Expressway Noise: Breach of Human Rights?

Disturbing sleep

Kapiti Expressway

Kapiti residents living in the vicinity of the new expressway are experiencing disturbed sleep which is affecting their health and Bernie Randall, of the Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board, believes a breach of the Human Rights Act has occurred.

He has written to the Human Rights Commission asking it to investigate residents’ complaints of night time noise along the Kapiti Expressway.

New Zealand is a signatory to a number of international treaties that basically give New Zealanders the right to quiet enjoyment of their home. Excessive noise can interfere with this right, according to Mr Randall.

Standards for night time noise must be realistic

One of the worst sections for noise: Wharemauku Stream to Raumati Road

There are glaring gaps between the night time noise standards that NZTA is required to follow along the Expressway and the general noise levels laid down in Kapiti Coast’s district plan.

The home is literally the centre of the primary health system. When homeowners experience disturbed sleep this causes stress, reduced work efficiency and poor life quality. For some it can affect their mental health.

The New Zealand Standards guidelines for noise laid down by the Board of Inquiry into the expressway are not fit for purpose to the area, said Mr Randall.

They are roading authority centric standards rather than focusing on residents’ home life and sleep patterns. No penalty is provided for night time noise unlike other standards. It is doubtful whether the local character of the neighbourhood has been preserved as the Board determined.