Road traffic noise - new and altered roads - new draft Standard available for public comment

A new draft New Zealand Standard for addressing road traffic noise associated with new and altered roads will soon be available for public comment. Road traffic noise can have significant adverse effects on the health and amenity of people and communities near busy roads. The comment period is expected to be open until June 2009.

Development of the Standard is part of a package of work approved by the Government in 2006 that is intended to address land transport noise in a more integrated manner. Completion of the Standard is identified as a key action in the New Zealand Transport Strategy 2008.

A Standards New Zealand committee has been working on the Standard over the last two years. The committee is made up of representatives from a wide range of organisations such as Local Government NZ, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport, NZ Transport Agency (formerly Transit NZ and Land Transport NZ), Road Controlling Authorities Forum NZ, NZ Acoustical Society, NZ Institute of Environmental Health, Roading New Zealand, Ingenium, Resource Management Law Association, New Zealand Planning Institute, and the Department of Building and Housing.

The new Standard contains noise criteria to address the effects of road traffic noise associated with new or altered roads through consistent procedures and requirements for the measurement, prediction, assessment, and mitigation of such noise.

The Standard aims to ensure that new or altered roads with higher traffic volumes are designed to meet reasonable noise criteria that take into account health and amenity issues associated with noise; the effects of relative changes in noise levels on people and communities; and the potential benefits of new and altered roads to people and communities.

The main users of the Standard are expected to be local authorities and road controlling authorities including the NZ Transport Agency. The Standard seeks to promote more expedient and consistent decision-making on the management of road traffic noise effects and is likely to be of particular interest to: land use and transport planners, road and traffic engineers, surveyors, urban and landscape designers, developers, environmental managers, as well as noise professionals.

To ensure the Standard is well considered, and receives input from as wide a range of users as possible, Standards New Zealand invites comments from the public. From 9 April 2009, the draft, and explanatory notes for providing comments, can be downloaded from the Standards New Zealand website, www.standards.co.nz – click on the 'Public comment' tab, and enter keyword 6806.

In addition, to help potential users understand the development, content, and application of this new Standard, workshops will be held in the main centres of New Zealand in April 2009. For more information about the workshops and the draft Standard, please email Kiri Cook-Green, kiri.cook@standards.co.nz, at Standards New Zealand

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