Local Government Officer’s perceptions improve our understanding of how sediment loss from building sites is being managed in Perth
The Sediment Task Force (STF) engaged Ms Sharron Glasgow, an Honours student from Edith Cowan University (ECU), to undertake a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of Local Government’s Local Laws in dealing with sediment loss from building sites.
A total of 33 Local Government Officers (LGOs) from 14 Local Governments (LGs) representing environment, environmental health, planning, engineering, building, enforcement and compliance departments participated in the survey.
And the results are in!
The survey results have been analysed by the STF and the key findings of the survey include:
- 70% of LGOs considered sediment loss from building sites is an issue for their LG;
- 33% of LGOs believed their LG’s Local Laws are ineffective in preventing erosion and sediment loss;
- 61% of LGOs were unaware or unsure of the existence of their LG’s Local Law for sediment loss;
- Local Laws are not being utilised due to a lack of ownership by various LG departments;
- Many LGOs do not believe their LG’s compliance process is effective; and
- Many LGOs believe there is a great reliance on responding to complaints and LGO observance due to lack of resources for monitoring and enforcement.
The survey results demonstrate that:
- the environmental and financial impacts of sediment loss resulting from urban development has diverse and potentially major impacts on infrastructure (and subsequent expenditure to remediate/mitigate damage to, or maintenance of, infrastructure);
- these impacts are managed by LGs across Perth in a diversity of ways and to varying levels of success;
- existing Local Laws for managing erosion and sediment control (ESC) are many and wide-ranging (soil erosion, sediment, sand drift, environment, health, private property, public thoroughfare, dust, liquid waste and nuisance management);
- Local Laws specific to ESC are proving more effective;
- LGOs believe consistent legislation, such as a model Local Law, would be advantageous as builders, contractors and land developers would be able to better understand what is expected of them to prevent and manage sediment loss, resulting in increased compliance.
The STF’s Survey Summary Report details the survey results and offers recommendations to LG to urgently put into place (or more effectively implement) policies, processes, procedures and tools which focus on risk management to enhance their capacity to effectively manage this significant environmental issue.
The Sediment Task Force would like to thank ECU and Sharron Glasgow for her time and efforts in developing the survey, and all survey respondents for their participation.
- Photo credit: South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL)