Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment – Webbsfield, Ilston
By chartered landscape architect – Douglas Harman CMLI
Summary of effects
• This landscape and visual impact assessment has demonstrated that the proposed development would not result in any significant changes to the physical landscape resources of the site during the construction and operational phases of the proposed development;
• No significant visual effects during construction are predicted on any road users, walkers or residents within the study area;
• From the eight viewpoints, no significant landscape or visual effects are predicted;
• No significant landscape effects are predicted on any parts or the integrity of any landscape character areas
or designated landscapes within the study area;
• No significant visual effects are predicted on the views of any residents within the study area;
• No significant visual effects are predicted on any road or recreational users within the study area; and
• No significant cumulative effects with other renewable developments are predicted.
Statement of Significance
In summary, development plan policy is generally supportive of solar development subject to specific developments avoiding unacceptable landscape and visual impacts. The Gower Landscape Character Assessment is the basis for describing landscape character and National Policy Guidance on solar developments, a number of policies within the City and County of Swansea UDP and the Gower AONB Management Plan provide criteria for the assessment of the acceptability of the proposed development in landscape and visual terms.
This assessment on the landscape and visual resource has identified that the proposed development would not result in any significant effects. This is primarily due to the wooded setting of the site which from most locations, screens the development from view. Where any open views do exist, these tend to be glimpses of the array and often filtered by intervening trees. Where the development would be noticeable amongst gaps in surrounding woodland, only a small proportion of the development would tend be visible and as such, the extent of any change is very localised.
In determining the overall landscape acceptability of the proposed development in relation to planning policy criteria and associated guidance, the following factors as identified in this LVIA should be considered:
• Only a very small proportion, approximately 7% of the study area, is within theoretical visibility of the proposed development;
• The site benefits from near continuous enclosure and containment from surrounding woodlands and landform, and in practice, this significantly limits the opportunity for open views and the extent of any landscape and visual effects;
• The scale of development relates well to the topography of the site and the setting of nearby landscape features;
• The location and characteristics of the site prevents the development from affecting the views of nearby residents;
• No receptors are predicted to be affected by the visual effects of glint and glare;
• There is a good degree of seperation to other consented and operational renewable energy developments;
• Of the 24 LCAs within the study area, only 4 are predicted to experience a negligible effect. For the remaining 20 LCAs, no effects are predicted;
• The development is sensitive to its AONB location and would only have a very minimal effect on the special qualities of the AONB landscape and seascape;
• Once established, the proposed planting along the edges of the site would further limit any open views of the development; and
• Overall, there are no significant landscape and viusal effects predicted.
In conclusion therefore, the proposed development appears to be acceptable in landscape and visual terms with no apparent conflicts in landscape related policy.