An independent board of inquiry will consider whether the Wellington Regional Freshwater Plan should be changed to allow Transmission Gully plans to go ahead.

Transmission Gully is an alternative motorway route north of Wellington.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said the New Zealand Transport Agency wanted the freshwater plan changed to pave the way for substantive Transmission Gully plans.

He had referred the matter to the independent board on recommendation from the Environmental Protection Authority.

Environment Court Judge Brian Dwyer will chair the board. Other members include Environment Commissioner Russell Howie, resource management consultant David McMahon, Canterbury engineering professor Alan Nicholson and Resource Management Act and tikanga Maori expert Glenice Paine.