There have been increasing numbers of recent planning applications to Councils of Anglesey and Gwynedd and the Snowdonia National Park Authority for single or multiple wind turbines that are not large enough to be considered a ‘wind farm’ but together or individually could potentially have a significant impact on views from residential properties. There is also a planned new transmission line linking the proposed nuclear plant at Wylfa on the north coast of Anglesey to an existing substation at Pentir near Llanberis on the mainland in Gwynedd. This will introduce a number of 40–50 m high pylons into the landscape with likely effects on visual amenity.
Whilst GLVIA3 provides guidance on assessing the visual impacts of such developments, there is no nationally recognised method for using identified visual impacts to establish minimum separation distances between wind turbines or pylons and residential properties. Current Welsh Government advice is that each case should be judged independently and on its own merits.
Approximate Map Location
Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park
Strategic landscape planning
Shortlisted for an LI Award 2015
To establish whether or not minimum separation distances between wind turbines or pylons and residential properties should be applied by the commissioning authorities when considering planning applications, and what these should be, following desk based research and analysis of: National, regional and local planning policy and guidance; Other current related guidance; Comparative studies; Planning appeal decisions (including liaison with Joint LDP officers and other Local Authorities in Wales to identify relevant planning appeal decisions and any other relevant data which could be used as evidence to back up the study).
Gwynedd Council: Nia Haf Davies, Planning Policy Manager; Isle of Anglesey County Council: Glyn Jones; Planning, Built and Natural Environment Manager; Gillespies: Sarah Gibson (Associate Partner), Rebecca Greatrix (Principal), Lindsay Robinson (Assistant Landscape Architect); Snowdonia National Park: Gareth Lloyd MRTPI - Senior Planning Officer (Policy)
Gillespies’ landscape architects were responsible for delivering this project, including developing the methodology and undertaking all the research and field assessment. Representatives from the Councils and Park Authority were fully engaged throughout the project and worked closely with the Gillespies team. Other local authorities provided information on planning appeal decisions and other relevant data which formed part of the evidence base. This work is innovative in that it provides a new consistent approach to assessing the acceptability of vertical infrastructure on residential visual amenity. In so doing it has progressed the understanding of visual impact assessment. It introduces the concept of residential visual amenity ‘trigger distances’ based on a mathematical formula for assessing the apparent height of a turbine or pylon.