Sustainable and Energy Efficient Infrastructure in Heritage Conservation Areas

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Determined


Moved by by Councillor Scully, seconded by the Chair (the Lord Mayor) -

It is resolved that:

(A)        Council note:

(i)           the City of Sydney is home to 75 Heritage Conservation Areas, which cover 38 per cent of our local area. They house approximately 84,000 people and provide workplaces for almost 60,000 people. Places like Potts Point, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Redfern, Chippendale, Glebe and Forest Lodge are among the 10 most populous areas in Greater Sydney and consist predominantly of conservation areas;

(ii)          Heritage Conservation Areas are valued for their special character, drawing on their history and built form. This character is supported through our planning controls, which have protections in place for certain development in these areas. These controls sometimes affect how easy it is to install renewable energy infrastructure in heritage dwellings, impacting the capacity of individual households to reduce their carbon footprint, increase their efficiency or capture water;

(iii)        when developing the City of Sydney's community strategic plan, Sustainable Sydney 2030, 97 per cent of the community told us they wanted action on climate change. One of the key recommendations of the 2019 Citizens Jury, a key element of our 2050 consultation process, was for a Regenerative Economy, and that the City of Sydney should be a "a leader in reversing climate change and restoring the natural environment by giving back more than what the city takes";

(iv)        in February 2020, Council endorsed the Local Strategic Planning Statement which sets out the 20-year vision for land use planning in the city. The planning statement sets 13 priorities and a series of actions to achieve the vision and guide future changes to our planning controls, including “To develop buildings and places that will be net zero energy by 2050” by “using less energy and increasing the use of renewable energy” and “reviewing solar panel and battery storage controls, to increase implementation opportunities”;

(v)         in June 2019, the City of Sydney declared a Climate Emergency. The Climate Emergency response, endorsed in February 2020, sets out a series of principles, goals and priorities to reduce the impacts and increase the resilience of our communities to climate change. These include:

(a)         Goal 5: Use the planning system to deliver on climate emergency priorities;

(b)         Goal 7: Support the community to take further action to address the climate emergency;

(c)         Goal 8: Help the community access onsite and offsite renewables, including 100 per cent Green Power; and

(d)         Goal 11: Advocate for legislative and regulatory change (e.g. building codes and planning controls, energy regulations, rating tools, and disclosure and compliance regimes) at all levels of government to achieve net zero carbon buildings; and

(vi)        by shifting the City’s operations to 100 per cent renewable energy, we are now on track to meet our 2030 emissions target in 2024 - six years early; and

(B)        the Chief Executive Officer be requested to investigate planning policy changes which encourage greater uptake of sustainable and energy efficient infrastructure for dwellings, by giving due consideration to the principles of the Climate Emergency Response balanced with the City’s heritage protection measures.

Carried unanimously.


Report author: Erin Cashman

Publication date: 26/10/2020

Date of decision: 26/10/2020

Decided at meeting: 26/10/2020 - Council

Accompanying Documents: