The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Rules for sensitive receivers

Rule option

Advantages

Disadvantages

Performance standard based on the activity.
Require specific noise performance levels to be met in buildings and areas occupied by sensitive receivers. May request an acoustic report as proof.

  • Reasonably simple, approach but greater flexibility than a blanket level
  • Can provide protection from night-time sleep disturbance.
  • Allows flexibility and innovation in providing solutions that meet stipulated levels.
  • May require protection of outdoor areas for "residential" activities.
  • Easy to enforce.
  • Adds cost to building design and construction.
  • High cost of site-by-site acoustic reports (may be reduced through design guides).
  • May be difficult to achieve any given outdoor noise levels, particularly in existing urban areas.
  • Is a snap-shot in time (the time of construction) increasing noise levels over time are not necessarily considered.

Performance standard for zoned areas

Where zoning exists performance standards may be linked to the zone e.g. commercial, residential, mixed use. This approach takes into account the expected noise levels of different zones.

  • Allows recognition of different noise expectations in different environments.
  • Allows flexibility and innovation in providing solutions to meet the levels.
  • Can ensure protection of outdoor areas.
  • External noise levels may prove difficult to achieve over time.
  • Enforcement would be very difficult.
  • Impractical for any existing urban development areas - only really applicable to "green fields" sites.

Setback rule for new residential subdivisions

Setback rules are useful where land is currently undeveloped and available. They may be used for existing roads, and proposed roads. One approach might be to a set a performance standard and incorporate external measures to address noise such as acoustic insulation or noise barriers.

  • Provides comfort to councils and roading authorities that substantial noise protection is being undertaken.
  • Allows developers to maximise the use of the site.
  • Provides basic protection of outdoor areas, and better protection of indoor areas.
  • Easy to enforce but relies on modelling of the noise transmission.
  • The most complex and prescriptive rule, with potentially high cost of site-by-site acoustic reports and treatment.
  • Based around an achievable reduction in noise levels, not an absolute level.
  • May be restricted to larger green-field developments.

 

Rules for road and rail corridors

Rules option

Advantages

Disadvantages

Performance standard for new roads or rail lines
Requires conformance with a set performance standard. For example, maximum noise levels based on WHO Guidelines for Community Noise.

  • Sets a simple level for all roads and rail lines.
  • Recognises future development areas, where development is likely.
  • Will result in protection of both indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Resource consent could still be an option for roads and rail lines that do not meet this rule.
  • The noise levels included in the rule may prove difficult to achieve
  • Only applies to new roads or rail lines.
  • Some noise descriptors e.g. Leq (24hr) measure are not ideal for describing the noise actually experienced by noise sensitive receivers, particularly single event noises from heavy vehicles or excessively noisy cars.

Performance standard for new roads
An alternative option is to set the performance standard in relation to the ambient noise based on projected vehicle numbers for the road type This is essentially similar to the existing NZTA Noise Guidelines approach, but would include stricter noise levels and an upper limit.

  • Ignores low volume roads where noise is not significant.
  • Recognises future development areas, where development is likely.
  • Will result in protection of both indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Recognises existing ambient noise levels.
  • Only applies to new roads.