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Land use planning issues near major hazard facilities in Melbourne

Land use planning issues near major hazard facilities in Melbourne. John O’Meara jpom@netbay.com.au. Nov 2009. The LUP/MHF project. Risk Engineering Society commissioned project to: explain Victorian planning processes to engineers review MHF situation in Melbourne

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Land use planning issues near major hazard facilities in Melbourne

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  1. Land use planning issues near major hazard facilities in Melbourne John O’Meara jpom@netbay.com.au Nov 2009

  2. The LUP/MHF project • Risk Engineering Society commissioned project to: • explain Victorian planning processes to engineers • review MHF situation in Melbourne • examine recent planning applications near MHFs to identify issues • examine UK situation & compare to Vic

  3. Project output • collection of hyperlinked files • hybrid: • something like a website • something like a wiki • many links to external resources • educational tool • information resource • will demonstrate later

  4. Reverse disclaimer • Responsibility for this presentation is mine alone – all mistakes are proudly mine • Presenting factual material • This is information, not opinion

  5. Some pragmatism • Complex areas to study • Need to:- • use simplified explanations (apologies to experts) • avoid “tangents”

  6. Tangents important, but distracting Coode Island Buncefield causes Dangerous Goods Act LUP/MHF issues OHS law harmonisation Flixborough Environment Protection Act Cranbourne landfill Other States

  7. Introduction MHF regs introduced 2000 Direct consequence of Longford incident, 1998 Purpose – to minimise likelihood of major chemical incidents that could harm community Minimise harm to community if an incident occurs Inwards focus – on control measures within MHFs Say nothing on developments & activities outside MHFs

  8. Intro… Planning laws – Planning and Environment Act 1987 Apply to all land One general aim – keep industry and societal uses apart In place before MHF regs Reference MHF minimally

  9. Intro… Victoria’s safety regulator defines MHFs as a special class of industry requiring its own set of reg’s to protect the community Town planning perspective? - sees MHFs as a special class? - or sees them as just “industry” Hobsons Bay review of industrial land use strategy, 2006 8x MHFs in Hobsons Bay (more than any other) 100 Page report No mention of “major hazard facilities”

  10. UK / Vic comparison UK Victoria

  11. Buncefield fuel depot Before Dec 11 2005

  12. Buncefield fuel depot Dec 11 2005 (a Sunday)

  13. The incident • In a very small nutshell: • a tank overflowed for more than 30 minutes • 300 te petrol escaped • vapour cloud formed (no wind) : 200m radius, 2m deep, 30 te petrol vapour • at 6:00 am the vapour cloud ignited & there was a massive explosion • no fatalities or serious injuries • significant damage to neighbouring properties (go back to aerial shots of depot)

  14. Neighbouring building damaged by blast & secondary fire

  15. Crushed car 200 kilopascals overpressures

  16. Video of Buncefield damage • 3 minute video taken by forensic photographers for investigators • note damage to “square” building and to vehicles (run video)

  17. UK government response to Buncefield • MIIB - Major Incident Investigation Board • 3 year investigation by Health and Safety Executive (UK safety regulator) • Many objectives & many reports, including: • “Land use planning and societal risk near major hazard sites”

  18. Land use planning & societal risk report • Chair of Investigation Board: the subject was“without a doubt, the most difficult and technically challenging that the Board has addressed” • The longest of their reports – “because we made a particular effort to make our conclusions and recommendations intelligible beyond the narrow community of practitioners”

  19. Land use planning recommendations • 18 recommendations, including “review land use planning system around major hazard sites” • Need for “Societal Risk Assessment” approach” • So: • ongoing work • forebodes significant changes

  20. recommendations... • Does not follow that a revised planning system will prohibit developments near MH sites – may allow developments not currently allowed • 90 page report worth studying (no more about Buncefield)

  21. UK - current planning practice • HSE defines three consultation distances around each MH site • inner, middle and outer CDs • not arbitrary distances, such as 100/200/300m • CDs calculated on a case by case basis • Any planning application within a CD MUST be referred to HSE for their advice

  22. CDs - consultation distances HSE will “advise against” or “not advise against”

  23. Decision matrix

  24. The Oval, London photo: Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak

  25. Planning application • Gas holders (top tier COMAH site, ie a MHF) • Proposal to develop new stand & hotel at cricket ground • Planning application to Council • Council referred it to HSE because within consultation distance of gas holders site • HSE formal response: “advise against”

  26. Approved against HSE advice • Council approved application • HSE asked Minister to call in the application • Minister held inquiry • Minister supported Council’s decision • Development will proceed

  27. Melbourne

  28. Yarraville

  29. Development proposal • Application to Maribyrnong Council • For 66 dwellings on vacant land • ~250m from fuel terminal (MHF) • No consultation distances in Victoria • Council NOT required to refer this application to Worksafe • Council sought Worksafe’s view

  30. Worksafe’s comment • Worksafe commented: “undesirable” • Comment not binding on Council • Council decision not yet made public • possibly to be determined at VCAT

  31. Victoria - planning controls • How does Victoria control societal risks from industry? • Zones • Threshold distances • Referral to Worksafe

  32. Victoria - zones • all Victorian land is within a defined planning zone that specifies what the land can be used for & what it cannot be used for • Look at two opposites • Dandenong & Newport • planned vs historical legacy

  33. Planned - Dandenong

  34. Dandenong - zones

  35. Historical legacy - Newport

  36. Newport - zones

  37. Table of threshold distances • To define those industries that may cause offence or unacceptable risk to the neighbourhood • Minimum distance from the land of the proposed use to any residential zone • seems to apply in one direction only - from industry use to residential, but not other way

  38. Threshold distances - examples

  39. Deficiencies with threshold distances • Seems more concerned with protection of community amenity than safety • Figures seem arbitrary • not risk based on a case by case basis

  40. Referral to Worksafe • Worksafe is a referral authority • If a referral authority objects to an planning application, Council must refuse the application • Some industrial developments must be referred to Worksafe • Residential developments are not referred to Worksafe

  41. Some issues • Communications - technical jargon, communication with community difficult • Legacy of unplanned development - co-proximity of residential zones & industrial zones • high density residential proposals near MHFs likely to continue - what risk assessment process exists?

  42. Issues... • How is Victoria using the Buncefield experience? • How will Victoria use the research output from the UK HSE? • Is there a strategy for preserving land for future MHFs? • Threshold distances - are they a suitable tool management of societal risk management re MHFs?

  43. Issues... • Threshold distances - suitable tool management of societal risk management near MHFs? • Rules for statutory referral to Worksafe - extend? • Will residential development cause MHFs to increase their hazard controls? Should costs be shared by industry & developer?

  44. The end (for now) Thankyou (show Puerto Rico pix) (demonstrate project)

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