Posted on December 13, 2017 by

Let’s talk about going green: Call for submissions on draft Greener Places Policy

The Government Architect of NSW is currently seeking submissions on the draft policy Greener Places: Establishing an Urban Green Infrastructure Policy for New South Wales (‘Greener Places‘) which seeks to guide the planning and the delivery of the State’s network of green spaces and natural and semi-natural systems including parks, rivers, bushland and private gardens (collectively termed ‘green infrastructure’).

What Greener Places does

Greener Places is a high-level policy document that sets a framework through which ‘greener’ places can be achieved through:

  • advocating for greener places, spaces and outcomes;
  • supporting industry and government to deliver green infrastructure;
  • enabling effective outcomes in the planning, design and delivery of green infrastructure;
  • raising awareness of what the NSW Government means by green infrastructure and its importance;
  • providing clear, consistent principles to achieve green infrastructure throughout the development process;
  • providing a framework for examining places and reviewing proposal from a green infrastructure perspective; and
  • establishing key concepts and shared terminology associated with green infrastructure.

Objectives of Greener Places

Greener Places acknowledges that green infrastructure is an integral part of city planning because it delivers a range of environmental, economic and social benefits.  To this end, it seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to protect, conserve and enhance NSW’s network of green and open natural and cultural spaces;
  2. to secure a network of high quality, high performing and well-designed green space, establishing a crucial component of urban infrastructure to address the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century;
  3. to promote healthy living, encouraging physical activity, social cohesion, and enhancing well being by providing liveable places for the NSW community;
  4. to create a more strategic approach to planning for green infrastructure, encouraging early and integrated investment through statutory planning; and
  5. to deliver better tools for the delivery of green infrastructure across NSW.

Principles of green infrastructure

Greener Places is underpinned by the following principles which drive how green infrastructure can improve urban environments within the State:

  • Integration – integrating green infrastructure with urban development and grey infrastructure
  • Connectivity – creating an interconnected network of open space
  • Multifunctionality – delivering multiple ecosystems simultaneously
  • Participation – involving stakeholders in development and implementation

How will Greener Places fit within the context of the regulatory framework

Greener Spaces will be the overarching policy document which will set out the State’s position on green infrastructure.  It will provide guidance to policies and plans at state, regional and local levels such as state environmental planning policies, development control plans and specific public domain guides.

How will Greener Places be implemented

Greener Places is proposed to be implemented by the following measures:

Statutory measures – It is proposed that the final policy should operate within the strategic framework established in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and it would be implemented through statutory reforms which include:

  • inclusion of green infrastructure strategic planning outcomes and requirements in regional plans (including the Greater Sydney Regional Plan) and district plans with Green Infrastructure considered as essential infrastructure considered as essential infrastructure;
  • inclusion of green infrastructure in land use and infrastructure plans, priority precincts and with funding through special infrastructure contributions where appropriate;
  • development of model council DCP clauses regarding Greener Places requirements to assist councils in implementing the requirements of the policy and related guidelines at the local level.

Collaborative action – It acknowledges that a collaborative approach between government, stakeholders and communities is required to ensure a greater understanding of the policy and encourage by-in from the broader community.

Funding – A range of funding mechanisms will be identified to deliver green infrastructure and promoted to stakeholders.

The period for public consultation on the draft policy will close on 26 February 2018.

A copy of the draft policy can be found here.

For any advice about Greener Spaces or any environmental or planning matters please contact Carlo Zoppo, Partner on (02) 8235 9701.