Below is information on, and examples of, local government adaptation initiatives, which can cover everything from water-sensitive urban design to green infrastructure, flood-risk planning, emergency responses, and updating asset and risk registers.
Minimising the impacts of extreme heat in local communities
Extreme heat events have killed more Australians in the past 200 years than any other natural hazard and this is likely to increase with climate change.
To assist communities to be safe from, prepared for and resilient to current and projected risks of extreme heat, the Office of Environment and Heritage has lead the development of a guide to assist local government better understand and minimise the impacts of extreme heat on local communities.
Minimising the impacts of extreme heat: A guide for local government provides information on risks to water and air quality, food safety and infrastructure networks, as well as preparing for extreme heat events, examines approaches for minimising impacts and clarifies roles and responsibilities in relation to extreme heat events in NSW.
Building Resilience to Climate Change Grants program
This $1-million program, funded through the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the NSW Environmental Trust, addresses the identified vulnerabilities and risks to local government from climate change.
Round one of the program (now closed) dealt with projects that focused on extreme heat or adaptation of priority infrastructure. Grant guidelines and online application forms for round two will be available in 2015.
The program is administered by Local Government NSW (LGNSW). For more information, contact Suzanne Dunford at OEH on (02) 9995 6351 or Denise Anderson at LGNSW on (02) 9242 4056.
Leading land-use case studies by local government
Land-use planning strategies are an important part of Local Government's response in mitigating and preparing for climate change. Local Government NSW and OEH have prepared case studies on how three NSW councils have addressed the need to prepare for climate change through land-use planning strategies. The case studies are:
- Planning for sea level rise and flooding in a changing climate - Lake Macquarie City Council action
- Planning for sea level rise and erosion in a changing climate - Eurobodalla Shire Council
- Planning for bushfire risk in a changing climate - Ku-ring-gai Council action
Urban green cover
The Impacts and Adaptation team at OEH, in partnership with the NSW Government Architect’s Office, have developed resources to encourage best-practice implementation of strategies for reducing thermal loading in urban environments. These strategies provide co-benefits such as reduced energy costs for cooling, improved stormwater management, cleaner air and improved biodiversity habitat. The resources include:
- Demonstration Designs for Urban Green Cover in Western Sydney (2011): Design case studies of how Liverpool and Penrith councils could mitigate the increasing temperatures caused by climate change and increased urban development.
- Technical Guidelines for Urban Green Cover in NSW: Practical information for local government and built environment professionals to plan, procure and implement vegetated and reflective roofs, green walls, street plantings, permeable and reflective road surfaces, and cool open spaces. These will be released in early 2015.
The NSW Adaptation Research Hub
The NSW Adaptation Research Hub is a network of leading experts and researchers in adaptation in NSW. The research outputs are meeting identified gaps in adaptation knowledge, and they may help local governments to apply adaptation within their regions.
Three nodes, addressing Biodiversity, Coastal Processes and Responses and Adaptive Communities, are developing research outcomes to help local government, business and the community to increase their understanding of climate risks and the actions needed to minimise the impacts of climate change.
The NSW Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Survey 2015
In May 2015, OEH and LGNSW contracted ARTD Consultants to design and implement an online survey of NSW Local Government, building on two previous surveys. The results of the 2015 survey are presented in this report, and will inform future program development and support to the Local Government sector in adapting to climate change. NSW Local Government progress and needs in adapting to climate change.