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Cell Phone Towers

Cellphone Towers (Telecommunications Facilities)

How telecommunication infrastructure is governed

Telecommunications facilities are managed within a central government framework as well as within the network utilities provisions contained in the District and City Plans.  Network utilities play an essential role in the existing and future functioning of Tauranga City and the sub-region.

The erection and placement of radio and telecommunication infrastructure is governed by both central government regulations and local regulations depending on the circumstance. The infrastructure includes masts, antenna, aerials, panels and cabinets. The regulations are outlined below.

National Environmental Standards (NES) for Telecommunications Facilities

The National Environmental Standards are government-set regulations made under the Resource Management Act 1991. The regulations override the areas of Tauranga’s Operative District Plan and Proposed City Plan that address the same subject material.

The National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities apply only to activities in the road corridor for the permitted establishment of low impact telecommunications facilities including the installation of telecommunications equipment cabinets, masts, and antennas (i.e. light posts) along roads or in the road reserve. The NES have specified limitations on size, height, location and noise relating to these structures.

Telecommunications Act 2001

The location of this infrastructure within the road corridor is governed by a Corridor Access Request (CAR) which is issued by Council (City Transportation). There are specific rules around how this occurs and these rules are governed by the Telecommunications Act 2001. The Act provides the right to locate telecommunications infrastructure in the road zone.

Conditions of the CAR can only refer to matters of traffic and pedestrian safety at the time of the installation and operation of the proposed works. Conditions can not extend to visual amenity or other matters covered under the RMA, and through the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities.

Proposed Tauranga City Plan/Operative District Plan

Chapter 10 of the Proposed Tauranga City Plan  (considered operative) regulates the location and size of radio and telecommunication infrastructure not covered by the National Environmental Standards. Public consultation occurred in relation to these rules through the development of the Proposed Tauranga City Plan. In the Proposed Tauranga City Plan radio and telecommunication infrastructure is permitted within the:

  • road zone 
  • industrial zone 
  • commercial zone, and 
  • rural zones.

If a telecommunications company wishes to locate infrastructure in an area not permitted by the City Plan, they must follow the usual resource consent process.

Further information

Information about the National Environmental Standard, radiofrequency fields and the safety of cellphones is available from the Ministry for the Environment website.

Questions relating to the choice and appropriateness of location of telecommunication infrastructure (masts, antenna, aerials, panels and cabinets) should be directed to the telecommunication company concerned. 

Printable fact sheet (94kb pdf)

Last Reviewed: 22/02/2017