Upper Hunter Shire Council

Is a Power Partner
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reduction in use of potable water in Scone parks

As a geographically large shire with a relatively small population heavily reliant on road transportation, we are always looking to increase efficiencies in the delivery of services and utilise strategies successfully developed in other regions.

Mayor Wayne Bedggood

The Upper Hunter Shire is a large and beautiful rural area stretching from the rugged mountain ranges in the north to Lake Glenbawn in the east, rolling hills in the south and golden plains in the west.  The thriving economic base is centred on an equine and agriculture industry including cattle and sheep grazing lands, cereal cropping, wineries and prestigious horse studs. Maintaining a healthy environment is essential to our economy and our lifestyle and Council is increasingly putting a stronger emphasis in our corporate planning on sustainability and good environmental practices.

What council has achieved in the past in energy efficiency, renewable energy or broader sustainability:

We have recently formed a new Sustainability Advisory Committee and are close to completing a Sustainability Action Plan 2017.

Some recent wins included saving water by irrigating parks with waste water in Scone, our biggest town. This reduced the use of potable water from 75 ML in 2012/13 to only 3 ML for the following years. Over the last few years we have also progressively changed household water rates so access charges are reduced and usage charges are increased, to encourage water efficiencies.

In the past, Council has undertaken an energy audit of major Council infrastructure and high energy use sites and in 2007 developed a financial loss control action plan. We also implemented an Eco-star sustainability rating program for Council facilities which provided a rating for water and energy efficiency.

What council hopes to achieve in the future in energy efficiency, renewable energy or broader sustainability

Council will continue to update lighting fixtures to LED across all its buildings and facilities and is installing solar PV systems at suitable locations.

We will be using vehicle efficiency as an evaluation criteria for new vehicle purchases and increasing our use of Skype / teleconferences across our three administration offices and other buildings by 30% in 2017/18.

We are investigating the potential for an electric vehicle charging station in the Shire, which would be a great attraction for those using the New England Highway.

More cycleways, solar and other renewable power, eco-tourism and recycling facilities are some of our top priorities. We will continue to manage land use conflicts to protect our agriculture and equine industries.

Media Coverage

Upper Hunter Shire Council Action Pledge Coming Soon!

In the meantime, check out some pledges that councils can choose from:

Consider disincentives for driving high emitting vehicles such as congestion pricing, or a tiered payment system for residential car parking permits where high emitting vehicles pay more.

Promote knowledge sharing and strengthen the local community’s capacity and skills in renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

Power council operations by renewables, directly (with solar PV or wind), or by purchasing Greenpower (from electricity retailers). Set targets to increase the level of renewable power for council operations over time.

Incentivise the deployment of energy efficient heating and cooling technologies.

Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings for example childcare facilities, libraries, street lighting, recreation centres, sporting grounds, and council offices.

Provide council resources to educate and support the uptake of renewable energy, such as by hiring an internal renewable energy support officer or establishing an independent body (such as the Moreland and Yarra Energy Foundations).

Provide incentives (for example rate reductions) for best practice developments such as streamlined planning processes, and support for retrofitting energy efficiency measures for existing buildings.

Set minimum renewable energy benchmarks for new developments, for example Denman Prospect, ACT requires every new house to install a minimum solar PV system.

Implement an education and behavior change program to influence the behavior of council officers, local residents and businesses within the municipality to drive the shift to renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

Opening up unused council managed land for renewable energy, for example land fills, and road reserves.

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