Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment : Winter Views

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment : Winter Views

Winter’s on the way and it’s the perfect time for our Landscape Architects to be getting out on site to undertake Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA). With trees losing their leaves, visibility is at its peak which allows us to best assess the visual impacts of proposed development and help to inform appropriate mitigation measures, which may be critical in the planning balance.

 

What is LVIA?

 

LVIA is used to identify the potential landscape and visual effects of change and development.  It comprises two interrelated parts:

  • A landscape Impact Assessment, which considers the potential changes to distinguishing landscape features and character. The term landscape is taken to encompass the whole external environment including the countryside and urban areas.
  • A Visual Impact Assessment, which considers the potential changes to views for local residents, walkers, horse riders, visitors and the setting of heritage features. Collectively these are described as ‘receptors’.

The output of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment is typically a stand-alone report, prepared to accompany planning applications but it can also form part of Environmental Statements for EIA development.

LVIAs are used to inform accurate decision making and it is therefore important that assessments are accurate, clear, transparent and accessible – at Landmark we work hard to ensure that our output ticks all of these boxes.

It is also important that LVIA is proportionate to the development proposed.  Huge tomes of information produced for small scale developments in areas which are not sensitive, are both unnecessary and costly, and likely to alienate readers, local residents and local authorities alike.

There is therefore no ‘one size fits all’ and assessment requirements should be tailored for each development.  Proposals in the urban environment are likely to require Townscape and Visual Impact Assessments (TVIA). Landscape and Visual Appraisals (LVA) are a ‘lighter touch’ option that can often tick the validation requirement boxes for smaller schemes.  In some instances we may be able to focus on visual effects only and in others, on landscape character.

 

Good Practice

 

Good practice in LVIA is driven by adherence to professional guidance, the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment 3rd Edition (GLVIA3).  A number of planning authorities reference GLVIA3 as part of the information required by the local validation checklist, to guide applicants on the landscape and visual information that must be submitted to support planning applications.

We also adhere to the Landscape Institute’s Technical Guidance Note Visual Representation of Development Proposals (2019).  This document provides advice on the selection, production and presentation of types of visualisation appropriate to the circumstances in which they will be used, ranging from photographs to show the baseline conditions, through to wireframes and technical visualisations (photomontages) to show the proposed situation.

 

Our Experience

 

At The Landmark Practice, we have an experienced team of Landscape Architects who have worked on LVIAs for wide range of developments, from urban extensions to student accommodation, quarry conversions to solar farms and wind turbines.

Our in-house Graphics team supports our LVIA output and can also provide stand-alone services including preparing models of Zones of Theoretical Visibility (ZTVs), wireframe models and photomontages.

We also have experience of preparing LVIAs and rendered AVRs for Public Inquiries.

 

Covid 19 & Fieldwork

 

The UK Government has made it clear that those who can continue working, with no risk of increasing the spread of the virus, should continue to do so in order to support the economy.  It is our absolute priority to ensure that we take all sensible precautions to ensure staff safety and that we do not cause any additional spread of this virus.  We have put a set of control measures in place and most survey work can currently proceed within these limitations.  To date we have not experienced any project delay from LVIA related fieldwork due to Covid restrictions.

 

We Can Help

 

Pre-application (and in some case post-submission) requirements from planning authorities regarding LVIA requirements are not always ‘proportional’ and can often be confusing.  We invite our clients, existing or future, to get in touch to discuss any needs for their sites.

If you would like more information about LVIA, TVIA, LVA or graphics please contact the office on 0117 9230455 or enquires@thelandmarkpractice.com.