Why consider environment protection?

Well-informed land use planning plays a key role in protecting the environment, human health and amenity.

Land use planning can help to avoid potential negative impacts on the community and the environment. It can also help to ensure that incompatible uses are not developed too close together. Potential negative impacts may include noise, odour, dust, air pollutants and stormwater contamination.

The surrounding environment can also affect land uses. For example, from contamination from land and groundwater or landfill gas migration. Land use planning can ensure that risks are identified early in the planning process and that harmful outcomes are avoided.

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PE Act) includes objectives that aim to protect the environment. The PE Act performs a preventative role through ensuring land use and development is compatible with its surrounds.

The Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) include a range of requirements to protect the environment, human health and amenity. These include considering incompatible land uses, preventing harm to the environment, human health and amenity, and addressing potential risks from contamination.

Zones and overlays in the planning scheme also include specific requirements to ensure environment protection is considered in decision making.

For more detail see the list of planning policy references below.

The environment protection and planning frameworks interact through roles and requirements set out for decision makers.

For example, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PE Act) requires planning and responsible authorities to:

  • consider environment protection in decisions
  • refer certain applications to EPA for advice on the risk of harm to human health and the environment associated with land use and development
  • consider, where appropriate, instruments under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (EP Act) including the Environment Reference Standard.

The Environment Protection Act 2017 (EP Act) includes objectives that aim to protect the environment and human health.

The EP Act sets out a duty to reduce the risk of harm to the environment. The general environmental duty (GED) applies to all Victorians to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of pollution and waste..

The environment protection framework also works alongside the PE Act to reduce risks from contaminated land.

Planning scheme Amendment VC203 (gazetted on 1 July 2021) updated the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) to integrate the planning system with the new environment protection framework which commenced on 1 July 2021.

These changes updated the VPP to align with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and associated subordinate legislation to enable greater prevention and mitigation of risks to human health and the environment.

The VPP changes include:

  • updates to align with the new environment protection framework for contaminated and potentially contaminated land - this includes EPA's new environmental audit system, which introduces the option of a preliminary risk screen assessment (PRSA) to determine if an environmental audit is required
  • adding references to ‘human health’ to align with the objectives of the Environment Protection Act 2017
  • the replacement of references to State Environment Protection Policies (which will no longer have standing under the new EP Act) with content that reflect the intent of the former State Environment Protection Policies
  • updating references to relevant parts of the Environment Protection Act 2017, Environment Protection Regulations 2021 and updated guidelines, and referencing new types of EPA approvals, works approvals, licences and notices.

Planning Practice Note 30 Potentially Contaminated Land (PPN30) has also been updated to align with the new environment protection framework, providing guidance to planners and applicants on planning system requirements regarding potentially contaminated land. See Contaminated land and planning

An updated Ministerial Direction No. 1 (MD1) will soon be available. For more information see Contaminated land and planning

For more background on these updates, including details on the public consultation process and the response to public submissions, see Engage Victoria.

Planning policy references

Section no.

Section

Key considerations

Guidance

s. 12 (2)(b)

What are the duties and powers of planning authorities?

Planning authority must take into account any significant effects the amendment might have on the environment or vice versa

Ministerial Direction No. 1

s.60 (1)(e) and (1A)(f)

What must a responsible authority consider?

Responsible authority must consider the objectives of planning in Victoria, significant effects it considers use and development may have on the environment and vice versa

Before deciding on an application the responsible authority may consider any relevant state environment protection policy as declared in the Environment Protection Act 2017

Environment Protection Act 2017

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

Environment Reference Standard

s.84B(2)(e)

Matters for Tribunal to take into account

Must take account of any relevant environment reference standard within the meaning of the Environment Protection Act 2017

Environment Protection Act 2017

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

Environment Reference Standard

Zone

Relevant Decision Guideline

Key considerations

Guidance

Residential zones

VPP 32.03 Low Density Residential Zone

VPP 32.04 Mixed Use Zone

VPP 32.05 Township Zone

VPP 32.07 Residential Growth Zone

VPP 32.08 General Residential Zone

VPP 32.09 Neighbourhood Residential Zone

LDRZ 32.03-6 (subdivision) where there is no reticulation, must consider the requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 for on-site wastewater management system.

MUZ 32.04-14 (use for industry, service station and warehouse)

TZ 32.05-3 where there is no reticulation, requires wastewater treatment in accordance with requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021

TZ 32.05-5 (subdivision) where there is no reticulation, requires assessment in accordance with requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 for on-site wastewater management system.

TZ 32.05-13 Decision Guidelines: where there is no reticulation, must consider assessment in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 for on-site wastewater management system.

The effect the existing use on adjoining or nearby land may have on the proposed use. Whether the use is compatible with adjoining and nearby sensitive uses.

Use for industry and warehouse must not adversely affect the amenity of the neighbourhood.

The effect the existing use on adjoining or nearby land may have on the proposed use

Whether the use or development is compatible with residential use

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

Environment Reference Standard

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

VPP 33.01 Industrial 1 Zone

VPP 33.02 Industrial 2 Zone

VPP 33.03 Industrial 3 Zone

The effect that the use may have on nearby existing or proposed residential areas or other uses which are sensitive to industrial off-site effects, having regard to any comments or directions of the referral authorities.

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

EPA Industry Guidance/State of Knowledge

VPP 34.01 Commercial 1 Zone

VPP 34.02 Commercial 2 Zone

VPP 34.03 Commercial 3 Zone

The interface with adjoining zones, especially the relationship with residential zones.

Compatibility with adjoining, nearby land uses.

C2Z 34.02-7 the effect industry or warehouse may have on nearby existing or proposed residential areas or other uses which are sensitive to industrial off-site effects.

C3Z 34.03-8 minimising offsite impacts via layout and design.

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

VPP 35.03 Rural Living Zone

The impact on the natural physical features and resources of the area and in particular any impact caused by the proposal on soil and water quality and by the emission of noise, dust and odours.

 

VPP 35.06 Rural Conservation Zone

Whether use or development protects and enhances the environmental, agricultural and landscape qualities of the site and its surrounds.

Whether the use or development will have an adverse impact on surrounding land uses.

 

VPP 35.07 Farming Zone

The impact of the proposal on the natural physical features and resources of the area, in particular on soil and water quality.

 

VPP 35.08 Rural Activity Zone

The impact of the proposal on the natural physical features and resources of the area, in particular on soil and water quality.

 

Special Purpose Zones

VPP 37.05 Docklands Zone

VPP 37.07 Urban Growth Zone

VPP 37.08 Activity Centre Zone

VPP 37.09 Port Zone

Clause 37.05-8 environmental audit requirement before a sensitive use commences.

Clause 37.07-6 requirement for an environmental audit before a preschool or primary school commences on potentially contaminated land.

37.08-9 does the layout and design minimize the potential for offsite impacts including from noise, fumes, odour or vibration?

Consider the effect the use may have on land in a residential zone, CCZ, DZ or land for a hospital or education centre or in a PAO to be acquired for a hospital or education centre.

Overlay  

Purpose  

Guidance

VPP 45.03 Environmental Audit Overlay

To ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for a use which could be significantly adversely affected by any contamination.

Planning Practice Note 30: Potentially contaminated land

VPP 44.08 Buffer Area Overlay

To identify buffer areas where there is potential for off-site impacts on human health or safety, or significant off-site impacts on amenity, from industry, warehouse, infrastructure or other uses.

Planning Practice Note 92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

VPP 42.01 Environmental Significance Overlay

To identify areas where the development of land may be affected by environmental constraints.

 

VPP 44.03 Floodway Overlay

To protect water quality and waterways as natural resources in accordance with the provisions of relevant State Environment Protection Policies, and particularly in accordance with Clauses 33 and 35 of the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria).

To ensure that development maintains or improves river and wetland health, waterway protection and flood plain health.

 

VPP 44.04 Land Subject to Inundation Overlay

To protect water quality and waterways as natural resources by managing urban stormwater; protecting water supply catchment areas and managing saline discharges to minimise the risks to the environmental quality of water and groundwater.

To ensure that development maintains or improves river and wetland health, waterway protection and flood plain health.

 

VPP 45.05 Restructure Overlay

To preserve and enhance the amenity of the area and reduce the environmental impacts of dwellings and other development.

VPP Clause

Aim or strategy (as relevant to Environment and Human Health)

Key considerations

Guidance

11 - Settlement

Anticipate and respond to the needs of communities.

Contribute to health, wellbeing and safety, prevention of pollution to land, water and air.

Consider impact that incompatible land uses may have on each other - including on health.

Consider the potential of off-site impacts when making a decision / recommendation regarding a proposed land use.

Consider encroachment of proposed sensitive land uses on industry and how that may impact human health.

Planning Practice Note 92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

11.02-1S Supply of urban land

Preventing or minimising significant impacts on the environment, amenity and human health due to pollution and waste

Consider potential to allow incompatible land uses when making decisions around supply of urban land - particularly infill and redevelopment precincts.

Planning Practice Note 92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

12.04-1S Sustainable development in alpine areas

Ensure that the use and development of land considers and appropriately responds to potential environmental risks and contributes to maintaining or improving the environmental quality of alpine environments.

Understand the potential risks to air, land and water relating to use and development in a sensitive alpine environment.

Consider whether the proposed development responds adequately or appropriately to the risks.

EPA Publication 1741 Industry guidance: supporting you to comply with the general environmental duty

Planning Practice Note 92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

13 Environmental risks and amenity

Planning should aim to identify, prevent and minimise the risk of harm to the environment, human health and amenity through:

land use compatibility, appropriate siting of buildings and activities, applying effective controls to prevent or mitigate significant impacts.

Understand and recognise planning's aim / role in preventing harm to environment, human health and amenity, protecting environmental values and generally how this can be achieved.

EPA Publication 1741 Industry guidance: supporting you to comply with the general environmental duty

AN73: New requirements for a planning authority to consult Environment Protection Authority

Planning Practice Note 92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

Publication 1834: Civil construction, building and demolition guide

EPA Planning guidance

13.03-1S Floodplain management

Ensure that the use and development of land identifies and appropriately responds to potential environmental risks and contributes to maintaining or improving the environmental quality of water and groundwater environments.

Understand the potential risks relating to use / development to water arising from pollution and waste.

Consider impacts of use and development on water due to pollution and waste – e.g. use / storage of chemicals or wastes / dangerous materials.

Consider whether the proposed development responds to / meets the current objectives in Urban Stormwater BPEMGs.

EPA Publication 1739: Draft Urban Stormwater management guidance

BEPM Guidelines for Urban Stormwater

13.04-1S Contaminated and potentially contaminated land

Aims to ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for its intended future use and development and contaminated land is used safely. Support land use and development that contributes to maintaining or improving the environmental quality of land and groundwater environments.

Ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for a use which is proposed to be allowed under the permit application or amendment.

Planning Practice Note 30: Potentially contaminated land

13.05-1S Noise abatement

Aims to control the effects of noise on sensitive land uses using building design, urban design and land use separation.

Consider whether proposals to use or develop land address the potential impacts of land use and development on the acoustic environment in accordance with the noise requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations.

Consider whether proposals / use and development will contribute to achieving or maintaining the environmental values, indicators and objectives of the acoustic environment (e.g. Sleep, child learning and development)?

Be aware of the requirement that any noise related assessment must be conducted in accordance with new noise protocol. Understand what constitutes 'unreasonable noise', etc. and noise limits dB(A).

EPA Publication 1826.4: Noise limit and assessment protocol for the control of noise from commercial, industrial and trade premises and entertainment venues

Environment Reference Standard

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

Planning Practice Note 81: Live music and entertainment noise (to be updated for new EP framework)

13.06-1S Air quality management

Aims to protect and improve air quality, ensuring that there is suitable separation between land uses that reduce air amenity and sensitive land uses.

Consider whether proposals / use and development will contribute to achieving or maintaining the environmental values, indicators and objectives of the air environment (e.g. air quality that supports life, health and wellbeing of humans and ecosystems, visibility, does not damage buildings, structures, property).

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

13.07-1S Land use compatibility

Aims to protect community amenity, human health and safety while facilitating appropriate commercial, industrial or other uses with potential adverse off-site impacts.

 

PPN92 – Managing buffers for land use compatibility

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

14.02-1S Catchment planning and management

To assist the protection and restoration of catchments, water bodies, groundwater and the marine environment.

Strategy: Ensure that the use and development of land identifies and appropriately responds to potential environmental risks and contributes to maintaining or improving the environmental quality of water and groundwater environments.

Consider whether management, proposals / use and development will contribute to achieving or maintaining the environmental values, indicators and objectives of the water environment (e.g. human consumption of aquatic foods, water dependent ecosystems).

Be aware of requirement for applicant to prepare SWMPs and responsibility to manage water assets to not result in harm.

Consider the BPEMGs and require developments to meet or exceed the WQ objectives.

Environment Reference Standard

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

EPA Publication 1834: Civil Construction, Building and Demolition Guide

BEPM Guidelines for Urban Stormwater

14.02-2S Water quality

Aims to protect water quality from contaminated run-off, prevent incompatible land uses from establishing where they will impact water quality.

Consider whether proposals / use and development will contribute to achieving or maintaining the environmental values, indicators and objectives of the water environment (e.g. human consumption, water dependent species, agriculture and irrigation, water-based recreation, Traditional Owner cultural values).

Environment Reference Standard

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

EPA Publication 1834: Civil Construction, Building and Demolition Guide

BEPM Guidelines for Urban Stormwater

19.03-3S Integrated water management

Ensure that the use and development of land identifies and appropriately responds to potential environmental risks and contributes to maintaining or improving the environmental quality of water and groundwater environments.

Consider whether management, proposals / use and development will contribute to achieving or maintaining the environmental values, indicators and objectives of the water (incl. groundwater) environment (e.g. human consumption of aquatic foods, water dependent ecosystems).

Be aware of requirements regarding land subdivisions and OWMS systems, developing a WMP, managing assets to not be harmful to the environment, preparing SWMPs, managing saline discharges, pollutant load targets.

Environment Reference Standard

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

EPA Publication 1834: Civil Construction, Building and Demolition Guide

BEPM Guidelines for Urban Stormwater

AN75: Amendment VC154 – Stormwater Management

19.03-5S Waste and resource recovery

Aims to reduce waste and maximise resource recovery to reduce reliance on landfills and minimise environmental, community amenity and public health impacts.

Consider and respond to the risks to EHHA associated with waste and resource recovery facilities.

Landfills and recycling/resource recovery uses trigger a referral to EPA under clause 53.10, so EPA requirements will be addressed via referral.

Environment Reference Standard

Environment Protection Regulations 2021

EPA Publication 1518 Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions

EPA Publications 1642: Assessing planning proposals within the buffer of a landfill

EPA Publication 1667.2: Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline

Particular Provisions

Clause 53.09 Poultry farm

Clause 53.14 Resource recovery

Clause 66.02 Use and development referrals.

EPA is required to be notified of proposals for certain classes of broiler farms.

Composting facilities guideline listed in the Decision Guidelines.

66.02-1 works approval or licence

66.02-7 industry, utility installation or warehouse

66.02-8 extractive industry

EPA is a determining referral authority for certain types of referrals.

If land is intended to be used as a landfill at a future date.

The Victorian Code for Broiler Farms 2009 (Updated 2018)

Planning Practice Note 63: Applying for a planning permit to farm broiler chickens

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Page last updated: 06/07/21