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WHAT ARE LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS?
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIAs) aim to assess the impact of a development on its surrounding landscape. They are mainly concerned with visual impacts but will also consider other important features of the landscape like its noises, smells and “feel”.
In most cases, an LVIA seeks to demonstrate that the development avoids urbanisation of a rural or tranquil landscape. Urbanisation might occur as a result of one or more of these impacts:
- New buildings – these might be considered urban because of their scale, amount or architectural character. If rural land has been open or undeveloped for a long time, the sudden appearance of any substantial building might be considered urbanising;
- More or different traffic – lots more private cars, delivery vehicles or HGVs on the roads can make an area feel more urban;
- Design details – things like external lights, garden fences, domestic bins and highway features (markings, signs, traffic controls etc.) can all contribute to a more urban landscape character.
An LVIA may also identify ways to reduce or remove harm to a landscape. This might include changes to a site layout or the introduction of appropriate visual barriers like hedgerows and walls.
Our LVIAs normally include a site visit. We will take high quality photographs from various vantage points to demonstrate the development’s effect on views.
WHEN IS A LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT REQUIRED?
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIAs) are mainly required for developments in rural areas and the countryside. They are far less common for developments in towns and cities.
An LVIA is likely to be required in rural areas if any of the following circumstances apply:
- The development is large or complex
- The development would clearly change the character of the site and/or area. For example, if a new housing estate is proposed on an open agricultural field
- The affected landscape is sensitive. For example, the site can be seen in far-reaching views, the development affects a key view (for example, a view towards a listed church’s spire) or the site is within or adjacent to a protected or highly valued landscape (such as an ancient wood, an AONB or a Conservation Area).
If you’ve already submitted a planning application, your local council may contact you to request an LVIA. In most cases, you should comply with this request otherwise your application is very likely to be refused.
WHAT LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS DOES PLANNING DIRECT OFFER?
Planning Direct offers competitively priced LVIAs to cover most developments in a wide range of locations.
We use the industry standard methodology formulated by the Landscape Institute and Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (GLVIA3).
Find out more about industry standards here:
If you require assistance with an LVIA for a current or future project of yours, please get in touch. Our initial advice is always free of charge.