Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government reaffirms support for the principles of Solar Access rules in residential planning codes

ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman last week reaffirmed the government's support for the principles of Solar Access rules in residential planning codes.

"The changes introduced under Variation 306 sought to significantly improve solar access and provide certainty to homeowners that opportunities for passive solar design, and active solar technologies, would be available to all residential blocks," Mr Gentleman said.

Sunset in Canberra
Above: Sunset in Canberra / by Prescott Pym.

"We are always looking for ways to improve our rules and legislation and a process of review is currently underway to refine the solar access requirements while maintaining this important policy objective.

"A process of review is underway to refine the solar access requirements while maintaining the important policy objective. The government will be making further announcements regarding this review in the coming weeks.

Prior to Variation 306, detached residential blocks were required to comply with an energy audit rating tool rating blocks from 0 to 5 stars.

"While the star rated tool worked well in some situations, it did not apply to compact blocks with an attached party wall and relied upon the setbacks of future dwellings to determine the energy rating for each block," Mr Gentleman said.

"These changes address the serious issues of energy consumption in the residential sector, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. They also provide certainty to homeowners and ensuring that opportunities for passive solar design are available to every residential block.

"The community has embraced the policies that were introduced with Variation 306, particularly the solar access policies. These were moderate and sensible policies built largely on rules that previously existed," Mr Gentleman said.

The review will include consultation with key industry bodies including the ACT chapters of the Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Architects, Property Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association.

Photo: Sunset in Canberra / Prescott Pym / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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