Environment and Sustainability

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Our Environment Strategy(PDF, 3MB) outlines our response to environmental issues and the influence we can have. 

The role of local government in the management of the environment involves natural resource management, community education, greenhouse gas abatement, climate change adaptation and in the planning system.

We embrace our role at a local level to ensure sustainable practices and have a responsibility to:

  • Operate as a business to deliver community and infrastructure services
  • Manage Council and public assets
  • Regulate development
  • Act as a leader, advocate and educator for greener living.

We have also developed a Greenhouse Action Plan(PDF, 2MB) through the Cities for Climate Protection program, which involves the completion of five milestones:

  1. Conduct an inventory and forecast for Community and Corporate (Council) greenhouse gas emissions;\
  2. Establish an emissions reduction goal
  3. Develop and adopt a Local Action Plan
  4. Implement the Local Action Plan
  5. Monitor and report on implementation of the Local Action Plan.

We successfully completed the first two milestones with the formal adoption of an Emissions Reduction Goal of 20 per cent reduction in corporate emissions on 2005-2006 levels by 2015-2016, and a 20 per cent reduction in community emissions on 2005-2006 levels by 2015-2016.

We have already achieved many significant gains in addressing climate change in relation to managing public assets. These include:

  • The development and ongoing implementation of a Sustainable Water Use Plan
  • An inventory of streetlights that has identified dayburning lights
  • Ongoing action to seek funding to improve and upgrade assets
  • Provision of support to community groups who manage Council assets
  • Ongoing improvement and upgrading of assets through the capital works program.

Solar power

As part of the Solar North East project, we funded the installation of solar photovoltaic energy systems on four community venues across our Shire.

The systems benefit many community groups that use these venues, and they will all receive the Transitional Feed-In Tariff for energy fed back into the grid.

They include:

  • Coulston Park facility in Tangambalanga
  • Baarmutha Park facility in Beechworth
  • Chiltern Recreation Reserve facility
  • Wahgunyah School of Arts.

We encourage our residents to adopt the power of the sun and install solar systems and have produced a solar guide(PDF, 25MB) to help them.  

Producing your own renewable energy by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels is a great way to reduce your electricity bills and carbon footprint. Making an investment in solar may secure your future energy needs and protect your property from the uncertainty of rising electricity costs over the long-term.

In a typical home with solar panels, part or all of your energy usage may be met by solar generation while the sun is shining. Any excess solar energy is exported to the grid. Shortfalls, most often experienced in the evening and overnight, are met by importing electricity from the grid.

You can take it one step further by adding a battery which can help save money. When you add a battery to a rooftop solar system or install a battery and rooftop solar panels together in a new system, the excess solar energy not used at home during the day is used to charge the battery.

There are various battery storage products available that have a wide range of functionality and performance.

Our information pack(PDF, 5MB) provides answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Documents

Home Battery Storage Systems Guide(PDF, 5MB)

Solar Guide(PDF, 25MB)

Green lighting

Street lights were significantly upgraded in 2015 to 18W LED lights which are more energy efficient than the former 80W Mercury Vapour.

It was part of the LEDing by Example project; our largest energy reduction project, reducing energy use, operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project included the changeover of standard mercury vapour street lights on residential and Council-managed roads (it excluded decorative street lightning and VicRoads-managed roads).

Approximately 98 per cent of the old lights were also recycled.

Did you know? The luminaire (the main body of the light) will last about 20 years. The lamps or globes will last at least five years and probably longer. The photoelectric cells last eight years and the poles last around 35 years.

Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance

We are an active participant and member of the Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance (GBGA).

Working groups made up from Councils, other government and non-government agencies and business, industry and community groups work together to achieve project goals and reduce greenhouse emissions in our region.

Sustainable planning

We work with local developers to ensure energy-efficient building outcomes and ensure all of our own projects meet the same standards.

We also take sustainable approaches to our own developments and assets.

We have a role in regulating land use and development to ensure the effects of climate change are considered in new developments.

Regulation of land use and development is primarily achieved through the application of the planning scheme. Of particular relevance is:

  • Our revised Municipal Strategic Statement: This provides key policy background and a platform for Council's views on development. It identifies climate change as a specific issue and is linked with key objectives and strategies.
  • Presence of Floodway Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and Environmental Significance Overlays: These trigger the need for planning permission in such areas, ensuring that proposed developments adequately consider certain risks such as flooding susceptibility.
  • Farming Zone: This identifies land suitable for agricultural purposes to ensure that this is protected against other development pressures.
  • Stormwater Local Policy: This is intended to reduce and improve the quality of stormwater run-off.

 

Documents

Environment Strategy(PDF, 3MB)

Greenhouse Action Plan(PDF, 2MB)