State of the environment

Overview

The State of the Environment Report is an annual look into the work we have delivered to keep our environment healthy, green and actively cared for.

Read our full report.

Biodiversity

We are lucky to have a wealth of natural spaces and wildlife corridors along our waterways. We run a series of programs to educate our community on the importance of indigenous flora and fauna, and we support residents to transform their own backyards into havens for biodiversity.

Case study: Ten Years of TEN

The Banyule Nillumbik Teacher Environment Network (TEN) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019. The network was established to provide local teachers with environmental education. Maree Sier-Trentin has been a teacher for 20 years and has been involved in TEN for the last 5. TEN has helped Maree develop a robust environmental education program at St Bernadette’s Primary School in Ivanhoe.

Here, grades 3 and 4 classes participate in Clean Up Australia Day, water quality tests and macro invertebrate identification at Darebin Creek. They have also constructed and installed nesting boxes around the school ground to create habitat for local wildlife.

 

Maree Sier-Trentin

Tracking our progress

We are leading our residents to get more involved in climate action.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Families engaged in the Nature Play Program N/A 180
Friends of group volunteer hours in bushland reserves 912 1,884
Indigenous species planted in bushland reserves 10,870 15,130
Nest boxes installed in bushland reserves N/A 76
Buy 1 get 1 free vouchers claimed by residents 179 243

Action plans

Read the Biodiversity Strategic Plan.

Stewardship

The Greenwrap newsletter is now monthly and subscriptions have increased by 35% in 2018-19. We had 100 community members join us for Change Makers, and our up-skilling workshops covered the power of social media and how to write successful grant applications. Our environment grants got a boost, and now include the Youth Climate Action Grant, Green Training Fund and Home Energy Audits.

View our environment grants

Case study: Change Makers

On 21 March 2019, our annual Change Makers event brought together 100 local environmentally minded residents. We teamed up with professor Tim Flannery to deliver a night that was informative, collaborative and inspiring. Professor Flannery spoke to the audience about big ideas for combating climate change from all over the world, and stuck around to be part of a workshop activity that made new connections across the community.

Participants presented their ideas for local initiatives, big and small, which could be implemented to strengthen our own initiatives. The event was a great success, with all attendees motivated to tackle the critical and challenging problems stemming from climate change.

 

Sustainable living is one form of climate action.

Tracking our progress

We are funding our residents to take action and educating them on personal energy consumption.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Grant applications 19 19
Home energy audits N/A 35

Action plans

Read our Stewardship Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

Water use and urban design

Climate change is already effecting the way water moves around Banyule, and water management is essential to offset a decrease in average annual rainfall, more intense storms and flash flooding. We now have 26 water sensitive urban design (WSUD) projects in operation, which will help us adapt to already locked in climate changes .

Case study: Gresswell Forest

Gresswell Forest Nature Conservation Reserve borders Macleod, Watsonia and Bundoora. Salt Creek arises within the reserve and flows through Macleod, Rosanna and Heidelberg before entering the Yarra River. Stormwater from Banyule and Darebin councils enter Salt Creek in Gresswell Forest, and we are working with Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria to develop WSUDs to protect Gresswell Forest and Salt Creek.

Various design treatments have been identified for our drains to stem the flow of stormwater, reduce erosion and remove stormwater pollutants, for example oils, garden fertilisers and sediment. Gresswell Forest is an excellent example of the opportunities that arise with a multi-stakeholder approach to solving stormwater issues.

 

Gresswel forest map

Tracking our progress

Our climate actions are preserving more natural resources with the latest technology.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Council water use 286 ML 348 ML
Litter collection from storm water harvesting (target 50 T) 1 Tonne 49 Tonnes

Action plans

Read our Water Plan 2019-2023.

Tree care

Our future trees must be increasingly resilient; fitting in around powerlines, pavement, roads and people is a considerable challenge. The trees we are planting now will also need to tolerate the hot, dry conditions predicted for us.

Larger trees benefit our landscape, and provide immediate impact and environmental benefit to the community. With this in mind, we planted larger, mature stock in the 2018-19 planting season.

Case study: National Trust Studley Park Gum

Eucalyptus x studleyensis is a rare, morphologically variable hybrid between the river red gum and the swamp gum, and specimens don’t always display the same characteristics as others. These trees are intermediate between the 2 parents in leaf, bud and fruit, and often show a closer affinity to either parent in 1 or more features.

We are lucky enough to have examples of the Studley Park gum, and 1 example has now been assessed as Significant at the State Level through the National Trust. It lives on public land in Banyule Flats Reserve alongside the Banyule Billabong.

 

Green space in Banyule

Tracking our progress

We are nurturing and expanding our green canopy with resilient native trees.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Council tree plantings in streets, parks and bushland 4922 3226
Carbon sequestered in Council trees N/A 31,081.9 Tonnes
Pollution removed by Council trees N/A 12,432 kg/yr
Net gain of trees 2018/19 (public land) N/A 1518
Permit applications received for tree removal 558 325
Permit applications received for tree removal 425 175

Action plans

Read our Urban Forest Strategic Plan.

Corporate emissions reduction

We investigated our emissions profile and have developed 9 priority actions - to be delivered over the next 4 years - to remain in a strong position to achieve our carbon neutrality target by 2028.

Emissions profile

Our profile includes light fleet vehicles 3%, heavy fleet vehicles 13%, natural gas 21% and electricity 63%.

Our pools and recreation centres dominate our emissions in terms of electricity and gas used, with street lighting close behind. We will reduce our emissions to net zero by 2028 by upgrading our fleet with electric or other zero-emissions alternatives and sourcing 100% of our energy consumption from renewable sources.

Case study: The advent of WaterMarc

Historically, corporate emissions have been steady at around 15,000 tonnes/year. This figure rose to 21,000 tonnes/year when WaterMarc opened in 2014, and became a call to action.

We are reducing emissions by installing solar power at many of our buildings, and solar hot water at a major consumption sites:

  • The Centre Ivanhoe
  • Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre
  • Olympic Leisure Centre
  • WaterMarc.

We have replaced our diesel delivery vans with electric alternatives, and are installing charging stations at key Council sites. We are also introducing planning policies to ensure that all of our new developments - Greensborough Council offices and Ivanhoe Community Learning Hub - are energy efficient.

We continue to upgrade building and street lighting with energy efficient alternatives. Since WaterMarc opened, our emissions have reduced by 7,302 tonnes, or 33%, and we're committed to taking them to net zero.

 

Implementing corporate emissions reduction.

Tracking our progress

We are leading by example to reduce emissions on our buildings and fleet.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Council GHG emissions 15,308 Tonnes 14,239 Tonnes

Action plans

Read our Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan.

Community consultation

In September 2019 we ran a 4 week consultation with the community to understand their experiences with climate change and barriers to action. We sought feedback on actions through Shaping Banyule, in focus groups and at our Environment Forum. We were told that cost and a lack of trustworthy information were barriers to taking action and reduce emissions in the home.

Community energy officer

We now have an in-house community energy officer who provides information and advice to help residents reduce household consumption and costs. Residents gain insight on:

  • rights in obtaining a better deal from energy retailers
  • assistance energy retailers must provide you in times of payment difficulties
  • concessions you may be eligible for
  • household energy performance
  • Council-affiliated and other solar bulk-buy programs.

Emissions profile

Our main sources of emissions include cars, public transport, and commercial and residential building energy (gas and electricity). Our municipal waste emissions are unusually low due to the use of landfill methane capture technology at the Wollert landfill site.

Case study: Walk to School Month

Approximately 2000 students across Banyule participated in Walk to School events in 2018 with over 20,000 walks recorded for the month. The program's intention is for participating schools to carry this change forward, with ongoing support from Council, to normalise active travel in student's ongoing daily routines.

 

Tracking our progress

We are creating clean alternatives for residents to get around Banyule.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Linear metres of shared paths/trails (sustainable travel) 575 813

Action plans

Read our Integrated Travel Plan 2015-2035.

Waste

We are working towards zero waste to landfill. We are rethinking the way we consume to properly consider how products impact our environment and what happens to them at their end of life.

Case study: household bins

The make up of household bins is:

  • 47% garbage
  • 27% recyclables
  • 21% green waste
  • 3% recyclable hard waste
  • 2% inert hard waste.

Overall, the amounts of household waste is decreasing. In 2017-18, the average annual household garbage produced was 455kg. In 2018-19, that dropped to 423kg. Similarly, organic waste produced was 219kg per year, and has shrunk to 175kg for 2019.

 

Working towards zero waste by 2028.

Tracking our progress

We are making progress in reducing waste production and landfill reliance.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019
Landfill waste per household 446 kg 423 kg
Recyclables per household 245 kg 245 kg
Organic waste per household 196 kg 174.7 kg
Waste diverted from landfill 1739 T 2292 T
Students attending the ReThink Centre 575 813

Action plans

Read our Towards Zero Waste Management Plan.