visual impact – landscape and visual impact assessment – LVIA

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

Typically, 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 Impact Assessment (LVIA).

Visual Impact Meaning

“Visual impact” refers to the effect or impression that something has when it is seen or viewed, particularly in terms of its appearance, aesthetics, or visual appeal.

Important Aspects of LVIA’s

Completing a landscape visual impact assessment (LVIA) necessitates a thorough and objective evaluation process. Key considerations include stakeholder engagement to understand diverse perspectives, an assessment of existing scenic quality, and the identification of potential impacts.

Utilizing visual simulation techniques aids in illustrating proposed developments’ effects, while mitigation measures should be proposed to minimize adverse impacts wherever feasible.

Compliance with regulations, collaboration with multi-disciplinary experts, and transparent communication with stakeholders are vital for ensuring credibility and trust throughout the assessment process.

Additionally, monitoring protocols should be established to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measures over time, enabling adaptive management strategies to maintain landscape resilience and balance development needs with conservation goals.

By addressing these aspects comprehensively, LVIA outcomes contribute to informed decision-making and sustainable landscape management.

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 developments and projects – typically infrastructure such as telecommunications towers, wind farms and solar farms.

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.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

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 view-shed.

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.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Terminology

Specific terms help professionals in the field of landscape architecture, environmental planning, and urban design effectively assess, communicate, and manage the visual impacts of development projects on the landscape and surrounding communities.

Some of these terms include Visual Receptors, Visual Impact, Scenic Quality, Viewshed Analysis and Mitigation Measures. These specific consideration are all relevant to the impact infrastructure may or may not have on the landscape and assessed accordingly.

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.

View-shed
Stand somewhere and look. That is a view-shed.

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
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Terminology

A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) of telecommunications towers

A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) of telecommunications towers involves evaluating the potential visual impact that such structures may have on the surrounding landscape and communities.

These types of monopoles are often provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodaphone and are necessary infrastructure providing essential services to the community.

An Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), aims to ensure that the visual impact of telecommunications towers is carefully considered and managed to minimize adverse effects on the landscape and surrounding communities while meeting the technical requirements for network coverage and connectivity.

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 learn more about providing a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment for your project.

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