Monday, 13 December 2021 17:01

Western Sydney councils adopt first urban heat controls

Home with light coloured roof surrounded by dark coloured roofs. Home with light coloured roof surrounded by dark coloured roofs.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) in partnership with its members has developed NSW’s first guidance on planning for urban heat – the Urban Heat Planning Toolkit – with the first planning controls for heat entering new LEP and DCPs this month.

WSROC President Clr Barry Calvert said, “In 2018 the Greater Sydney Commission identified urban heat as an issue that councils needed to address through the planning system.

“There was no argument that heat needed to be addressed in Western Sydney, the question for councils was ‘How do we do that’?

“WSROC’s Urban Heat Planning Toolkit was developed to assist council planners working in this new and complex area of planning. The toolkit identifies design measures to reduce the impacts of urban heat, identifies how each measure works, summarises key evidence, and notes 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 (e.g. canopy cover or water management) to better address heat.
    3. Addressing measures beyond the scope of local planning controls.

“A year on, it is extremely heartening to see the first controls specifically addressing urban heat being delivered through the current round of DCP and LEPs.

“This process has shown us that heat is not just a Western Sydney issue. WSROC has received significant interest from councils outside Western Sydney, from the elsewhere in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, regional NSW, and even interstate.

“While we are excited to see what councils can achieve, it’s important to note that there are many things outside council control such as energy and thermal comfort requirements,” said Clr Calvert.

“Further, around half of new development in Western Sydney bypasses council planning controls, many through complying development pathways,” said Clr Calvert.

“It is essential that cool planning is addressed across all parts of the planning system, and we are very pleased to see that the NSW Government is looking at it’s own controls including lighter coloured roofs,” said Clr Calvert.

 uh toolkit pic

The following council planning instruments feature new urban heat controls.

Several additional Western Sydney councils also have draft instruments due to be publically exhibited in December 2021 and January 2022.

Last modified on Friday, 17 December 2021 15:39