Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead


Friday, 10 May 2019 4 Comments by Claire

I have just submitted the following motion for the next Devon County Council full meeting, which takes place on Thursday 23 May.

At this stage it’s not clear whether the motion will be heard on the day itself or be referred to cabinet and return to the next full council in July….

I will post updates when I know more!

This council notes its resolution on declaring a climate emergency in Devon, in February.

This council notes also that officers launched the policy on wildflower verges earlier this month. Huge congratulations to the officers who helped bring this about.

The government has now declared a state of climate emergency across the UK, following the actions of Extinction Rebellion.

Climate change and other human activity is now causing species to decline at a rate unprecedented in human history, with three-quarters of land-based environments and two-thirds of the marine environment significantly altered.

Devon County Council, with its positive record on the environment is well placed to work with others to help mitigate the catastrophe coming our way. 

Therefore, this council agrees to:

1. Call on the government to offer all pollinators full legal protection from harm

2. Write to all Devon outlets stocking bee harming pesticides, and urge them to permanently cancel their order with the suppliers

3. Take action to phase out all glyphosate pesticides used in council weed spraying or any other council related activity, by December 2019 (there may be exceptional circumstances such as dealing with specific non native species, such as Japanese knotweed)

4. Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in phasing out the use of inorganic fertilisers (such as nitrogen) by December 2023

5.    Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in setting aside 10 per cent of their land for wildlife and/or wildflower mixes for pollinators

6. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to support Devon County Council tenant farmers to set aside five per cent of their land for tree planting

7. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust on supporting town and parish councils, schools and community groups to set aside land for tree planting

8. Develop a policy on soil health good practice, with an emphasis on allowing land to recover and phasing out damaging chemicals, which are ultimately sterilising the land. This would include setting appropriate and reasonable targets for Devon County Council tenant farmers

9. Work with South West Water on a campaign to save water across the county, with an emphasis on education about future water scarcity. Specifically target town and parish councils, community groups and schools to raise awareness of the importance of good water practice

10.  Support Devon Wildlife Trust’s campaign by calling on the Environment Secretary to allocate a further eight Marine Conservation Zones to Devon’s waters. Details can be found on the DWT website -

Pic: The West Hill wildflower verge a few months after it was seeded.


1. At 04:08 pm on 10th May rob williams wrote:

Claire, i honor your determination to get these points through. It would be great to get these points through, and ban / work around these toxic chemicals in our countryside. The farmers need to understand the effects and use less and less. Im pleased to see this.

2. At 04:35 pm on 10th May Chris Burhop wrote:

Claire this looks like an admirable ambition which I would like to support in whatever way I can. In the event that it doesn’t get the support it deserves, can we petition for something similar at EDDC too? Best of luck with it at DCC.

3. At 11:06 pm on 10th May Jenna Carpenter wrote:

These 10 intentions are achievable.  The inclusion of planting areas for wild flowers and trees on farming land is much welcomed and an excellent way forward.  No more nasty pesticides would help our struggling wildlife, insects and in turn ourselves.  I truly hope we can all pull together to achieve these aims. If only we could include the reduction of culling and eradicate illegal hunting as our wildlife really needs our help as well as ensuring the preservation of our AONB and ensuring planning frameworks properly protect our green environment.  Maybe these for the next list!  These 10 steps are an excellent start.  Planting lots of wildflowers and trees in our own gardens and allowing part of our own gardens to grow wild are immediate ways we can all contribute.  It’s exciting and heartwarming knowing we will be helping our struggling wildlife and countryside.

4. At 11:30 pm on 14th May Joan Kelly wrote:

Hi Claire, while it is admirable to try and save wildlife it’s not always in the best interests of humans. More and more people are suffering allergic reactions to wasp stings. My Daughter has nearly died twice due to wasp stings and only for the Doctors at Torbay Hospital she would have died. She can’t even have the windows open in the car in case she is stung while driving, so these verges will make it hard for people such as her to even visit the countryside. As for making them a protected species it’s laughable and many people will oppose it.
I had a wildlife patch at the bottom of my garden and I have had to cut it back and spray everything with weedkiller as I have been stung and bitten numerous times in the garden.
I don’t know about DCC planting wild flower verges they need to cut the verges before somebody is killed on the lanes.

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