The draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy is the first of its kind for Maitland and covers all things environment, sustainability, waste management and reduction, resource recovery, resilience, and climate change. It provides a roadmap that outlines our environmental and sustainability actions over the coming years.
After an extensive period of community consultation in 2022, the input from our community has played a major role in shaping the key themes, aims and actions in the strategy.
Community consultation has now closed. Thank you to everyone who shared their input and ideas. Here's some of the things we heard that are important to our community.
- Reducing illegal dumping
- Improving access to resource recovery facilities
- Preserving and increasing native bushland along the Hunter River and throughout the local area
- Creating and preserving safe wildlife corridors
- Stormwater collection and reuse
- 72% of the community feel able to adapt to change well
- Younger residents and non ratepayers are significantly less likely to feel prepared
There is a concern about the long term sustainability of the local natural environment.
Frequently asked questions
Along with many cities throughout Australia, Maitland is vulnerable to the urban heat island effect, which is where temperature differences are caused by urbanisation. Urban areas become significantly hotter than surrounding rural areas when there is less green cover and more hard surfaces.
A 30 per cent canopy cover target in residential areas is drawn from guidance from the Government Architect NSW’s Greener Places strategy and local research which identifies that areas with canopy cover approaching 30 per cent are cooler and support a more liveable suburb, as well as improved water quality and improved habitat for birds and other wildlife. Trees in urban areas also improve house values and reduce electricity use for cooling.
There are a range of options for improving the amount of canopy cover in new and existing residential areas.
The use of street trees and better planting options in open space areas provide lots of opportunities for Council, as does pursuing the dedication of habitat corridors. People may not be aware that approximately 90 per cent of native vegetation cover within the LGA is on private land, and so this means we need to work with private landholders to plant and protect trees.
Council can also help private landowners by outlining options such as the use of shrubs, which people may not realise contribute to urban canopy coverage. For example, Council holds regular seedling giveaways to achieve this aim.
Many new housing developments are already giving consideration to wildlife corridors with vegetated areas being incorporated into local parks and open spaces, and drainage lines being replanted to create riparian corridors. Access to vegetation is considered by many residents as a positive aspect, and so developers are already incorporating this into new housing developments.
The Environmental Sustainability Strategy will provide us with an improved starting point when we talk with developers, so we can ensure these features are located in such a way that they provide local amenity and a great environmental outcome.
The Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS) provides a robust set of principles that Council can use in initial discussions with developers, so that environmental planning outcomes, such as functional and flourishing wildlife corridors, can be incorporated into the early phases of planning.
The ESS will also provide guidance for more detailed studies and investigations that will determine the outcomes for each individual site.