Why do we need an Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Local Planning Policy?

The primary purpose of an ESD Local Planning Policy is to achieve best practice in ESD from design stage right through to construction and beyond for both new residential and non-residential buildings. The justifications for including requirements to achieve sustainable development were clearly set out by findings of the Environmentally Efficient Design Advisory Committee for the first round of Councils. Preparation of the ESD Local Policy has been identified as a piece of further strategic work in the Darebin Municipal Strategic Statement.

These proposed changes to planning requirements for residential and non-residential developments will help to:

- Improve amenity and liveability of homes

- Reduce energy use and associated costs- Reduce waste to landfill.

As a result the GC42 Amendment will introduce an ESD Local Planning Policy into the Darebin Planning Scheme and strength the ability for Council to consider ESD early in the design process.

What are the benefits of considering ESD at the planning stage?

It will assist to:

- Optimise a building’s design as early as possible – when it comes at the lowest cost. 

- Provide planning certainty in relation to ESD by addressing Building Code of Australia (BCA) energy efficiency requirements as early as possible. 

- Factors such as a building’s orientation, external shading, re-use of water or the materials used can make a lasting difference to the environment and provide improved indoor comfort. 

- Building to best practice standards today not only future-proofs occupants against the rising costs of power and water but commonly commands higher property returns in the future.

Darebin Council has implemented the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) since 2008 under a voluntary arrangement. Application requirements relate to the size and type of development. More information about the process can be found here.

What does Amendment GC42 do?

Amendment GC42 introduces an ESD Local Planning Policy into the Darebin Planning Scheme. A Local Planning Policy will enable planning applications to be assessed against a range of ESD objectives including:

- Energy – reducing energy use 

- Water – improving water efficiency and reducing the use of mains water 

- Indoor environmental quality - improving ventilation, reducing the need for mechanical heating and cooling and minimising noise transfer

- Stormwater management – reducing the impact and improving the quality of stormwater run-off 

- Transport – encouraging walking, cycling and public transport and minimise dependency on cars

- Waste management – promoting waste avoidance, reuse and recycling 

- Urban Ecology – providing environmentally sustainable landscapes and natural habitats.

Hence an ESD Policy in the Darebin Planning Scheme will implement sustainable design principles in the planning process that will assist to achieve improved development outcomes.

What are the application requirements set out by the proposed ESD Local Planning Policy?

The Policy sets out application requirements for particular types of developments. More specifically, it will prescribe when a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) or a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) needs to be prepared and submitted with a planning permit application. Developments comprising 3 – 9 dwellings will require an SDA whilst development of 10 or more dwellings will trigger preparation and submission of an SMP with a planning permit application. All non-residential buildings with a gross floor area between 100sqm and 999sqm would require the submission of an SDA, and a non-residential development with a gross floor area of 1000m2 or more will require an SMP.

What are the Sustainability Assessment Tools?

A new online sustainability assessment tool, Built Environment Sustainable Scorecard (BESS) will replace Sustainable Tools for Environmental Performance Strategy (STEPS) and Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS) overtime. The information required to complete a BESS assessment is simple for small developments and increases in complexity for larger developments. Once BESS is established STEPS and SDS will be phased out. To find out more visit the BESS website. http://www.bess.net.au/

How long will it take me to prepare an SDA?

A Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) can be prepared by the applicant and commonly does not need to be prepared by an expert in the ESD field.

We highly recommend using the free online sustainability assessment tool BESS and submit a printout report with your application.

Can the applicant complete a SMP?

In most situations a Sustainable Management Plan (SMP) will require expert advice from a suitably qualified person such as an environmental engineer or specialist ESD consultant. The qualifications, skills and experience of any consultant engaged to complete an SMP should be checked by the applicant prior to engaging their services. Being qualified to complete thermal ratings alone may not be sufficient to adequately complete an SMP.

Who should I speak to if I need further information?

If you would like to discuss any questions in relation to Amendment GC42 or how to prepare a SDA please visit the Statutory Planning counter at the City of Darebin, Level 1, 274 Gower Street, Preston.

How do I make a submission?

Any person who may be affected by the Amendment may make a submission to the planning authority. Submissions about the Amendment must be received by Tuesday 15 March 2016.

A submission must be sent to:

Darebin City Council
Coordinator Strategic Planning
PO Box 91
Preston Victoria 3072
Or via email: planningservices@darebin.vic.gov.au