The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has developed the state’s first set of guidelines on planning for urban heat.
The Urban Heat Planning Toolkit is designed to help local governments strengthen their planning provisions to reduce the impacts of heat.
The resource will help council planners address urban heat within the new and complex planning regime, WSROC says.
President Barry Calvert says the Greater Sydney Commission in 2018 identified urban heat as an issue that councils need to address via the planning system.
“There was no argument that heat is a major issue for Western Sydney, the question for councils was ‘How do we do that’,” Cr Calvert says.
The toolkit identifies design measures to reduce the impacts of urban heat, and looks at how each measure works and the capacity of council planning to address it.
The Toolkit has three types of recommendations:
1. New LEP and DCP provisions specifically for urban heat.
2. Improvements to existing provisions, such as canopy cover or water management, to better address heat.
3. Addressing measures beyond the scope of local planning controls.
Cr Calvert says WSROC expects more urban heat clauses to be released over the next 12 months.
“While we are excited to see what councils can achieve, it’s important to note that there are many planning issues that are outside councils’ control such as, energy and thermal comfort requirements,” he says.
State must step up
Cr Calvert says councils are doing their bit, but about half of new development in Western Sydney bypasses council planning controls.
“It is essential that cool planning is addressed across all parts of the planning system. While promising advances were being made under the Design & Place SEPP, that work has unfortunately been overturned in recent weeks.
“We hope the NSW government will improve urban heat mitigation measures in future state planning policies, so that local controls are backed by clear state-level guidance,” he said.
The need for the Planning Toolkit was identified as a priority under WSROC’s Turn Down the Heat
Strategy and Action Plan.
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