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Update on proposed national grid regulations

27 May 2008 Media Statement

Update on proposed national grid regulations

Two proposed national environmental standards aimed at improving the management and security of the national grid will be reconsidered and reworked following public feedback, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"The government has set a target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2025. To help reach this target, the management around our national grid needs improving. Providing clarity and consistency around the planning process for the management and protection of the grid will help achieve this," Trevor Mallard said.

"With this aim in mind, two national environmental standards – to back up the National Policy Statement for Electricity Transmission – were proposed and consulted on. I'd like to thank everyone who has engaged in this process. The government has listened to the feedback from submitters, and decided to do some more work on the proposals to address the feedback that was received.

"The government wants to assist local government implementing the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission that came into force in April. We will work with councils to find a solution which will work for them," Trevor Mallard said.

The proposed "transmission activities national environmental standard" would define which activities grid operator Transpower can undertake without resource consent to maintain the national grid and which activities would require specific consents.

"While this standard requires further detailed work, I consider that it will benefit the national grid if properly developed and implemented."

The "transmission risks national environmental standard" aims to protect transmission lines from activities which could damage the lines or put the national grid at risk, as well as provide protection for people from transmission lines, by establishing a buffer zone.

"With respect to this standard, I have asked the Ministry for the Environment to assess whether it is the correct tool, and to look at a number of other options that might work better, jointly with key stakeholders and key submitters."

These other options include:
• providing guidance for councils on suitable plan provisions
• relying on arrangements between Transpower and individual landowners
• strengthening electricity safety requirements for activities around transmission lines under the Electricity Act
• Resource Management Act designations
• a revised national environmental standard
The cabinet paper relating to the proposed standards is at


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