Yarrenlea, Queensland, Australia
Roche Road Solar PV Park is just on the outer edge of Pittsworth, and is approximately 40 kilometres from Toowoomba.
Citicene were provided with an opportunity to be involved in Roche Road PV Solar Park and provide Visual Assessment as well as Landscape Development Approval for this 1 kilometre square renewable energy facility on the outskirts of Pittsworth.
This Photovoltaic Solar Farm includes an existing waterway and wetlands buffer that extends through the site and a bush fire buffer zone along the most northern section of the site. Strategically positioned on gently rising topography the site is surrounded by 180 degree views to the West.
Citicene delivered a range of landscape architectural services for this facility including a Visual Impact Assessment detailing the impact of the proposed development on the rural character and amenity.
This identified the impacts on the viewsheds from sensitive receivers and public spaces.
Landscape Authority Approval
As part of the Development Approval for this project, the Local Authority required a visual impact and landscape assessment.
Visual Impact Assessment
Assessment of the visual impacts and identification of suitable mitigation strategies were required by the Local Authority.
The project includes a site footprint of approximately one square kilometre and is positioned between floodplains and surrounding hills in a rural setting.
Sensitive receivers were identified within a 3 kilometre radius of the site and views were analysed from locations in the immediate areas of these sensitive receivers to determine the likely visual impact of the project both during construction and in operation phases.
The existing topography and significant vegetation played a major role in restricting views from sensitive receivers along the Eastern boundary of the project while other viewsheds have a moderate to high visual impact during construction and until the establishment of a landscape buffer to maturity.
The scope included identifying a baseline Landscape Character including review of existing site conditions, landform, vegetation, land use and statutory policies.
The site location is identified in the Scenic Amenity Study (Toowoomba Regional Council, 20093). The study identifies the area as predominantly rural in character and under the study, the amenity rating of the site area is classified as low with portions of adjoining sites rated as high.
Following the establishment of a baseline landscape character, identification of the location of sensitive receivers within a 3 kilometre radius of the site boundaries was completed.
Methodically each viewshed from each sensitive receiver was analysed including the assessment of any visual impacts as well as rating these impacts with regard to landscape character and visual amenity from each viewpoint. Consideration of the potential Visual Absorption Capability (VAC) of proposed mitigation strategies was also completed.
The assessment of visual impact included 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.
Mitigation methods to increase the visual absorption capacity and minimize the visual impact of the proposed project were determined as part of the assessment and successful establishment along boundary alignments was critical to increase visual amenity.