Amendment C71: Environmentally efficient design local planning policy

About Amendment C71 Environmentally Efficient Design

Amendment C71 introduces Local Planning Policy 22.08 Environmentally Efficient Design.

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The policy provides objectives and application requirements for residential, mixed use and non-residential development. The policy recognises the importance of considering environmentally sustainable design at the time of planning approval for new development so as to maximise sustainable design outcomes and minimise costs associated with retrofit and poor design.

Under the policy, development applications will need to submit a Sustainable Design Statement or a Sustainability Management Plan, of which is determined by the size of a development.

The Statement and Management Plans need to respond to design objectives in the following areas:

  • energy efficiency
  • water resources
  • indoor environmental quality
  • storm water management
  • transport
  • waste management
  • innovation, and
  • urban ecology.

Expiry date update: Amendment GC131 Gazetted on 27 May 2019

Amendment GC131 makes changes to the expiry clause within Merri-bek's ESD Policy, removing the specific expiry date and detailing the policy will expire if it is superseded by a comparable provision in the Victoria Planning Provisions. This change is also applied to local ESD policies within other Planning Schemes for a consistent expiry clause.

Status update: Amendment Gazetted on 19 November 2015

Amendment C71 was gazetted on 19 November 2015 and the ESD Policy comes into effect from this date.

Council consideration and adoption of Amendment 

On 11 June 2014 Council considered the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee and Planning Panel and adopted a revised version of the Environmentally Sustainable Design Local Planning Policy (DOC 1Mb)

In July 2014 Council submitted Amendment C71 to the Minister for Planning for approval.

Combined Ministerial Advisory Committee and Planning Panel

On 19 June 2013, Council received notification from DPCD that the Minister for Planning had decided to appoint a combined Panel and Ministerial Advisory Committee to consider submissions on the six amendments (Moreland C71, Banyule C71, Port Phillip C97, Stonnington C177, Whitehorse C130 and Yarra C133).

A standard planning panel considers a proposed amendment and any issues raised in submissions and makes recommendation as to the appropriateness of the proposed amendment to the Merri-bek Planning Scheme.  A combined Panel and Advisory Committee will consider issues beyond planning system and make broader recommendations regarding the building system and other relevant legislations, as detailed in the Terms of Reference (ToR).

A combined Planning Panel and Ministerial Advisory Committee was held on 25, 26, 28 and 29 November 2013 and 3, 9, 16 and 17 December 2013.  

Advisory Committee and Panel Report

The C71 EED Policy - Advisory Committee and Panel Report (PDF 1Mb) for Merri-bek's Planning Scheme Amendment was received on 9 April 2014. Under the terms of reference of the Advisory Committee, the report was sent to the 6 Councils involved and the Minister for Planning simultaneously.

The Councils have 28 days within which to make the report publically available. However, due to the positive nature of the recommendations and in light of Council not being able to formally consider the report prior to that time, the early release of the report simultaneously with the other Councils occured on 17 April 2014. 

The report is structured in two main parts. Part A: General Issues discusses the broader issues around sustainable development in the planning and building systems and Part B: Amendments provides comments on the Amendments as exhibited by the 6 Councils.

In its report, the Panel and Advisory Committee (PAC) noted that (p50):

The Committee acknowledges that the Amendment Councils have developed these policies in response to a lack of Statewide approach and are to be commended for their vision and commitment” and goes on to note “even if a Statewide policy is introduced, local policies may still be appropriate where municipalities seek to ‘raise the bar higher’ either in specific locations, or where the community has higher sustainability expectations”.

In summary, the PAC has recommended that Amendment C71 be adopted generally as exhibited, with some changes to the wording of the policy. It was also recommended the Policy include a sunset clause to enable a review of the Policy should there be the introduction of a Statewide approach to sustainability.  

The Report outlines 26 Findings, which relate to the discussion in Part A : General Issues and include:

  • There is a strong legislative and policy framework that supports the need for sustainable development and which recognises that both planning and building have a significant role to play in achieving it.
  • There is a role and statutory obligation for planning to advance sustainability.
  • While the existing State Planning Policy Framework and Victoria Planning Provisions provide a good starting point for the inclusion of sustainability, there are clear areas for improvement.
  • There are clear positive economic, social and environmental benefits to be gained through improved sustainable development outcomes in planning.
  • The approach to sustainability in planning schemes be further reviewed to provide a more coherent, strengthened approach to implementation. This should be based on a Statewide approach and include stronger, higher guidance in the State Planning Policy Framework and Clause 65, as a minimum, with consideration of a range of options.

The Report includes a further 10 recommendations, which relate to the discussion in Part B: Amendments and include:

  • The Policy title be reinstate to ‘Environmentally Sustainable Development’ as proposed pre-exhibition.
  • The Sustainable Design Assessment, in the Planning Process Fact Sheets in existence at the time of the Amendment exhibition, be adopted in the local policies as reference documents.
  • Adopt Merri-bek Planning Scheme Amendment C71 generally as exhibited with the Local Policy.

View the C71 EED Policy - Advisory Committee and Panel Report - Environmentally Efficient Design (PDF 1Mb).

Clause 22.14 Environmentally Efficient Design will provide a range of additional benefits 

The Policy:

  • Ensures developers engage in a holistic and ‘best practice’ approach to sustainable design suited to the scale of the development proposed. 
  • Encourages development to exceed the environmental sustainable design principles assessed under Building Code requirements which are generally considered minimum standards.
  • Responds to the deficiencies of the Building Code such as considering energy intensity for greenhouse gas reduction and peak energy demand reduction, stormwater reuse, alternative water sources (e.g. greywater), stormwater impacts, the life cycle of building materials, indoor environment quality, sustainable transport, construction and operational waste management, and urban ecology.   
  • Extends ESD principles contained in Clause 54, 55 and 56 of the Planning Scheme beyond residential development. 
  • Provides Council’s planners, landowners and developers with clear environmental objectives for development and the information required to demonstrate objectives are achieved. 
  • Avoids lengthy discussions about technical terms and interpretation through the incorporation of clear objectives and requirements.
  • Reduces the need for further information requests and facilitates a more efficient processing of applications.
  • Encourages more informed and complete submissions of planning permit applications.

At the request of the Minister, the Amendment was placed on Public Exhibition concurrently with Amendments for the Banyule (C73), Port Phillip (C97), Whitehorse (C130) and Yarra (C133) Planning Schemes which also propose to introduce the Environmentally Efficient Design Local Policy.

The Environmentally Efficient Design (EED) Local Policy provides objectives and application requirements for residential, mixed use and non-residential development.

Submissions received

Twenty-five (25) submissions to Merri-bek Planning Scheme Amendment C71 were received of which two (2) objected, ten (10 requested changes and thirteen (13) supported the proposed policy. 

There was significant support for the policy from local governments across the State.

The key objectors were the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and a Port Phillip resident.

Key issues raised through the submission included:

  • Duplication of Building Code Requirements
  • Role of the State Planning Policy Framework
  • Formalising an existing voluntary process
  • Definition of best practice
  • Absence of targets
  • Affordability impacts
  • Single dwellings and extensions, and
  • Change the Policy name.

At its meeting on 10 July 2013, Council resolved to request the Minister for Planning appoint a Panel to consider any submissions and the proposed Amendment C71 to the Merri-bek Planning Scheme. For further information refer to the Council Report (DOC 149Kb).

Amendment documents

Download the documents relating to this Amendment:

Supporting documents

Environmentally sustainable design examples

Visit the environmentally sustainable design page for examples of supporting documents that can be included with a development application, including example plans and reports and factsheets covering the 10 key sustainable building categories. 

Councils who are running the C71 amendment at the same time

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