The future HVNL should be able to respond to change as it needs to, whether that be changes to context, technologies, knowledge or practices.

The regulator and industry are adaptable – the law that serves them should be too.

Chapter 5 of the RIS explores options for new regulatory tools under the HVNL.

Summary of issues and options

A more responsive law


The HVNL primary law is highly detailed and prescriptive. This makes it inflexible and unresponsive to rapidly evolving risks and advances in technology, because amendments to primary legislation can take more than 12 months.

On the other hand, the Primary Duty (s 26C) of the HVNL is drafted in broad terms to capture a wide range of risks - but it isn't supported by more detailed information to give clarity to parties on how to comply.


5.1 Establish a Code of Practice mechanism. Read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • CoPs should make the law clearer and easier to follow – they would be designed to help parties understand their duties under the law. Most CoPs would be made by the NHVR. Consultation on CoPs would be required. CoPs would be signed off by ministers before taking effect.

5.2 Establish a Standards mechanism. Read in the RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • Safety standards should make the law more responsive to changes in technology and emerging safety risks. Most standards would be made by the NHVR, but other government agencies could also make standards. Consultation may still be required. Generally, if a standard applies it must be complied with