National Grid: City & District Plan Rules

The government issued National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission 2008 (NPSET), a planning document under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), requires Council’s to give effect to the NPSET objectives and policies in all plan documents (such as district plans and regional policy statements). Council’s must also have regard to the NPSET when considering resource consent applications.

A council’s district or city plan may give effect to the NPSET by including specific rules about subdivision, land use and development near National Grid transmission lines and substations. It may use the same terms as Transpower, such as National Grid Yard, Subdivision and Substation Corridor, or it might describe the areas around our assets in other ways such as buffer or transmission corridor setbacks. The main point is that it all refers to the same need to restrict incompatible activities or inappropriate development around National Grid assets.

Each district/city plan is different and may or may not include rules restricting development around National Grid assets. Please ensure contact is made with the local council in the first instance to discuss what National Grid rules may apply to your property and proposal, including whether resource consent is or is not required. Although National Grid transmission lines are Transpower assets, the rules applying to them are council rules within its plans.

Auckland Unitary Plan

The Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in part) (AUP) is Auckland’s planning rulebook. To give effect to the NPSET, the AUP includes a National Grid Corridor Overlay (Chapter D26) with objectives, policies and rules to protect existing National Grid assets. The National Grid Yard, Subdivision and Substation Corridor are all mapped on Auckland Council’s GIS viewer. If you turn on the Infrastructure - National Grid Overlay, you can see if your property is within the National Grid Yard or National Grid Subdivision Corridor.

The AUP rules permit and restrict other specific activities and development, depending on their compatibility with high voltage transmission infrastructure. The rules are generally less restrictive for development in existing built up, “compromised” urban areas of Auckland compared to mostly undeveloped, “greenfield” or “uncompromised” areas. These areas are all mapped in the Council’s GIS viewer.

The National Grid Subdivision Corridor has varying widths in Auckland depending on the maximum “blowout”, or swing, of the conductors (“wires”) on each individual line span (the distance between the support towers or poles).

Many activities, including residential building, can occur within the National Grid Subdivision Corridor provided they are located outside the 12-metre National Grid Yard and comply with the NZ Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances (NZECP34:2001). Transpower has input into subdivision proposals within the National Grid Subdivision Corridor to ensure access is preserved for maintenance and upgrade work, and to manage reverse sensitivity impacts (e.g. the risk of noise and other complaints from people who build houses close to Grid lines). 

Please ensure you contact Auckland Council and ask to speak to a duty planner to discuss any possible resource consent requirements because of the AUP National Grid Overlay rules. Auckland Council makes the decision on all applications for resource consent but may choose to consult with Transpower as an affected party.

Further Information

Our Page on Development near National Grid Assets has further information on what issues are encountered when developing near National Grid assets and how Transpower addresses these through the use of National Grid Yards and Subdivision Corridors.