Wednesday, 05 December 2018 17:10

West launches strategy to turn down the heat Featured

Top left: WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert launching the Turn Down the Heat Strategy. Top right: Blacktown CEO Kerry Robinson talking to guests about the opportunities and challenges for heat mitigation in new developments. Bottom left: Members of the WSROC Executive and Turn Down the Heat Steering Committee (left to right): Cr Don McGregor, Cr George Campbell, Cr Barry Calvert, Beck Dawson, Professor Phillip O'Neill and Charles Casuscelli. Bottom left: Launch participants test heat absorption of various building materials with temperature sensor gun. Top left: WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert launching the Turn Down the Heat Strategy. Top right: Blacktown CEO Kerry Robinson talking to guests about the opportunities and challenges for heat mitigation in new developments. Bottom left: Members of the WSROC Executive and Turn Down the Heat Steering Committee (left to right): Cr Don McGregor, Cr George Campbell, Cr Barry Calvert, Beck Dawson, Professor Phillip O'Neill and Charles Casuscelli. Bottom left: Launch participants test heat absorption of various building materials with temperature sensor gun.

Media release, 5 December, 2018

 

TDTHSWith another scorching summer on the way[1], the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has released its plan for cooler, more resilient communities.

Developed in partnership with 55 stakeholder organisations, the Turn Down the Heat Strategy and Action Plan is the first comprehensive, multi-sector approach to tackling heat in Western Sydney.

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert said “Heat is arguably the greatest natural threat to the Western Sydney community[2] - yet we do not take heat as seriously as we do bushfires, floods or storms.

“During a heatwave hospitalisations surge, power bills skyrocket, infrastructure breaks down, and traffic worsens. These impacts are magnified in Western Sydney, where temperatures can be 10 degrees hotter than the city’s East[3].

“These impacts are especially felt by our vulnerable communities who may not be able to afford air-conditioning, have limited transport access to seek relief, or have existing medical conditions which are aggravated by heat,” he said.

“The impacts of heat are expected to worsen over the next decade as Western Sydney develops and becomes more densely populated.[4]  Without action, 50-degree days could become a regular occurrence in Western Sydney,” said Cr Calvert.

“The good news is there are many things we can do to mitigate and build resilience to heat. Turn Down the Heat identifies five key areas which are crucial for tackling heat. These include: 

  • Take action, together
  • Cool with greenspace and water
  • Design and plan to cool the built environment
  • Innovative and responsive infrastructure
  • Build a community that is healthy and prepared

While there is already some great work being done to address heat, action remains fragmented.

“A key objective of this Strategy is to bring people together for a coordinated approach to mitigating, planning and responding to heat events,” said Cr Calvert.

“The Strategy also seeks to facilitate cooler communities by integrating three key pillars of cool urban design: material choice, greenspace and water. When used together, these mitigations can lower temperatures, cut power bills and reduce pressure on our energy grid,” he said.

“Even so, we will still have hot weather. Infrastructure must be designed to cope with fluctuations in temperature and demand so that water, energy and public transport are available when people need them most,” said Cr Calvert.

“Community education and preparedness is also critical. We must ensure people have the knowledge and resources to manage heat at the local level. This may include making small home modifications, knowing how to look after themselves and others during hot weather,” he said.

“One program that is already progressing in partnership with Resilient Sydney and the Greater Sydney Commission is Cool Suburbs.

Cool Suburbs is a voluntary rating system under which developments can choose to receive a Cool Score – a measurement of the site’s ability to stay cool and comfortable. We hope Cool Suburbs will raise awareness of the link between heat and urban design; encouraging cooler developments,” said Cr Calvert.

“However, this is just one example. No single project or organisation can tackle heat alone, which is why WSROC will be working with its partner organisations for a holistic approach to heat.

“Together, we can build a cooler, more resilient future for Western Sydney,” said Cr Calvert.

The Strategy’s implementation will be guided by a steering committee made up of representatives from WSROC, Western Sydney University, Western Sydney Local Health District, Greater Sydney Commission, Resilient Sydney, Department of Planning, and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

[ENDS]

 

Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, 02 9671 4333 (ext. 118), 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

[1] Bureau of Meteorology. Warmer than average summer days and nights for Australia. Climate outlooks – monthly and seasonal. November 2018.

[2] City of Sydney. Resilient Sydney: A strategy for city resilience 2018. 2018.

[3] Sydney Water. Cooling Western Sydney: A strategic study on the role of water in mitigating urban heat in Western Sydney. 2017.

[4] NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Urban heat – Climate change impact snapshot. November 2015.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 13:10

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