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A roadmap for Victoria’s planning system

Well designed and resource efficient buildings and developments are essential to creating more sustainable cities and towns.

New policies and standards for Victoria's planning system are being developed to improve the sustainability of building and subdivision developments across Victoria. This supports actions in the Metropolitan Strategy, Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and responds to climate change.

Download Environmentally sustainable development of buildings and subdivisions to read the roadmap in detail.

Steps to strengthen the environmentally sustainable development of buildings and subdivisions are outlined in the Environmentally sustainable development of buildings and subdivisions: A roadmap for Victoria’s planning system document below.

Updates to the Planning Policy Framework

We have amended the state’s Planning Policy Framework to include responses to climate change as a new purpose of planning schemes, and comprehensively updated state planning policies to better support environmentally sustainable development (ESD).  The focus of these changes is on lot and precinct scale developments. More information is available: Amendment VC216.

These changes will mean that all new developments requiring a planning permit must demonstrate how their proposal has considered policies to achieve:

  • improved energy performance of buildings
  • more sustainable water management outcomes
  • recycling and waste minimisation
  • sustainable and low emission transport choices
  • cooling and greening of urban areas
  • urban biodiversity
  • reduced exposure to air and noise pollution.

Updates to particular provisions

Implementation of the ESD Roadmap over 2023 will support development of revised and new planning standards to:

  • ensure homes are sited and orientated to optimise energy efficiency and support renewable energy uptake by updating residential development standards
  • improve guidance on stormwater management for small developments and encourage recycled and stormwater water use to support tree health
  • reduce waste sent to landfill by applying design standards to make it easier and more convenient for households and businesses to divert materials for reuse or recycling
  • facilitate active and sustainable transport choices and reduce private vehicle reliance by updating car and bicycle parking and facility standards
  • reduce urban heat impacts and support urban biodiversity through new tree planting and retention standards and other cooling landscape and design measures
  • reduce exposure to air and noise pollution through siting and design guidance for new homes and sensitive uses near busy transport corridors.

Recent planning changes have included:

Local environmentally sustainable development policies

Local councils in Victoria have local environmentally sustainable development planning policies in their planning schemes.

Changes initiated through the ESD Roadmap will not directly impact on these local planning policies, although future work to minimise duplication between state and local provisions may occur.

Other sustainable development initiatives

Planning reforms to improve stormwater management in urban areas came into effect on 26 October 2018. The reforms included:

  • new provisions, under the Victoria Planning Provisions, to expand stormwater management requirements to:
  • commercial subdivisions and development
  • industrial subdivisions and developments
  • public use developments
  • residential multi-dwelling subdivisions and developments
  • a new integrated water management clause in the state's Planning Policy Framework to embed integrated water management objectives and strategies into urban land-use planning.

For more information on the 2018 changes please refer to Planning Advisory Note 75. Further guidance and information is also available to support stormwater management in urban development.

Additional actions to improve urban water management and protect our waterways are underway through the Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy.

Avoiding overshadowing of residential rooftop solar system

Rooftop residential solar energy facilities make an important contribution to improving efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through greater use of renewable energy.

Information about how you can minimise the risk of overshadowing an existing domestic solar energy system is available in Planning Practice Note 88.

Climate change adaptation

The Built Environment Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022-2026 is one of seven adaptation action plans for Victoria to ensure Victoria’s climate resilience, for now and in the future.

The action plan aims to support highly exposed Victorian cities, towns, suburbs and regional areas to tackle overlapping climate related events through resilience and recovery planning that considers all hazards.

An action includes updating planning schemes to introduce new provisions aimed at reducing urban heat exposure. This will be progressed through the ESD Roadmap in 2023.

Planning for climate change adaptation

Other planning system climate change adaptation responses include planning measures for development in coastal areas and information on urban cooling.

Planning and building measures to respond to bushfire, flood and coastal hazards are also in place.

Page last updated: 31/07/23


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