Addressing urban heat and burn risk in Playgrounds

High burn risk from playground materials with urban heat

“Unshaded synthetic turf is not a safe material to use in playgrounds in hot climates”, claim urban heat researchers based in Sydney in a new peer reviewed study.

Public playgrounds are important for our children to play and exercise. Increasing temperatures with climate change poses a health risk and, in particular, a burn risk to children due to surfaces heating up during hot weather, according to new research.

Researchers Sebastian Pfautsch, Agnieszka Wujeska-Klause, Judi Walters based in University of Western Sydney released the peer reviewed study: Outdoor playgrounds and climate change: Importance of surface materials and shade to extend play time and prevent burn injuries, published in the September 2022 issue of Building and Environment.

The research focussed on impact of urban heat on playground surfaces, and potential for burn injuries. Synthetic turf and other rubber/plastic surfaces were considered as part of this research. It has implications for urban heat of synthetic turf and other rubber and plastics surfaces and prevention of burn injuries, especially to children. This research should also help to inform Moreland Council investigation into Making Sports Playing surfaces sustainable.

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September 2, 2022 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

Making Sports Playing surfaces sustainable

Clifton Park synthetic turf pitch surface temperature

Moreland Council has ordered a report in the first stage of development of a policy on open space surfaces, and sports fields in particular. The report needs to consider in particular “consideration to our stance on the Climate Emergency, Integrated Water Management, Urban Heat Island Effect and our goal of zero waste by 2030.

At last Council is moving to incorporate triple bottom line principles of environmental, social and financial decision making as mandated under the Local Government Act with regards to sports surfaces decision making.

Brunswick Voice has an article on the debate in Council chambers on 10 August: Climate debate heats up over synthetic turf.

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August 29, 2022 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Time to Lift energy standards in the National Construction Code

Climate Action Moreland joined an alliance of more than 100 property, community, health and environmental organisations that issued a forceful call to the country’s Building Ministers to lift the energy efficiency of new homes built in Australia.

This is particularly important in Moreland considering new residential property development both in high rise and infill development to support a growing population density.

The powerful joint statement, released two weeks ahead of a National Building Ministers meeting, urges the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers to use the meeting to confirm amendments to the National Construction Code.

The proposed changes would increase the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes from a 6 to 7-star energy rating and have the potential to slash the average household energy bill by up to $576 a year, according to the Federal Government’s own analysis.

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August 11, 2022 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Climate and sustainability Comment on Council agenda 10 August 2022

Climate Council graphic on sustainable transport

Our comment on Moreland (Merri-Bek) Council agenda for 10 August 2022, sent to all Councillors.

Dear Councillors, 

There are a few agenda items of significance at Council meeting in August. Two deal with improving cycling infrastructure, one with advocacy for improving public transport (buses) as part of a northern region assessment. These three agenda items are important for addressing transport emissions in Moreland.

Transport is about 16 percent of Moreland’s community emissions profile, with automotive emissions being 12 percent. (Refer Snapshot July 2019-June 2020 https://snapshotclimate.com.au/locality/municipality/australia/victoria/moreland/2019/fy )

The Councillor NOM on a Council policy on surfaces for sportsfields and open spaces is also important for climate and sustainability considerations.

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August 10, 2022 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Moreland Council orders report to consider Fossil Fuel Ad Ban

At Council meeting on 13 July Councillors voted in progressing a Fossil ad ban. Council called for a report on how Council can prohibit advertising on Council-owned property for companies involved in the production or supply of Fossil Fuels.

Yarra Council has also initiated a Fossil Ad Ban.

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July 15, 2022 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

Climate and sustainability Comment on Council agenda 13 July 2022

Monthly comment on the Council Agenda, forwarded to all Councillors.
Dear Councillor,

I call your attention to a number of issues in the agenda for 13 July which I would like to provide comment on behalf of Climate Action Moreland:

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July 14, 2022 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Submission: Setting Victoria’s 2035 climate target

Projection of carbon emissions reduction pathway for 1.5C, net zero by 2035.

What should Victoria’s 2035 emissions reduction target be? We strongly believe it should be science based taking into account our carbon budget with global equity considerations. The Victorian Government called for submissions by June 5, 2022. Our submissions concentrated on Transport, as we see that is a major policy blind spot with regard to public transport, active transport and aviation.

  • Victoria’s target for 2020 was to cut emissions by 15-20% below 2005 levels. That target was achieved two years early.
  • Victoria’s target for 2025 is to cut emissions by 28-33% below 2005 levels.
  • Victoria’s target for 2030 is to cut emissions by 45-50% below 2005 levels.

Read our submission for 2025 and 2030 targets in which we argued for at minimum the emissions cuts identified by the Combet review matching the science: of at least 43% by 2025 and 67% by 2030 to have any chance of limiting warming to 1. 5°C. (Download PDF version)

The next short-term target, for 2035, must be set by 31 March 2023. An independent panel of experts will advise on a target for 2035, the best action to reach that target and what the pathways to net zero emissions by 2050 could look like. The Panel will prepare a report with their advice to government by 1 March 2023.

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June 6, 2022 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Submission: Keep building Protected bike lanes in City of Melbourne

William street Protected bike lane (2021) Photo by Philip Mallis/Flickr, Creative Commons licensed.

City of Melbourne Future Melbourne committee will be considering a proposal to defer new protected bike lanes construction in the Hoddle grid for the next financial year at its meeting on 7 June 2022. Many Moreland residents cycle into the city and use the present cycling infrastructure, and to grow the numbers of people cycling now is not the time to stop building safe protected cycling infrastructure in the Melbourne CBD. The Climate Action Moreland submission is below.

Recent published peer review study focused on Melbourne by Pearson et al (2022) concluded: “Our results show the potential for substantial increases in cycling participation, but only when high-quality cycling infrastructure is provided.”(1) The recent IPCC 6th assessment report also highlights the importance of prioritising cycling and walking as part of urban solutions to reduce emissions and act on climate. See the Extend the Upfield Bike Path blog post.(2)

Update: in an email to those who made submissions, Cr Rohn Lepport explains that the deferral was needed as there are no major new protected bike lanes shovel ready within the Hoddle Grid, hence the prioritisation of Arden St, Macaulay Rd, Grattan St and Royal Pde lanes, while working on design and approval of further protected bike lane infrastructure in future years. The politics and process is little messy but a way forward was found by City of Melbourne. Read the full email at the end of this article.

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June 5, 2022 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

In the depth of winter an urban heat campaign on Fake Grass launches for Victoria

With an overcast sky and temperatures barely in the double digits a small crowd gathered beside the synthetic grass pitch at Clifton Park in Brunswick. This was the launch of the Campaign to Turf out Fake Grass in Victoria.

Climate NGO Sweltering Cities, which focusses on urban heat and solutions to mitigating and adapting to increasing urban heat, had initiated this campaign as a result of several meetings with residents in suburban Melbourne and a large heat survey that was conducted over the summer.

Sign the petition to Turf out Fake Grass addressed to Victorian Minister for Suburban Development Shaun Leane.

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June 5, 2022 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Julien Vincent of Market Forces wins Goldman Environmental Prize

We have just learned that Julien Vincent from local NGO Market Forces has won one of the 6 Goldman environmental prizes for 2022. Market Forces has been an important force in campaigning to redirect the billions of investment dollars by banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds away from fossil fuels.

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May 26, 2022 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

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