Visual and Landscape Impact Assessment
The European EIA directives and UK environmental regulations state that the impact of a development on the visual aspects of a landscape should be assessed. Guidance comes from the Landscape Institute amongst others.
|The Landscape is
described as encompassing the following features:
-Natural Factors such as geological features, land, air, soils, flora and fauna.
-Cultural / Social settles, enclosures, structures
-Aesthetic and Perceptual factors such as colour, texture, sounds, and smells.
So is the area you are planning to build an areas which is visually sensitive? A map has been published by the Countryside Commission and English Nature called The Character of England Map.
|The Character of England Map for which we are
viewing the southwest quadrant can be visited
If we were to click on a segment we would be shown a list of the landscape characteristics;
-Rolling, locally steeply-undulating open, pasture separated by many small valleys.
-Heavy, poorly-drained soil supporting rushy pastures of low agricultural quality but high nature-conservation interest.
-Wide views across a remote landscape.
-Little tree cover except occasional wind-shaped hedgerow and farmstead trees, conifer blocks and valley woodlands.
Reading of such characteristic can help envisage a development that might make use of the landscape in the area to minimise its visual impact.
Qualitative Visual Impact Assessment
Assessment is thought by many to be a very subjective discipline, using
modern 3D modeling it is possible to create scaled representations of
proposed developments, so we can look at impacts before they are built.
But in reality does this give a measured impact?
Qualitative Visual Impact Assessment gives a good indication of negative impacts, but for large projects with far reaching implications a quantitative visual impact assessment is a better option.
That being said under current legislative requirements a qualitative visual impact assessment is sufficient for planning applications.
Quantitative Visual Impact Assessment
Assessing Impact on a quantitative basis is accomplished using a ZTV (zone of theoretical visibility), and is present on a OS map base, zones on the map are presented as a % of the structure visible from that particular point.
These factors and others will be assessed in the visual impact component of an environmental impact assessment.
The assessment of cumulative effects is required by the EIA Directive (85/337/EEC, as amended by Directive 97/11/EC) and the UK EIA Regulations 2011. Cumulative effects are defined as resulting from multiple actions on receptors and resources, as a result of impacts from a single project or in combination with other developments.
“additional changes to the landscape or visual amenity caused by the proposed development in conjunction with other developments (associated with or separate to it), or actions that occurred in the past, present or are likely to occur in the foreseeable future”
As per Section 5.0, it was noted that there was a great many pylons of approximately 50 meters in height that run north south along high ground on both sides of the Allen Valley.
There are numerous large livestock / grain storage sheds dispersed throughout the assessed area, these buildings are typically 6 to 7 meters in height, with some approaching 8 – 9 meters.
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