National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission
The National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission (“NPS ET” or “the NPS”) was gazetted on 13 March 2008.
Guidance – clarification of section 55 RMA requirements
The April 2012 deadline for local authorities to give effect to the NPS provisions in plans made under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), by initiating a plan change or review, is nearly here. There has been some confusion regarding the NPS and section 55 RMA requirements.
The preamble to the NPS ET refers to section 55 of the RMA prior to the 2009 amendments. As a result councils have an obligation to use the process set out in Schedule 1 of the RMA to process any plan change or review required to give effect to the NPS ET.
What is ‘electricity transmission’?
The national grid is the high voltage transmission network that carries electricity around the country. It is made up of over 12,000 kms of high-voltage transmission lines and more than 170 substations. It connects power stations to substations that feed local electricity distribution networks.
What is the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission?
- A statement from central government to recognise the national significance of our national grid in RMA plans and local decision making.
- A high-level framework that will give guidance across New Zealand for the management and future planning of the national grid.
What does it do?
- It acknowledges the national significance of the national grid, which now has to be considered in local decision making on resource management.
- It recognises the national benefits we all get from electricity transmission, such as better security of supply of electricity.
- It gives guidance to local decision makers in the management of the impacts of the transmission network on its environment.
- It also guides the management of the adverse effects of activities from third parties on the grid. This will help reduce constraints on the operation, maintenance, upgrading and development of the grid.
- It ensures long term strategic planning for elements of the national grid.
Why is this needed?
- The efficient transmission of electricity on the national grid plays a vital role in the well-being of New Zealand, its people and the environment.
- The government has developed a national policy statement to acknowledge the national significance of the national grid and to ensure that there is balanced consideration of the national benefits and the local effects of electricity transmission.
- Previously, there was no national framework that local government could use when they had to decide on proposals for transmission lines.
Who will be affected?
- The National Policy Statement directly affects decision makers in local government. They will have to take the NPS into account when drafting plans, and have regard for it when making decisions about resource consents, alongside other considerations under the Resource Management Act.
- The national policy statement will also have to be considered by the grid operator.
How did the National Policy Statement come about?
- The NPS is the result of a robust statutory process of public consultation under the RMA.
- An independent Board of Inquiry was appointed in 2007 to hear public views on the proposed national policy statement and prepare recommendations.
- A wide range of views from groups and organisations was received.
- The Board reported back to the Minister for the Environment at the end of 2007. The final National Policy Statement closely follows the recommendations of the Board.
- The government has been looking at options for national guidance since January 2005 when it first established a reference group to look at transmission issues. This group said a national policy statement would help in the management of electricity transmission.
- This reference group was made up of central and local government, the Electricity Commission, Transpower, Federated Farmers and Business New Zealand.
Board of inquiry terms of reference on the Proposed National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission
Proposed National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission
Proposed National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission Evaluation under Section 32 of the Resource Management Act 1991
What happens now?
- The national policy statement sets the overall policy framework for electricity transmission and contains policies that will need to be taken into account when councils draft plans and that councils will have to have regard for when individual projects are considered under the RMA.
What does the policy statement mean for individual transmission projects?
- The national policy statement does not refer to any individual transmission network projects but will be a consideration for decision makers.
- It forms part of the overall policy framework and contains policies that will need to be taken into account when individual projects are considered under the RMA.
How does the national policy statement link with the national environmental standards for electricity transmission activities?
- The National Environmental Standard for Electricity Transmission Activities was approved on 14 December 2009. It will help councils implement NPS policies relating to the existing transmission network.
- The policy statement sets out the objectives and policies for electricity transmission. It is a high-level policy framework.
- The standards are regulations which set out specific, detailed requirements for work on electricity transmission lines.
Copies of the statement and material incorporated by reference
Public Notice – Access to Material Incorporated by Reference
The National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission incorporates the following material by reference:
International Commission on Non-ioninsing Radiation Protection Guidelines for limiting exposure to time varying electric magnetic fields (up to 300 GHz) (Health Physics, 1998, 74(4): 494-522)
World Health Organisation monograph Environment Health Criteria (No 238, June 2007)
This incorporated material can be inspected by appointment free of charge from the Ministry for the Environment’s head office at the following address.
23 Kate Sheppard Place
To make an appointment to inspect the incorporated material, please contact the Ministry for the Environment on:
Phone: (04) 439 7537
Photocopying of incorporated material will not be permitted.
Last updated:28 February 2013