Australians have always had an affinity with living in the bush, and managing bushfire hazard has become part and parcel of living.
The protection of residential amenity and setting of standards for environmentally responsible building, siting and design needs to have high priority. The need to give particular attention to possible impacts on natural systems and processes is especially relevant to bushland, skylines and hill faces due to their physical attributes and the identified natural, environmental and cultural values.
The recent fire events in Victoria highlight issues that relate to erection of buildings, carrying out works and subdivision of land if the development or subdivision is located within 100m of one hectare of bushland. Planning schemes should permit development if:
the development or use would not create a fire hazard;
the development or use is not in a location so as to cause any potential danger to property owners and their property, or the general public, in the event of a bushfire.
In my opinion, the developer should provide, as part of a Development Application, a Bushfire Hazard Management Plan which has been endorsed by the Victorian Fire Service addressing:
site plan and map of surrounding area, to scale
distance to site and proximity from water sources for fire fighting (hydrant, dams, creek)
site access and egress points, including passing bays and communal access
fuel-modified buffer zone
building protection zone
average site slopes, in degrees
area of unmanaged scrub, bush or forest
site water storages and hard standing areas
hazardous material storages, such as LPG, petrol, diesel tanks
check list for the reduction and management of organic fuels
fire fighting equipment for the proposal
that the proposal contains water storages of 10,000 litres (other than a dam), which are held in reserve to be exclusively used for the purposes of fire fighting.
Also in UDFQ 85: March 2009:
- London moves to Melbourne
- The art of place-making
- Activity Centre project in Kartal, Istanbul
- A River's Tale
- Good urban design in small regional towns
- Planning for future development
- Bush fires and global warming - density of rural settlements is the real issue
- Design help for Local Government
- Musings over lunch
- What do urban designers have to say about the Victorian fires?
- Impressions of Freiburg