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Environmentally Sustainable Development

We are committed to reducing environmental impact through Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles. Changes to planning requirements for residential and non-residential developments will help to:

  • Improve amenity and liveability of homes
  • Reduce energy use and associated costs
  • Reduce waste to landfill

Together with other Victorian councils we have implemented the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) program. The SDAPP program recognises that many decisions affecting the sustainability of a new building are best made early in the design process.

Environmentally Sustainability Development (ESD) Policy

Banyule has introduced an ESD Policy into its planning scheme, through Amendment C73 . It was approved by the Minister for Planning and gazetted on 19 November 2015.

Application Requirements

The ESD Policy applies throughout the City of Banyule to residential and non-residential development that requires a planning permit.

An application must be accompanied by either a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) or a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) as specified in Table 1 of the ESD Policy.  

An SDA is required for small to medium developments. You can complete your SDA using the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) online tool refer to Related information and the SDA will need to be provided when lodging your planning application.

Your planning application will also need to include the STORM report for the development as well as FirstRate certificates for each dwelling.

Larger developments will require an SMP that has been prepared by qualified environmental, sustainability and transport consultants. Applications for larger non-residential developments must also include a Green Travel Plan.

Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS)

This is a new online sustainability assessment tool purpose-built for the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) framework. BESS replaces the STEPS and SDS tools.


  • Is free for planning permit applicants to use
  • Assesses any size and type of building, including mixed use developments
  • Is easy to use
  • Can be used to benchmark against other developments
  • Streamlines the planning permit process
  • Reduces running costs of new buildings
  • Provides liveability and useability benefits for building owners and users

The information required to complete a BESS assessment is simple for small developments and increases in complexity for larger developments.

Should I use BESS or STEPS / SDS?

BESS should be used for new applications, but during a transition period planning permit applicants have the option of using either BESS or STEPS / SDS. Once BESS is established, STEPS and SDS will be phased out.

After this time, STEPS will be locked to new applications, but remain online for a period of two years so that existing projects can be accessed. The SDS will be removed from the STEPS website and will no longer be accepted for new applications.

The 10 key Sustainable Building Categories

An SMP should consider the 10 Key Sustainable Building Categories within their design.

The following fact sheets provide further information, including relevant Council best practice standards:

SMP Reference Templates

The following reference templates can be used as a guideline for responding to the above 10 key sustainable building categories:

  1. Sustainable Management Plan
  2. Green Travel Plan

Important Notes

  • All environmentally sustainable design initiatives should be shown and/or annotated on architectural drawings.
  • All approved sustainable design assessment reports will be endorsed as part of the planning permit from Council.

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