Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) can be key to effective planning decisions since it helps identify the effects of new developments on views and on the landscape itself. These effects can be quite different. Some developments can have visual effects but none on landscape character and some vice versa. A depth of analysis and understanding of these two interrelated aspects is required to produce a successful LVIA.
With the support of IEMA, the Landscape Institute published the 3rd edition of Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3) in April 2013 (purple cover). This book offers detailed guidance on the process of assessing the landscape and visual effects of developments and their significance. In relation to the previous edition (blue cover) it also includes a new expanded chapter on cumulative effects and deeper discussion of the significance of effects.
These guidelines are available for all to use without restriction; one does not need to be a Chartered Landscape Professional to undertake an LVIA although Landscape Professionals are likely to be the best versed in their application. In the context of Public Inquiries the holistic perspective that Chartered Landscape Professionals take, coupled with the broad scope of their interests and status recognised by Royal Charter means that they should be able to make a particularly convincing contribution to the examination of LVIA. In addition the Landscape Institute’s GLVIA Panel, from time to time advised by those who have to review LVIAs, including Natural England, monitors the performance of practitioners (of all or no professional body). One of the outcomes of the GLVIA Panel’s monitoring role has been to publish guidance for those who want to review published LVIAs, whether as part of a QA process or as part of Development Management:
The Panel reserves the right to advise the LI on further steps that need to be taken to uphold standards across the sector.
Periodically the LI arranges training in LVIA and members who undertake LVIA are encouraged to ensure that they maintain and develop their skills.