This topic looks at noise management. Noise can affect people’s health and perception of their environment. Community acceptance of sound, and whether it is perceived as noise, will depend on the type, level and duration of the sound and whether it is reasonable for it to occur on a particular day or at a certain time in that location.

Key Issues:

  • Rules need to be updated to reflect up-to-date best practice and acoustical standards
  • Depending on the zone, various hours apply to noise rules. This creates complication and uncertainty and in some situations leads to conflict. This needs clarification in the reviewed District Plan
  • Better management of intermittent noise and ‘reverse sensitivity’ effects arising from activities such as gun clubs and bird scarer gas guns is needed. Reverse sensitivity can occur when  newly permitted activities impact existing activities
  • There are no rules to specifically address certain activities capable of generating lots of noise such as quarry blasting, commercial firewood processing, dog boarding kennels, shooting ranges, motor vehicle racing, function venues, and military training
  • The current exemption for agricultural activities is worded in such a way that activities like frost fans do not have to comply with any noise rules
  • Noise rules for roads require clarification and updating
  • There are no noise rules for new house development close to rail lines. This needs consideration
  • Simplification or clarification is required, e.g., presently, there are two rules for aircraft noise, and there are also two rules applicable to the Business 2 Zone
  • There are rules for earthquake rebuilding activities similar to the general noise rules.

What We’re Thinking:

  • Update rules to reflect the most recent acoustical standards
  • Make the daytime and night-time hours the same for all zones
  • Introduce controls to manage effects of new activities on existing activities (also known as reverse sensitivity), such as gun clubs/shooting ranges and bird scarers
  • Treat certain activities differently to other activities in relevant zones - e.g., frost fans, dog boarding kennels, motorised vehicles, heat pumps, function venues, and emergency generators
  • Add a rule to best manage the effects of quarry blasting
  • Include specific noise rules for military training activities
  • Review the management of noise from agricultural activities to make it clear what activities are not required to meet noise rules
  • Add rules to best manage noise from small airfields
  • Exempt public roads from noise rules
  • Include a rule for activities near high traffic volume roads to mitigate the effects
  • Consider noise rules for housing developments close to rail lines
  • Contain all noise limit rules in one concise table which focuses on the zone affected by the noise, not the zone creating it
  • Combine the two rules for aircraft noise into one for simplicity. Simplify the rules applying to current Business 2 Zoned land
  • Remove the noise rules for earthquake recovery activity.

Relevant Information:

Open Space and Recreation Zones, pg 8 (What's the Plan?)
Earthworks, pg 11 (What's the Plan?)
Quarrying, pg 12 (What's the Plan?)
Temporary Activities, pg 17 (What's the Plan?)
Business Activities in Rural and Residential Zones, pg 29 (What's the Plan?)