rouane,

Pete Sudbury, Catherine Webber and Barry Wood


Officers: Sarah Gilbert, (Oxfordshire County Council), Suzanne Malcolm, (Deputy Chief Executive - Place, South and Vale Councils), Heather Saunders, (South and Vale Councils), Michele Smith, (Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Team) and Babatunde Ogundele, (South and Vale Councils)




18         Appointment of temporary Chair for this advisory group meeting


The clerk opened the meeting, as there was no current Chair. The meeting agreed that Councillor David Rouane be appointed as Chair for the meeting.




19         Apologies for absence and notification of substitutions; declarations of interest and Chair's announcements


Apologies were submitted by Councillor Dan Sames, Cherwell District Council, (substituted by Councillor Barry Wood).




20         Notes of the previous meeting


The notes from the previous meeting were accepted as an accurate record of matters discussed during the meeting.




21         Delivering a Zero Carbon Oxfordshire Route Map and Action Plan Proposal


The advisory group considered a report presented by Sarah Gilbert, Climate Action Team Leader, Oxfordshire County Council which set out a proposed scope of work and approach, governance, costs and next steps arising the advisory groups review of the Pathways to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire, (PaZCO) She highlighted the fact that the advisory group has been very interested in sending officers away to look at how academic reports could  be converted into something that gives a delivery plan for Oxfordshire and how the councils could  work collectively and communicate to residents.


It was highlighted that PaZCO is aiming to achieve net zero by 2050.


Sarah Gilbert proposed a short/medium term piece of work which would be a piece of consultancy work that would bring together the partners of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership, NHS and wider key stakeholders in the county to develop a more short-term map based on the PaZCO map and this will have a 2030 focus instead, which was more reasonable, and progress could in turn be tracked more efficiently.


The piece of work would report to the Environment Advisory Group and would be governed by a small stakeholder group that will include the Environmental Advisory Group Officer Group, and it would also bring in several other key stakeholders including the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, (OxLEP).


It was also highlighted that the Environmental Change Institute who wrote the original PaZCO report were willing to render help where they could.


Members were asked to give feedback on this piece of work and if they supported the recommendation that the report go to the Future Oxfordshire Partnership meeting on the 25th of January 2022 via the Executive Officer Group on the 16th of December 2021.


In terms of ambition, it was agreed that there should be greater focus on the current decade to improve efficiency.


The importance of lobbying the government for funding through the Future Oxfordshire Partner and putting pressure on MPs was also highlighted.


It was also highlighted that no mention had been made on big infrastructure structures like the proposed Abingdon reservoir, and how such structures would have an impact on carbon footprint.


Councillor Tom Hayes spoke about the importance on working with sector leaders, particularly regarding transport.


Members acknowledged there were significant budgetary implications for implementation of PaZCO and of the wider ambitions around environment and climate.




22         Retrofitting Presentation


Heather Saunders, Energy Strategy and Projects Officer, South and Vale Councils presented a group of slides that set out an overview of current action by Oxfordshire councils on domestic retrofitting and which sought a steer from the Environment Advisory Group on the shape of a programme of work.


It was agreed the slides should be circulated with the minutes.


In discussion, Councillor Peter Sudbury asked how the figure presented which put carbon price at £60 a tonne came about. Officers responded that this figure was taken from the London Plan requirements and it is believed this had now  gone up to £90 a tonne.


Councillor Andrea Powell highlighted the need for lower income households to be prioritised as they would not have the available funds to pay in order to upgrade their homes.


Councillor Tom Hayes proposed requesting a representative of OxLEP to come and present what they were doing to try and stimulate heat pump installation across the County. This was a particular issue, due to the lack of trained engineers to undertake the installation. This suggestion was welcomed by the group.




23         HM Government Climate Action- Policy Announcements


It was requested to have the briefing notes on HM Government’s Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy as separate PDF documents so they could be shared.




24         Environment Advisory Group communications approach


Michele Smith, Communications and Engagement Advisor, Oxfordshire Plan 2050, updated the advisory group on initial work across the county with regard to climate action communications and communications relating to the advisory group. It was noted a communications strategy had not yet been fully developed, and it was agreed that it would come back to the next meeting.




25         Future work programme


The group agreed that communication needed to be looked upon and the need to invite OxLEP for a presentation relating to stimulating the provision of heat pumps installation across the County.


It was concluded that ‘Ideas and Innovation’ should be put on the work programme for the next meeting.


The group considered a representation from Jayne Manley, Chair of the Oxfordshire Environment Board, (OEB) regarding opportunities for the OEB and the advisory group to work together and around potential representation of the OEB within the membership of the advisory group. In discussion, members felt that the group should focus on local authority activity, however that would not preclude involving external organisations/representations, like the OEB, in the future.




26         Dates of future meetings


28/01/2022 – 10:00 – 12:00

24/03/2022 – 10:00 – 12:00