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#22-12 Guideline for preparing an environmental management plan

Published: | Category: Technical advice note | Audiences: Road controlling authorities, Road traffic engineers & consultants, Roading contractors

This note is to advise that the Guideline for preparing an environmental management plan (EMP) has been published. This updated guideline replaces the 2014 Guideline for preparing an environmental and social management plan.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: 29 November 2022
  • Reference: 22-12
  • Contact:


This note is to advise that the Guideline for preparing an environmental management plan (EMP) has been published.  This updated guideline replaces the 2014 Guideline for preparing an environmental and social management plan.

This guideline should be applied to all new capital improvement (construction) and maintenance contracts from the date of this note. The new guideline does not apply retrospectively.

General information

The guideline sets out the expectations for the preparation of an environmental management plan (EMP) for the management of environmental effects during construction and maintenance activities. The primary audience for this guide is contractors and professional services contractors responsible for developing and implementing EMPs. The guideline also provides information to assist project and maintenance contract managers with the management of these effects.

EMPs are a requirement for all construction and all maintenance and operations (network outcomes) contracts, as set out in of Z19 Taumata Taiao, our Environmental and Sustainability Standard.

EMPs are a key tool supporting the delivery of statutory requirements (including consents, designation conditions, archaeological authorities and wildlife permit) and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency environmental policy).

The scope of the EMP is tailored to the activity but can include a wide range of topics, such as (but not limited to) social values, heritage, air quality, noise and vibration, contaminated land, biodiversity, resource efficiency and waste minimisation, and hazardous substances.

Specific changes

This update includes revised templates for:

  • an environmental management plan (EMP)
  • an environmental risk register.

The main changes are:

  • clarification of the inputs required for EMP   preparation; review and sign-off procedures; requirements around permitted activities and consents; and the use of contractors’ own procedures and registers
  • description of competencies required for preparation of the EMP and update of key roles that should be included within the EMP
  • inclusion of Māori partnerships and guidance for including Māori perspectives in development of the EMP
  • further detail on communication, consultation and complaints management requirements
  • clarification on identification of sensitive sites within the project zone of influence and inclusion of a sensitive sites checklist (added as an appendix to the guideline)
  • further guidance on the identification and management of environmental risks for all activities and use of an environmental risk register
  • environmental incident response and reporting requirements
  • improved consistency between the EMP guideline and EMP template, and reduction of templates from three to one.

Other information we should expect to see

Advice of these changes will be disseminated by:

  • separate focus area specifications to deliver individual technical requirements at construction and maintenance contract stages
  • the guideline requirements are to be included in the procurement process and in particular the request for proposal (RFP) requirements of the Professional Services Contract
  • the guideline requirements will be integrated into SM011, SM030, SM031, SM032, and other Waka Kotahi processes as necessary.

To support this and ensure successful transition, the Safe and Sustainable Standards team will:

  • provide training to project, maintenance teams and industry in the use and benefits of the guideline as part of an ongoing implementation plan.

Effectiveness review

To ensure it is being used effectively, we will review that effectiveness following the first year of implementation and every three years thereafter.  The review will include:

  • checking the inclusion in new contracts
  • sampling and reviewing environment management plans
  • checking outcomes.

Publication details

Found at:

Further information

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Team Lead Environment and Sustainability at