Melissa McGrath (Team Leader - District Plan), Policy and Monitoring, Whangarei District Council.
Noise has the potential to cause adverse effects, depending on a number of factors including frequency, timing, volume and the type of noise. Disturbance of sleep is often the greatest complaint in relation to noise, however other adverse effects include general nuisance, psychological and chronic health effects, interference with speech communication and interference with learning processes, thinking and education. The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for community noise recommend that levels of 30-35 LAeq are required in bedrooms to protect sleep disturbance and 35-40 LAeq in other habitable spaces to protect indoor amenity.
Council has undertaken a comprehensive review of noise and vibration provisions in the District Plan, with a technical report provided from Marshall Day Acoustics (which is available to view by clicking on the 'General Information' heading at the bottom of this page). Background research showed that the District Plan’s current approach to noise and vibration is disjointed and outdated. The District Plan references superseded New Zealand standards and noise terminology that is no longer consistent with national and international best practice.
Plan Change 110 seeks to introduce objectives, policies and rules for noise and vibration at a District Wide level that are consistent with best practice, and that uphold what is required for the health and safety of people and communities, and the amenity values of the Environment in which they are located.