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Land-use planning

Land use planning attempts to address noise in a strategic manner. It can provide consistency and certainty when implemented early in the planning process. Land use planning approaches to control the effects of noise can occur at a national, regional or district/city level and can be complemented by other measures such as bylaws (for example restrictions on engine braking) and urban design.

Land use planning options include:

  • National approaches: National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards, the New Zealand Transport Strategy, New Zealand Standards, Building Codes and the Urban Design Protocol.
  • Regional approaches: plan objectives, policies, rules and associated standards; regional land transport strategies and associated transport policies.
  • District/city approaches: plan objectives, policies, rules and associated standards, such as rules and standards relating to noise barriers, building design, setbacks, site layout and building orientation.

District/city and regional approaches are most commonly used and specific planning options include:

  • Location policies - such as policies recognising a hierarchy of roads within a district/city, policies encouraging new housing to locate in close proximity to public transport (which assists in reducing the need for travel by private vehicles and, therefore, the magnitude of noise generated).
  • Control based measures – plan rules specifying suitable building setbacks from major arterial roads. Plan rules restricting the development of certain land uses near existing or planned road corridors, zoning, the use of structure plans to control site layout to reduce the transmission of, or exposure to, noise, or performance standards for noise sensitive activities (for example resource consent conditions requiring developers to demonstrate that specified internal sound levels have been met).
  • Urban design – such as using plan rules and structure plans to achieve mixed use developments that aim to reduce private vehicle use or to control the location, orientation and design of buildings in order to reduce noise impacts.
  • Strategic land use planning – such as promoting land use patterns that reduce dependency on private vehicles and subsequent road traffic related noise.

Land use planning approaches could make reference to NZS 6806 specifying that noise shall be predicted, measured, assessed, and mitigated in accordance with this Standard.

Land use planning balances a number of objectives therefore noise outcomes will always need to be balanced with other national, regional and local planning issues. Additional information is available on the Quality Planning website(external link).

Reverse sensitivity

We have prepared a Guide to the management of effects on noise sensitive land use near to the state highway network and a summary leaflet. This document describes how we work together with local authorities and landowners/developers to manage reverse sensitivity effects from noise and vibration sensitive activities. Appropriate setback distances and criteria for acoustically treating buildings are provided, together with model district plan rules and resource consent conditions.

For further information contact