Council calls for action on Sweltering Cities

Friday 29 October 2021

Inner West Council is calling on the NSW Government to use planning and building regulations to help keep Sydney cool.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Councillors endorsed the Sweltering Cities open letter calling on the NSW Government to take ambitious action to reduce urban heat through the proposed NSW Design and Place State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP).

“Heatwaves are Australia’s most deadly environmental hazard,” said Inner West Mayor Rochelle Porteous.

“High temperatures increase mortality and profoundly impact the health and wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable populations.

“Older people, people with disabilities, chronic illnesses and small children are at higher risk of illness or death from heatwaves,” she said.

Climate change is predicted to increase Sydney Metropolitan temperatures, with more hot days (days above 35°C). The greatest increase is anticipated in Western Sydney with 10–20 additional hot days per year by 2070.

“Rising temperatures in Sydney will put increasing pressure on business, energy grids, transportation and health systems,” Mayor Porteous said.

“The building and development occurring in NSW is not suitable for our current or future climates.”

The NSW government is preparing a Design and Place State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) to integrate and align good design, amenity of the built environment, sustainable management of built and cultural heritage, and the proper construction and maintenance of buildings.

The Sweltering Cities organisation is seeking co-signatories on an open letter to the NSW Government requesting they take ambitious action on urban heat through the proposed Design and Place SEPP.

"Many of our hottest suburbs are urban heat islands, where treeless streets, heat absorbing materials and dark surfaces increase temperatures during the day and stay hot overnight,” said Emma Bacon, Executive Director of Sweltering Cities.

“People are dreading summer and wondering how they'll be able to work, sleep or live through the sweltering temperatures.

"This open letter is calling on NSW to be far more ambitious in reducing extreme heat," Emma said.

“Inner West is already one of the greenest councils in New South Wales,” said Mayor Porteous.

“We’re well on our way to fulfilling our pledge to become 100% renewable and carbon neutral by 2025, achieved our target to be 100% divested from fossil fuels and introduced programs to assist every citizen, resident, homeowner and business to go solar.

“But there’s only so much one council can do. A whole-of-government approach is urgently needed,” she said.

 

For media enquiries, contact Elizabeth Heath, Media and Communications Coordinator, 9392 5334 or Elizabeth.Heath@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

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