Building near our assets - outside of the Auckland region

General building and subdivision enquiries are typically managed by our Landowner Relations Advisors (LORA) and Landowner Liaison Officers (LOLO). Enquiries about sensitive activities (including residential uses), or development that requires, or may require, resource consent from council, are managed by Transpower’s Environment Policy and Planning Group (EPPG).

The most common types of land use and development enquiries we respond to include:

  • New dwellings (or extensions to existing)
  • New Minor Dwellings or Sleepouts
  • New garages/sheds
  • Subdivision – rural, urban and Greenfields
  • Bulk Earthworks - usually associated with Greenfields subdivision development
  • Roading Projects –  e.g. New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)
  • Proposed Quarries
  • Pre-Purchase enquiries – usually for urban properties looking to establish new dwellings or extensions
  • Construction activities associated with all the above

Development near National Grid assets has to be managed carefully so it does not create unacceptable safety risks, block Transpower’s access for vital maintenance and upgrade work (including emergency repairs) or otherwise restrict the efficient and safe operation of the Grid. 

In 2008, the government issued the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission (NPSET), a planning document under the Resource Management Act 1991.  The NPSET sets national policy direction requiring the appropriate development of land under and near National Grid assets.  All plan documents (eg district plans and regional policy statements) have to give effect to the objective and policies in the NPSET.  When granting resource consents, councils have to have regard to the NPSET.

Your council’s district plan may give effect to the NPSET by including specific rules about subdivision, land use and development near National Grid substations and overhead lines. The rules may include a corridor where specific development, for example houses, have to be set back a minimum distance from National Grid lines.  If they do not comply with the plan’s standards, you may need to obtain non-complying resource consent from council.  Talk directly to your council for more information or complete the form below and an environmental planner at Transpower will get in touch.

The photos below provide some examples of development that needs to be carefully managed near National Grid overhead lines.

Photographs of common corridor management challenges

Underbuild

 

This house was built under the lines in Auckland before the Auckland Unitary Plan corridor rules came into effect. Now, this house would need to obtain non-complying resource consent as it is located within 12m of the HEP-ROS A centreline. Transpower would be identified as an affected party.

This photo shows the mitigation measures that had to be put in place to ensure the house could be built safely.  This type of development is undesirable from Transpower’s perspective because there are on-going risks to occupants (e.g. getting on the roof to retrieve a frisbee). 

Earthworks

If not carried out carefully, earthworks can create unstable batters and erosion and threaten a structure’s stability.  Earthworks can also result in also clearance violations (not maintaining safe separation between people and live lines).  Photos taken from Auckland and Whitby.

Commercial developments

Industrial and commercial development can block access and create reverse sensitivity/nuisance effects (restrict business activities). 

Industrial activities

A container load and unload facility in Auckland experienced a major electrical flashover when a container was inadvertently lifted into a live 220 kV line. This caused a widespread power outage that affected the upper North Island including the refinery at Marsden Point.

HEN-HEP 3 crane incident, December 2017

There are significant risks with mobile plant working under and near transmission lines.  Despite NZECP:34 (a mandatory code of practice issued under the Electricity (Safety) Regulations) requiring a minimum separation distance between people/machines and live lines, the responsibility of maintaining these safe separation distances comes down to operator awareness and safety procedures on the site, such as use of “spotters” to warn mobile plant operators that safe separation has been lost.  Transpower works with our Service Delivery Managers, Land Owner Liaison Officers and others to review construction management plans that detail how the risks of mobile plant are to be managed.  We also work with other teams at Transpower, including Health & Safety, to increase industry knowledge and awareness.

Subdividing property

Subdivisions, where larger properties are broken up into smaller blocks, can result in our established access being physically blocked. These photos show towers “locked in” behind fences after a subdivision in Timaru was approved without adequate consultation and consideration of Transpower’s access requirements. 

Links to useful documents

Transpower's Development Guide