In another round of meaningless legislation that promises the earth and delivers nothing, we now have Wynne’s Amendment VC149 (gazetted today).

The accompanying Explanatory Report states:

Amendment VC149 also provides guidance on the assessment of planning applications where rooftop solar energy facilities exist on abutting residential properties, as well as direction on the assessment of new solar energy facilities in heritage areas. This guidance is required to address the absence of a clear and consistent framework within the VPP for the assessment of the impact of development on solar energy facilities

Clause 15.02-1 seeks to encourage land use and development that uses energy efficiently and minimises greenhouse gas emissions. Amendment VC149 will ensure that new building designs minimise the impact of overshadowing of existing rooftop solar energy facilities on adjoining lots, enabling more efficient residential energy use.

Far from ENSURING anything, this piece of legislation can only be described as another instance of spin, tokenism and the failure to insist on standards that will place a check on development that ignores the issue of solar panelling, wind tunnelling effects, etc. It mirrors the gutless refusal to introduce proper standards for apartment sizes, and the dilution of the required garden areas and parking numbers.

Readers should carefully review the following screen dump from the legislation. In order for the legislation to have any real impact then SHOULD would be replaced with MUST. Further, exactly what does ‘unreasonable’ mean? Then we also have the ‘get out of jail clause’ such as ‘if practicable’.

As for the Decision Guidelines themselves, we get the following waffle –

The extent to which an existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot is overshadowed by existing buildings or other permanent structures. 

Whether the existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot is appropriately located. 

The effect of overshadowing on an existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot. 

The second sentence is remarkable. Does this mean that someone who has spent a fortune on installing solar panels will now be ‘guilty’ of councils and VCAT deciding that they weren’t ‘appropriately located’ – whatever this might mean. Does this then give the developer the all clear and occasion further cost on the neighbour to move his panels? We have already had instances in Glen Eira where this has occurred!

In our view, another piece of legislation that is all about pretense and nothing about curbing inappropriate development.