Managing state highway reverse sensitivity effects

Aaron Hudson , Stephen Chiles

New Zealand Acoustics, 28(3), pp.6- 8 . (2015).

Port and airport companies have long been proactive in seeking and defending reverse sensitivity controls in district plans. These typically include control boundaries within which new noise sensitive activities around key infrastructure are either prevented or are subject to sound insulation requirements. Such controls are not currently in place for the most widespread environmental noise source in the country, the state highway network, and consequently the NZ Transport Agency frequently has to deal with actual reverse sensitivity effects. To avoid compounding these issues the Transport Agency developed a Reverse Sensitivity Policy in 2007, using a similar approach to that set out in the port and airport noise standards (NZS 6805, NZS 6807 and NZS 6809). However, the state highway network passes through nearly every district in the country and to date controls have only been implemented in a minority of district plans. Councils have often been resistant to including reverse sensitivity controls in district plans, and modifications have been made to standard provisions making them inconsistent around the country. This paper presents a review of these existing issues and introduces the Transport Agency’s new draft guide for managing reverse sensitivity effects on the state highway network.