The Ministry for the Environment in June 2018 released their Consultation Document on Draft National Planning Standards (DNPS).
Planning standards have been proposed since 2010 with the aim of making Resource Management Act plans simpler to prepare, and easier for plan users to understand, compare and comply with.
The proposed standards introduce standardised plan format and definitions and are not intended to determine local policy matters.
The Association is supportive of the DNPS and considers the Standards an important initiative towards improving the effectiveness of the Resource Management Act and enabling renewable electricity generation development. In particular the planning standards address the five key issues identified in the Consultation Document:
- interpreting plans can be costly and time-consuming, particularly for plan users that regularly work across multiple plans.
- some plans are overly complex, making them difficult to use.
- national direction is implemented inconsistently.
- each council and many plan submitters have to spend time and resources developing the structure, form and common content of each plan.
- best planning practice is not able to be implemented efficiently across all plans because they are currently so different.
NZWEA is most concerned with the current inconsistent implementation of national direction and the inefficiencies that result from so many variations in interpretation and format.
The Association also supports the inclusion of noise and vibration metric standards as a mandatory direction. The New Zealand Standard 6808:2010 Acoustics Wind farm noise was developed to provide suitable methods for the prediction, measurement and assessment of sound from wind turbines. Notwithstanding the expert nature of the Committee that developed the Standard, Association members have experienced considerable resistance to the acceptance of the Standard when seeking resource consents.
The Association’s submission can be viewed here:
Subject to consultation the gazettal of the notice of approval of the first set on national standards will occur no later than 18 April 2019.