Landscape and Visual Assessment

Landscape and Visual Assessments are crucial to communicating the potential significance of changes to landscapes for surrounding communities.

Landscape assessment is part of completing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

A Landscape assessment can be split into two areas.

  1. Visual Assessment
  2. Character Assessment

This is known as a Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVA).


Visual Assessment

Visual assessment to put simply is ‘assessing how something looks’.

Changes to a landscape which may or may not include built form create impacts on the surrounding views. Impacts are then rated in accordance to the alterations of the views.

The changes to the views create an effect on people and communities.

These types of assessments are important considerations for Local Authorities making decisions with regard to approving projects.

Systematic, Theoretical Analysis

Methodologies used are firstly identifying the existing environmental values in regard to visual amenity in the project location.

Secondly, evaluating the visual impacts of the project with a range of graphical, tabular and statutory tools to determine the significance of overall expected impacts.

This is completed using a range of approaches including field visits and desktops reviews.

Assessments

Assessments are completed in reference to any statutory tools such as Local Authority Planning Schemes which often can include guidelines or Scenic Amenity Studies.

The use of 3 dimensional virtual reality and modelling is a simple tool that is useful to assist in predicting impacts on the surrounding community.

The assessment of predicted impact significance can include a combination of factors such as:

  • the Receivers Visual Sensitivity Rating;
  • the Distance of View;
  • the Duration of Visual Impact;
  • the Visual Absorption Capability;
  • the Magnitude of Change;
  • the predicted success of mitigation proposals to any particular viewshed.

Mitigation strategies related to landscape typically include the consideration of the potential Visual Absorption Capability (VAC) of the proposed landscape and the predicted success of this.


Terminology

There are many terms associated with Landscape and Visual Assessment. The following are some common terms.

Amenity

The pleasantness, qualities or attractiveness of a place.

Landscape Character

The characteristics of a place that make it unique.

Effects

The result of changes to a landscape

Impacts

The rating of changes to a landscape

Magnitude of change

The amount of change experienced by the community or people impacted by the development.

Viewshed

Stand somewhere and look. That is a viewshed.

Visual absorption capacity

The ability for a landscape to absorb any changes

Mitigation

Improvements that can be made to reduce the negative impacts of changes.

Visual catchment

Numerous views in the study area.

Receptor

People, places or experiences that are subject to any impacts


Our Experience

Citicene have experience in delivering these types of assessments for large utility suppliers, signage suppliers and for sites adjoining significant infrastructure.

Utilizing a range of assessment tools, we can provide reports to satisfy the Local Authority requirements and concerns.

Specifically, our experience in this area includes:

Contact us to discuss your project further and how we can assist with Visual Impact Assessments.