Evaluating Local Government’s response to the issue of erosion resulting from urban development

A big thank you to Local Government Officers (LGO’s) who participated in the Sediment Task Force’s and Edith Cowan University’s survey to determine how Local Government Authorities (LGA’s) in the Perth region are managing and preventing erosion caused by urban development.

The preliminary results of the survey are in! LGO’s representing environment, planning, environmental health, engineering and enforcement divisions from thirty-four LGA’s were invited to participate in an online survey investigating how local laws are utilised by LGA’s for erosion and sediment control and how effective these local laws are as a tool for managing and controlling erosion and sedimentation. Twenty-four participants completed the survey from fifteen different LGA’s.

Congratulations to staff members from the City of Rockingham and the Shire of Kalamunda who won a free ticket to attend one of Perth NRM’s Professional Development in Environmental Management Series seminars on a topic of choice by participating in the survey.

A formal data analysis is yet to be completed to identify trends and draw conclusions, however we can share the significant key findings to date:

  • 70% of respondents believe sediment loss from building sites to be an issue
  • 24% of respondents believe their LGA does not have a local law to manage the issue of sediment loss from building sites and 38% are unsure (totalling 64%)
  • 88% of respondents believe their LGA would benefit from having a local law to specifically manage sediment loss from building sites; and
  • 100% of respondents believe there is benefit in having consistent legislation across all LGAs with regards to managing sediment loss from building sites.
  • Participants believe the following mechanisms to be effective for addressing sediment loss from building sites:
    • consistent sediment control law/s across the Perth metropolitan region
    • enact more robust laws/laws that are easier to enforce
    • include sediment control conditions on planning approvals
    • increase the number of fines given for non-compliance with sediment control laws
    • increase the number of compliance inspections conducted of building sites
    • pursue prosecutions in the court for repeat offenders; and
    • educate builders of the reason why sediment control is necessary.

A comprehensive desktop review determining how erosion caused by urban development is regulated at a local government level has also been completed as part of this research. The Sediment Task Force is very grateful to Ms Sharron Glasgow, the Honours Law student at Edith Cowan University, who completed the online survey and the desk top review.

An in-depth analysis of the data and the compilation of individual Local Government case studies as examples of best practice is planned by the Sediment Task Force, resources permitting.

For further information, please contact Bronwyn at bronwyn.scallan@perthnrm.com or 9374 3333.

  • Photo credit: South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL)

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