Technical report

VCCCAR governance models for adaptation - planning law and related measures

Climate change Urban planning

This report explores a range of adaptation planning and associated measures that can potentially play a role in supporting the adaptation of Victorian settlements to climate change impacts; as well as the legal and institutional arrangements for their implementation. It highlights that current practice relies on a core set of predominantly regulatory planning measures which focus on controlling new development and shaping future land use. Planning law and measures which address adaptation challenges for existing settlements are comparatively little used and underdeveloped. There is scope to further the development of, and to support experimentation with, this range of planning measures for both new and existing settlements in Victoria. There is a need to consider how adaptation measures to manage natural hazards can be incorporated into planning systems in a coherent and integrated manner. Re-visioning legal and institutional arrangements for planning and associated measures to adapt effectively is central to this challenge.

Part 2 provides important context for this discussion of legal models for spatial planning, including the role of planning, and an overview of the current legal and institutional arrangements for planning in Victoria.

Part 3 outlines the type of natural hazards which are predicted to intensify as a result of climate change in Victoria: coastal inundation and erosion, storm surge; fluvial flooding; bushfire and heatwave, and briefly discusses the planning challenges posed by these hazards.

Part 4 reviews recent spatial planning literature to identify the broad range of available spatial planning measures that can play a role in supporting the adaptation of Victorian settlements to these climate hazards. It examines other legal models for adaptation that can work in conjunction or as alternative models to spatial planning.

Part 5 considers how these planning measures are currently employed in a Victorian context to manage climate hazard risks. This discussion highlights that while there is extensive use of formal land-use planning measures; there is scope to design and implement these measures so as to better support climate change adaptation objectives. It also suggests that there remains a broad range of additional planning and associated legal measures which are currently little used, but which have the potential to support the adaptation of existing Victorian settlements to climate hazards over time. This part briefly discusses how the legal arrangements for spatial planning interact with other related areas of law and policy. Building an integrated approach to adaptation is one of the core challenges for institutional arrangements. Part 6 provides a summary and a series of recommendations for the further development of spatial planning as a climate change adaptation tool in Victoria.

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