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Standards, guidelines and reference documents provide an opportunity to clearly specify expectations around minimum levels of service, consolidate practical experience gained by the organisation and disseminate specific specialist knowledge relating to highway construction operation and maintenance so this knowledge can be applied efficiently and consistently across the organisation.

The EUD team is involved in creating:

  • The Environmental and social responsibility standard is a practical application of legal requirements within state highway activities. Standards (or specifications) must be achieved and are contractually binding.
  • Guidelines. These must be used when improving, operating or maintaining the state highway network. Guidelines contain recommended good practice suitable for use on state highways and become legally binding when invoked in contract documents.
  • Reference documents. These contain guidance, advice and good practice in addition to that covered by standards or guidelines.
  • Specifications. These are contractually binding.

A list of all the standards, specifications, guidelines and reference documents which relate to environmental and social responsibility and are sponsored by the EUD team manager is contained in the HNO environmental and social responsibility manual. The standards, guidelines, tools and references included in this manual are applicable to all network capital works and maintenance operations.

In order for a new standard, guideline or reference document to be implemented, its purpose and content is scrutinised through a consultation and formal ratification process.


Environmental and social guideline documents can be prepared about a variety of topics relating to the design, construction and operation of state highway assets, however the focus of Environmental and social responsibility guideline documents generally falls under one of the following categories:

  1. Assessment of impacts
  2. Design guidance
  3. Other practices to manage impacts

Impact assessment

In order to ensure value-for-money and consistent environmental impact assessment and mitigation across the state highway network, the Environment and Urban Design team works closely with project managers to collect best practices, identify relevant international trends and develop New Zealand specific guidelines.

We have prepared a high level aspects and impacts register which lists all the potential environmental and social impacts of state highway activities.

Impact assessment guides help to achieve a nationally consistent application of assessment methods within the context of Transport Agency business processes. Environmental and social impact assessments assist in evaluating options; understanding and mitigating impacts; making decisions to progress a Project; as well as supporting statutory approvals for approved Projects.

An impact assessment should:

  • assist the Transport Agency in the decision making process;
  • inform the broader design process;
  • assist in achieving the environmental and social objectives of the project; and
  • meet the requirements of the appropriate statutory processes (where relevant)

The guides are aimed at project managers, planners and impact assessment specialists. They will also be useful for environmental managers and contract managers. The guides state how impacts from state highway improvement projects should be assessed and outline the minimum requirements for assessing impacts during each phase of highway improvement project development and delivery.

We have impact assessment guides in development or ready to download for the following areas:

Design guidelines

Design guidelines focus on options that are available during the design process to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects from environmental and social impacts and enhance positive effects of state highway activities. These documents should be considered during the pre-implementation and implementation phases when developing preliminary design philosophy statements and design philosophy statements. Aspects of the guides are also useful for those involved in maintenance of state highways.

We have the following design guides available:


We have developed a number of tools to assist in the impact assessment and design processes. These tools can be found on the technical discipline pages and include tools such as a road noise calculator, noise barrier cost calculator, environmental and social risk maps, Archaeological prediction model for road asset management; vehicle emissions prediction model, among others.

We have an interdisciplinary tier 1 environmental and social assessment tool called the ESR screen.

Other guidelines

A number of other documents are available to help give effect to statutory and policy documents including those covering:

 For further information contact