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Revised Draft North District Plan

The revised draft North District Plan provides a 20-year plan to manage growth and achieve the 40-year vision, while enhancing Greater Sydney’s liveability, productivity and sustainability into the future.

98 Sustainability

98 Sustainability Planning Priority N19 Increasing urban tree canopy cover and delivering Green Grid connections In giving effect to the draft Greater Sydney Region Plan, this Planning Priority delivers on Objective 30: Urban tree canopy cover is increased and Objective 32: The Green Grid links parks, open spaces, bushland and walking and cycling paths and the corresponding strategies and actions. The Greater Sydney Green Grid is a long-term vision for a network of high-quality green spaces that connects communities to the natural landscape. It links tree-lined streets, waterways, bushland corridors, parks and open spaces to town centres, public transport and public spaces. The Greater Sydney Green Grid builds on the District’s established open space, the Regional Tracks and Trails Framework and the emerging Principal Bicycle Network. Tree-lined streets, urban bushland and tree cover on private land form a component of the urban tree canopy. The urban tree canopy is a form of green infrastructure that mitigates the urban heat island effect, with a 10 per cent increase in tree canopy cover reducing the land surface temperature by 1.13 degrees Celsius.13 The urban tree canopy also supports cleaner air quality and water and provides local habitat. Trees remove fine particles from the air and help insulate against urban noise pollution. This is particularly important along busy road corridors where air quality can be improved. The urban tree canopy can also help make communities more resilient, by reducing the impact of heat waves and extreme heat. The urban tree canopy The urban areas of the North District have 47 per cent tree canopy cover, with some areas in Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and the Northern Beaches providing more than 50 per cent tree canopy cover. Sustaining boulevards of trees along the District’s busiest roads (such as Epping Road, Pacific Highway, Victoria Avenue, Albert Avenue, and Archer Street, Pittwater Road and Warringah Road) is an important step towards improving amenity and air quality, and cooling the North District. Figure 28 shows tree canopy cover in the urban area in 2011. Along many busy roads, where there is limited space to plant new trees, there may be opportunities to plant other forms of green ground cover, such as garden beds and hedges that can help improve the air quality. Trees are valued by residents and contribute to the streetscape, character and amenity of the District. As the District continues to grow and change, the urban tree canopy will come under pressure. This means that the urban tree canopy will become even more important for supporting sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods. The tree canopy may be formed by a mix of native and exotic, deciduous or evergreen trees, which provide shade in summer while allowing sunlight into homes and onto roofs for solar power, particularly in winter. Therefore, urban renewal and transformation projects will be critical to increasing urban tree canopy cover. This can be complemented by other green cover, including rain gardens, green roofs and green walls. Green cover can help slow and store stormwater and improve water quality, filtering pollution before it reaches the District’s waterways. Extending the urban tree canopy in public and private areas requires the resolution of issues such as the design of road space, competition with above and below ground infrastructure and the need to protect access to sunlight for homes and solar energy panels. The District’s councils generally provide guidance on enhancing tree canopy and tree cover in the urban environment, and information on street trees. Some encourage permeable surfaces to allow rainwater to soak into the ground and reduce stormwater run-off, which supports the growth of canopy trees and vegetation, and reduces pollution, flooding and urban heat. Greater Sydney Commission | Draft North District Plan

99 Where trees are lost as a result of development, some councils have developed programs to plant replacement trees in the public realm. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Apartment Design Guide and the new Greenfield Housing Code guide the requirements for landscape areas that can support the urban tree canopy. Connecting the Greater Sydney Green Grid Enhancing the amenity and activity within, and accessibility to, the Greater Sydney Green Grid will promote a healthier urban environment, improve community access to recreation and exercise, encourage social interaction, support walking and cycling connections and improve resilience. The draft Greater Sydney Region Plan describes how the Greater Sydney Green Grid sets a long-term vision for a network of high quality green areas. The long-term vision for the Greater Sydney Green Grid in the North District is shown on Figure 24. This vision will be delivered incrementally over decades, as opportunities arise and detailed plans for connections are refined. Green Grid Priority Projects have been selected to provide districtscale connections that link open space, waterways and bushland. Table 5 lists Green Grid Priority Projects for the District. as development and land use controls, agreements for dual use of open space and recreational facilities, direct investment in open space, and other funding mechanisms such as Section 94 Contributions and Voluntary Planning Agreements. State regional and district parklands and reserves form a principle element of the Greater Sydney Green Grid for both biodiversity and recreational purposes. The NSW Government supports the delivery of regional open space and Green Grid connection through the Metropolitan Greenspace Program. The NSW Government also supports delivery of regional open space using Special Infrastructure Contributions. Transport for NSW is establishing a Principal Bicycle Network in collaboration with councils. This network will be integrated with the Green Grid. In some areas, rail lines and other linear infrastructure prevent connectivity. Where feasible, planning and investment must consider opportunities for connections across rail lines, roads and other linear infrastructure. Useful link: • NSW Urban Green Cover Technical Guidelines Councils will lead delivery of the Greater Sydney Green Grid through land use planning and infrastructure investment mechanisms such Actions Responsibility 68. Expand urban tree canopy in the public realm. Councils and State agencies 69. Progressively refine the detailed design and delivery of: a. Greater Sydney Green Grid priority opportunities b. connections that form the long-term vision of the network. Councils, planning authorities and State agencies Greater Sydney Commission | Draft North District Plan