Category Archives: Visual Impact

Considerations for Landscape and Townscape Assessment in Bristol

We have recently produced a Landscape and Townscape Assessment in Bristol. In doing so we have considered the following:

Bristol’s Landscape Character

Bristol is a city with a diverse landscape character, ranging from the rolling hills of the Mendip Hills to the urban waterfront of the River Avon. Any development proposal must be carefully considered in the context of the surrounding landscape, and should not unduly harm its character.

View from Castle Park Bristol

View Corridors

Bristol is a city with many important view corridors, both within the city itself and to the surrounding countryside. Any development proposal must be carefully considered in the context of these view corridors, and should not obstruct important views.


Bristol is committed to sustainability, and any development proposal must be sustainable in its design and construction. This includes consideration of factors such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of local materials.

Community Impact

Any development proposal must be considered in the context of its impact on the local community. This includes factors such as traffic congestion, noise pollution, and the loss of green space.

In addition to these general considerations, there are also a number of specific considerations that may apply to particular development proposals in Bristol. For example, if a development proposal is located in a conservation area, it will need to be carefully considered in the context of the area’s special character. Similarly, if a development proposal is located in a floodplain, it will need to be designed to mitigate the risk of flooding.


The landscape and townscape assessment process is an important part of ensuring that development in Bristol is sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings. By carefully considering the factors outlined above, developers can help to ensure that their proposals make a positive contribution to the city’s landscape and townscape.

Useful Tips

Here are some additional tips for landscape and townscape assessment in Bristol:

  • Consult with local stakeholders: It is important to consult with local stakeholders, such as residents, businesses, and community groups, to get their input on development proposals. This can help to ensure that proposals are compatible with the needs and priorities of the local community.
  • Use visual impact assessment: Visual impact assessment can be a useful tool for assessing the potential impact of a development proposal on the surrounding landscape and townscape. This can help to identify potential problems early on in the planning process, and to develop mitigation measures to address them.
  • Consider the long-term impact: It is important to consider the long-term impact of a development proposal, not just the immediate impact. This includes factors such as the impact on the environment, the economy, and the quality of life for residents.
  • Be creative and innovative: There are often ways to mitigate the negative impacts of development on the landscape and townscape. For example, developers can use green roofs and walls to add greenery to buildings, and they can plant trees and shrubs to screen unsightly development from view.

Visual Impact Assessment Bath

We have recently been asked to provide a Visual Impact Assessment for a site in Bath.

This was an unusual request given the scale of the building which is quite small, given the range of buildings and structures we typically see requiring a visual impact assessment.

Ordinarily we would carry out visual impact assessments for projects such as wind turbines, or solar farms, but in this instance the project comprises of a extension to an existing domestic garage, to create a two storey building.

picture of a timber clad building (university of dundee library)

The project is in a suburban area, but is relatively close to Bath’s historic centre. Perhaps this is the reason a Visual Impact Assessment has been requested by Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES).

We will visit the area surrounding site and take photos so as to represent views from different aspects, we will then make a qualitative review of ht e situation and prescribe a magnitude of impact.

If you require a visual impact assessment for any type of project please do contact us.

A visual impact assessment is process by which the visual impact of a project is assessed. For example the visual impact of a new or altered building may have on onlookers. This differs to a landscape impact assessment where the impact is assessed in relation to the landscape, no a conceptual onlooker.

Image: PFord, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment – Rickmansworth

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment – Rickmansworth

It is fairly standard for LVIAs to be requested when large structures are built in a rural setting, but not so in suburban areas. SWEL were interested to see why a LVIA had been requested for a project within the M25 and sited within a developed area.

The residential project was unusual in its scale and design, however the building’s novel form, and inclusion of features such as roof top gardens will make an attractive replacement in contrast to the existing industrial buildings.

Many Sensitive Visual Receptors in the Area

Sympathetically Designed

SWELspent 12 hours walking and cycling though the surrounding landscape to establish points of visibility, whether these were from foot paths, roads of one of the 2 no. SSSI sites in the surrounding area.

There are a great number of hedge rows in the area which contribute visual screening and these will be included in the ZTVs.

A ZTV (Zone of Theoretical Visibility) using computer modelling to deduce where the project will be visible from. Typically these a “bare earth” ZTVs which ignore vegetation and built screening. A ZTV which includes vegetated and built screening is far more time consuming to produce which is why they are often omitted from LVIAs, but a vital part of any LVIA.

Wooded Areas reduce Visibility Impacts

Visual and Landscape Environmental Impact Assessment

Visual Impact Report for Wind Turbine 100 KW – Cornwall

Visual Impact Report for Wind Turbine 100 KW – Cornwall

A land owner sought to errect a 100 KW turbine in Cornwall, part of requested information for planning application was a visual impact assessment.

As is standard with a SWEL visual impact assesment we create 3D models that acuratly depict the the proposed devlopment within the context of the environment.

Many planners ask for wire frame models for assessing visual impact (as below), and although wire frame models give a good representation of scale and massing thye do not factor in surface details, shading and colours.

For example in the bwlow picture the ground is many shades lighter than it would be in “real life”, and so we see an increase of contrst between the ground and turbine. With out surface texture added, hilly areas also appear darker than flat areas becauae of contour bunching.