Inner West Council will vote on Tuesday 5 December on a motion to begin the phase-out of gas in Inner West houses. If successful, the motion will see the council move away from gas in its own facilities, and amend its Development Control Plan (DCP) to prevent new indoor gas connections in residential dwellings.
Over the past year, responding to a lack of state government action, several Sydney councils have taken steps to end new gas connections. The most comprehensive approach has been taken by Lane Cove council, which has amended its DCP to end new gas connections for all residential and commercial buildings, except in exceptional circumstances. In doing so, Lane Cove Council noted that the burning of gas in residential propreties increases indoor and outdoor air pollution, costs residents money, and increases urban heat.
Last month Newtown Climate joined with eight other local community climate organisations to write to Inner West Council asking them to move decisively to end new gas connections, following the Lane Cove model. Our letter highlighted the health and economic benefits of all-electric homes, as well as the benefits for the climate. Inner West Council has previously acknowledged that we are in a climate emergency that requires rapid and far-reaching action.
Unfortunately, the proposal which Inner West Council will vote on this week does not cover commercial buildings, and will still allow residents and developers to install new gas connections for hot water. While gas hot water heaters cost less to install than modern heat pump systems, they are more expensive to run and will burden households with an extra utility bill and connection fees.
Two thirds of Newtown households are renting, and are stuck with the decisions made by property developers and landlords. This is why we think it’s important that Council take decisive action to end new gas connections, so that residents aren’t stuck living with air pollution and paying energy bills that are much higher than they need to be.
We look forward to the outcome of Tuesday’s council meeting, and to seeing Inner West Council take a decisive stand on this important issue.