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Portsmouth Climate Action Board

25th January 2021 - Online Zoom Meeting

Chair:

Professor Steve Fletcher (SF) – University of Portsmouth (UOP)

 

Attendees:

Councillor Dave Ashmore (DA) – Portsmouth City Council (PCC)

Jerry Clarke (JC) – Portsmouth International Port

Meg Howson (MH) – Friends of the Earth

Jennifer Jones (JJ) – Sustrans

Su Johnson (SJ) – Crowdfunder

Trevor Mose (TM) – Portsmouth Hospitals Trust

Kelly Nash (KN) – PCC Strategy

Stef Nientowalski (SN) – Shaping Portsmouth

Nick Sebley (NS) – Portsmouth Climate Alliance and UOP Researcher

Tristan Thorn (TT) – PCC Strategy (minutes)

Hayley Turner-McIntyre (HTM) – UOP Students’ Union

Daniel Young (DY) – PCC Planning

Andrew Waggott (AW) – PCC Energy Services

 

Apologies:

Dominique Le Touze – PCC Public Health

Pam Turton – PCC Transport

Steve Labedz – Portsmouth Education Partnership

Mike Sellers – Portsmouth International Port

Welcome and introductions

SF introduced the Climate Board and asked each participant for a quick introduction.

SF outlined the opportunity to work on a new project with Portsmouth City Council and Crowdfunder before inviting SJ to present.

Overview of the Crowdfund Portsmouth competition

SJ outlined that Crowdfunder has supported over 20 businesses and 90 projects in Portsmouth, totalling over £400,000 in raised funds. Crowdfunder and Portsmouth City Council are therefore looking to build on this work to include climate action.

SJ presented slides on the new Crowdfund Portsmouth project which will be based on Crowdfund Plymouth. The competition will focus on grassroots projects and public engagement. Support will be provided to entrants in the form of advertising and advice on fund raising. This will culminate in a final three to five projects, with the winner announced at an awards ceremony. The entrants, finalists and winner will be awarded various amounts of match funding from Portsmouth City Council. The amount awarded is to be confirmed; in Plymouth £5000 match funding was awarded to the winner.

TM asked how match funding will be allocated. KN replied that this is yet to be determined, but it will ensure the winner does not necessarily take all the money.

SF noted that PCC had been very supportive as well as providing match funding. This is therefore a great opportunity to enthuse the city and see what projects the city will choose to address climate change.

 

Conclusions

The board agreed to support the Crowdfund competition in Portsmouth.

The board will input on the terms, judging criteria and allocation of match funding over the next few weeks.

The Crowdfund competition will launch in spring 2021.

 

Actions

SJ, KN and TT to prepare the outline of the Crowdfund Portsmouth project, then present to the board for additional input.

Update on the Climate Board website

NS provided an update on the Climate Board website. Outlining that the intention of the site is to present a positive vision of a carbon neutral Portsmouth. Therefore net-zero emissions can be achieved by addressing other societal issues at the same time.

Each thematic page illustrates the current situation with the use of statistics and case studies. It then shows what has already been done and what the local population can do to further reduce carbon emissions.

The ultimate aim is to motivate residents and communities within Portsmouth to make changes now. This will be done by guiding them in a straight forward way.

KN was very impressed with the amount of information on the website and noted it would take time and resources to ensure it was frequently updated and relevant.

It was also raised that the recently selected Climate Board logo did not feature prominently on the website. NS said that the logo can be added at a later date.

AW mentioned the expanding of the PCC Switched On Portsmouth website, which will be a helpful resource to link to from the Climate Board website.

TM noticed some technical issues with the website. NS replied that he did not create the website so will pass on any concerns. AW also added that about 70% of website views tend to come from mobile devices.

KN suggested that the website should be specific in what it is trying to communicate on some of the pages. The ‘get involved’ page is also an opportunity to list other local groups so that the site can become a local hub for action.

SF thanked NS for all the time and work that had been put into the website.

 

Conclusions

The purpose of the website is to present a positive vision of a carbon neutral Portsmouth and guide residents towards action.

The board members were overall positive and impressed by the website.

Some additional work will need to be done to ensure the website can act as a hub for climate action by signposting other groups, websites and projects.

The final website with be launched between 22nd February and 8th March.

 

Actions

NS to integrate the official Climate Board logo into the website.

NS to signpost local climate groups and projects from the website, eg Switched On Portsmouth, Green Drinks and the Hampshire Wildlife Trust etc.

All board members to send TT or NS a short profile of themselves and the company they represent.

Community engagement and sectoral groups

NS provided an overview of the community engagement plan he has been working on. The overall idea is to invite people interested in different themes (education, business, faith, housing, communication, and politics) to get in contact. They will then be brought together to start a conversation and keep climate change on the agenda.

MH asked if we have shelved the carbon audit and citizens’ assembly strategy. SF added that the original strategy, focusing on the carbon audit and citizens’ assembly, had been paused due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. The strategy has therefore pivoted towards engagement and climate literacy.

KS noted that creating, leading and supporting six community groups will require a lot of time and resources. It would therefore be prudent to focus on a couple of high impact groups and move on to the others once we are able to. NS agreed and will think about resourcing the groups.

MH suggested that we use volunteers for a citizens’ assembly. However, NS noted this would undermine the legitimacy of the assembly if only those that are interested attend.

DY asked if harder to reach groups in society would be covered by these new thematic groups. The average person will not come forward looking to join a group. NS accepted this was a concern and asked if DY, or Portsmouth City Council, were able to research this.

 

Conclusions

Using the new website the community engagement will focus on getting interested people together to discuss climate change and different sectoral actions.

The strategy is now focusing on engagement and climate literacy due to the covid-19 pandemic.

We will have to reconsider how a citizens’ assembly and carbon audit can be conducted after reviewing changes over the last year.

 

Actions

NS to set up an initial set of sectoral groups to engage on climate change.

DY and PCC to look into how to engage with hard to reach groups.

Overview of the business engagement strategy

TT presented the progress on the business engagement plan, which both TT and SN have been working on. The business engagement plan will also form part of the community engagement strategy. The core aims of the business engagement plan are to:

  • Guide and support businesses in measuring their sources of carbon emissions.
  • Advise businesses on how they can reduce their carbon emissions.
  • Signpost businesses towards available funding and support them in applying for it.
  • Support businesses in the behaviour change of their staff, customers and clients.

The business engagement plan will ultimately lead to an accreditation and reward scheme. This will allow local businesses to showcase their climate credentials across the city via the Climate Board and board members’ networks.

The first step towards this will be the completion of an easy to use the small business carbon audit. This will be released as part of the launch, once the website has been completed.

AW suggested that the Board work with the University of Portsmouth and Greentech South. TT agreed that we should signpost to Greentech South on the website and was open to any collaboration with the University.

After TT raised concerns about businesses keeping to their pledge DA suggested that the accreditation scheme would be self-policing. This would be encouraged if we featured participants on the website.

JC referenced the difficulty the Port has in reducing carbon emissions due to unforeseen events and expansion during certain years. NS questioned how the Port could expand while aiming to reduce emissions. However, it was broadly agreed that the Port has made a lot of progress and this was a complex issue. TT also mentioned that different industrial sectors are not all able to reduce their emissions at the same pace. We should therefore encourage progress not just perfection.

 

Conclusions

The business engagement plan and pledge will work as part of the overall community engagement strategy.

The plan will focus on small and micro businesses to assist them in reducing their carbon emissions.

The engagement plan will ultimately lead to a pledge and accreditation to showcase climate conscious businesses in the city.

 

Actions

TT to prepare the final draft of the carbon audit to launch with the website.

TT to work with SN to launch the new business engagement plan and pledge across the PCC and Shaping Portsmouth networks.

Overview of the Carbon Literacy Project

NS explained the purpose of the Carbon Literacy Project and the accredited course. NS outlined that the charity and course were chosen to inspire people to come together as a group, bond and work as a community. Therefore the course will work as part of the community engagement strategy and draw people to the website.

TT stated that PCC were also looking to conduct the course internally; and welcomed any other board members to contact him if they would like additional details.

SF also mentioned that the University of Portsmouth will be conducting the course internally. It was also noted that TT, MH and NS have taken the course and are accredited to conduct courses themselves.

 

Conclusions

An accredited carbon literacy course will be offered to Portsmouth residents as part of the launch of the website.

The course is accredited by the Carbon Literacy Project and focuses on increasing awareness and knowledge around carbon emissions and climate change.

 

Actions

NS to prepare the accredited carbon literacy course to launch with the website.

Review of the Climate Board's year

SF and TT provided an overview of the KISS (keep, improve, start, stop) review method. The KISS review is part of the requirement to review the Climate Board’s progress each year.

Due to time constraints it was agreed that the bulk of this review will take place through an online document.

 

Conclusions

To review the Climate Board’s progress each board member will contribute to the KISS document.

 

Actions

TT to create and circulate the KISS document

All board members to contribute at least one point under each KISS heading in the document before the next board meeting.

Review of the terms of reference and membership

NS stated that he is now representing the Portsmouth Climate Alliance. This is an alliance of Let Pompey Breathe, Green Drinks and the Milton Neighbourhood Forum.

KN was concerned that Extinction Rebellion (XR) were involved in the formation of the Climate Board and suggested we contact XR to see if they would like to suggest a substitute member and/or additional seat.

DA also raised that he had been contacted by XR requesting a seat on the Climate Board.

NS responded that he represents XR in Portsmouth, therefore contacting the group would not be necessary. XR will be represented through the Portsmouth Climate Alliance.

SF stated he was happy for the Portsmouth Climate Alliance to act as an umbrella organisation for the groups.

JJ provided an overview of Sustrans and the potential Portsmouth has to improve active travel. Sustrans is therefore looking to support progress through a number of schemes and objectives, eg School Streets and low-traffic neighbourhoods. Sustrans are also aiming to raise ambition for active travel in the city and support those in the community that are not normally represented.

DA praised the work of Sustrans finding their reports and studies helpful and informative. Particularly demonstrating that walking and cycling can be positive for businesses.

TT explained the options for additional political representation; including inviting a representative from all political parties.

DA stated that he considered himself to be representing the Council at the meetings, but is open to other options.

SF thanked DA for his input and always remaining apolitical in meetings. It was widely agreed that the board could become over represented by the Council, and too political, if additional political representatives were added.

MH suggested that we create an additional subgroup to prevent the board from becoming oversubscribed.

SF agreed with MH and proposed keeping the existing membership arrangement, but create a subgroup to progress with political representation.

SF announced that the expansion of the Board’s work was making it harder to meet all commitments. Therefore it was suggested that two additional co-chair roles be created to support the Board in developing ideas and progressing on the engagement strategy. Each board member is therefore encouraged to nominate themselves, or someone else, to work as co-chair. The nominations will then be voted on by the board members.

 

Conclusions

NS will now represent the Portsmouth Climate Alliance.

It was agreed that Sustrans become a member of the board.

The current political representation, in the form of DA representing the Council, will continue.

To help shoulder the workload of the Board two additional co-chair positions will be created.

 

Actions

TT to arrange a cross-party political subgroup. TT, the chair and co-chairs to draft an agenda for an initial meeting.

TT to send out a description of the co-chair role and organise a vote for the role.