Saturday, September 04, 2010

Environmental Sustainability Indicators for Local Government

The Leichhardt Council, in Sydney's inner west, has released a "Draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2010-14". The plan includes what appears to be an excessive number of not well targeted environmental performance indicators. From a quick search it appears there are many councils proposing their own sustainability measures. It would seem a good idea if the government or local government associations set some uniform standards.

As an example of a poor indicator, the Leichhardt Council proposes "Area of public open space available per resident within the local government area". This would allow the Council to provide one large park at a location inconvenient to most residents, but perform well on the indicator. In the case of Leichhardt Council, the large Callan Park would skew the results. A better measure would factor in how much green space there is within five minutes walk of each resident's home (easily measured using computerised mapping).

Unfortunately at 7.5 Mbytes, the Council's document is too large to easily download and about ten times larger than it need be. The size of the document is due to a number of excessively large images, which contribute little to the report, but which (ironically) greatly increase its carbon footprint. It is not clear why the staff of the council produced the report in this unwieldy format, however by doing so they have increased both the financial and environmental cost of the report and reduced access to the report for the citizens. If this was due to a lack of competence, that can be corrected with training, if deliberate it may require investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to establish why council staff are acting against the interest of the citizens.
Leichhardt’s ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY 2010-14 Exhibition Draft Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. The Environmental Sustainability
  3. Strategy 2010-14
  4. How to Use This Document
  5. Land
  6. Air and Climate Change
  7. Sustainable Transport
  8. Water
  9. Biodiversity
  10. Consumption and Waste
  11. Noise
  12. Heritage
  13. Management of Sustainability

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