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.

5 Air Quality Problems in London

London has a long history of poor air quality, and the problem has only worsened in recent years. The city’s air quality is now among the most polluted in Europe, and it is estimated that poor air quality contributes to the deaths of thousands of Londoners each year.

There are a number of factors that contribute to London’s poor air quality problem, including:

  • Road transport: Traffic congestion is a major source of poor air quality in London. Cars, buses, and trucks emit a variety of pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM), and carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Domestic heating: The burning of wood, coal, and other fuels for heating homes and businesses also contributes to poor air quality. These fuels emit a variety of pollutants, including NO2, PM, and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
  • Industry: Industrial activities, such as power generation and manufacturing, also emit a variety of pollutants. These pollutants can include NO2, PM, SO2, and heavy metals.
  • Construction: Construction activities, such as demolition and roadwork, can also contribute to poor air quality. These activities can generate dust and other pollutants that can be harmful to human health.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture can also contribute to poor air quality, particularly from the use of pesticides and fertilizers. These pollutants can be carried by the wind and can end up in the air in urban areas.

The effects of poor air quality can be far-reaching. Short-term exposure to poor air quality can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Long-term exposure to poor air quality can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases. Poor air quality can also contribute to premature death.

The city of London is taking steps to address the poor air quality problem. These steps include:

  • Investing in public transportation: The city is investing in public transportation, such as buses, trains, and trams. This will help to reduce the number of cars on the road and, in turn, reduce poor air quality.
  • Introducing clean air zones: The city has introduced clean air zones in central London. These zones charge vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards. The aim of these zones is to reduce the number of polluting vehicles in the city center.
  • Encouraging people to walk and cycle: The city is encouraging people to walk and cycle more. This will help to reduce the number of cars on the road and, in turn, reduce poor air quality.
  • Working with businesses to reduce emissions: The city is working with businesses to reduce their emissions. This includes providing financial incentives and technical assistance to help businesses switch to cleaner technologies.

The city of London is making progress in addressing the poor air quality problem. However, there is still more work to be done. The city needs to continue to invest in public transportation, introduce clean air zones, and encourage people to walk and cycle more. Only then will London be able to achieve a healthy and sustainable air quality.

In addition to the city’s efforts, there are a number of things that individuals can do to reduce their impact on poor air quality. These include:

  • Drive less: If possible, walk, cycle, or take public transportation instead of driving.
  • Choose a fuel-efficient car: When you do need to drive, choose a car that is fuel-efficient.
  • Carpool or vanpool: If you can, carpool or vanpool with others to work or school.
  • Use public transportation: When possible, use public transportation instead of driving.
  • Walk or bike: If your destination is within walking or biking distance, walk or bike instead of driving.
  • Avoid idling your car: When you are stopped in traffic, turn off your car engine.
  • Keep your car well-maintained: Make sure your car is properly maintained, including regular oil changes and tune-ups.
  • Use less energy at home: You can reduce your energy use at home by making small changes, such as turning off lights when you leave a room, unplugging appliances when they are not in use, and weatherizing your home.
  • Plant trees: Trees help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.

By taking these steps, individuals can help to reduce poor air quality and improve the quality of life for everyone in London.

Air Quality Assessment London 

Direct Debit “Southwest Envrion”

We received around 5 or 6 phone calls per year with people asking about Direct Debits or Recurring Card Payments from “Southwest Environ”.

These payments relate to Paignton Zoo!

We trade as – Southwest Environmental Limited

Paignton Zoo trade as “Paignton Zoo”, but their holding company is Southwest Environmental Parks Limited.

So I hope that helps.

We don’t use direct debit for any payments, we issue invoices to people and they pay us via BACs.

All the best,

Kind regards,

Will – Managing Director  – Southwest Environmental Limited

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

Special Treatment Establishment Licences

Special Treatment Establishment Licences relates to licenses sought in connection with Beauty Treatments and Sun Beds and associated practices:


We were recently contacted by a prospective client asking about planning application for Beauty Salon. She informed us that the application for for a Special Treatment Establishment Licence, states the requirement for planning permission.

The proposed site for the Beauty Parlor is already a retail outlet, selling electric bicycles, and as such we thought we would research the exact requirements as full planning application may not be required.

You will need to check with the Council’s Planning team to confirm whether any planning consent or permission is required. If the premises has previously operated as something other than a special treatment premises, you may require a change of use.

But does this cover premises with existing generic use classes such as Use Class E?

Typically it is not the change of use that requires a planning application it is any alteration to the shop frontage or signage. From Government Guide on Signs:

Class 13 allows advertisements to be displayed on a site that has been used continually for the preceding ten years for the display of advertisements. Class 13 does not permit any substantial increase in the extent, or alteration in the manner, of the use of the site or the display of the advertisement.

So there is some scope for making alterations, but you would need to evidence 10 years of prior use.

If you need help with a planning application then please do get in touch. 




Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Consultants

Southwest Environmental Limited can apply for an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) on your behalf. We are based in the UK, and provide our services Worldwide.

We have been successfully carrying out life cycle assessments of goods and services for over a decade. We can provide help and support in getting an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) issued for your products or services.

How does an Environmental Product Declaration Work?

An Environmental Product Declaration is a short report (often backed up by a larger report) that sets out the impacts of you product or service. For example let us pretend we are obtaining an EPD for a Hammer made by “Company A”.

We would need to find out the impacts created in the manufacturing, transport, use and disposal of the product. In Fact there are potentially 17 subdivisions to include for.

Most if the lifecycle work we undertake is based around Carbon Footprinting, but with an EPD there are special requirements that result in a broader scope:

  • GWP-fossil
  • GWP-biogenic
  • GWP- luluc
  • GWP- total
  • ODP
  • EP-freshwater
  • EP- marine
  • EP-terrestrial
  • POCP
  • ADP-minerals&metals*
  • ADP-fossil*
  • WDP*

The list extends to about 30 factors which need to be footprint, it is quite time consuming, but luckily we can find most of these values in prepared databases.

You wood find footprints for EN1508 materials or services ,and add these together to make up you final footprint and publish an EPD.

A Lot of Numbers. . .

Why Do I need an Environmental Product Declaration EPD?

You probably need one because you customer is asking for one. If they use you products as part of the service they deliver then they will need to feed in data from your EPD, in to their EPD. In that way they can work out their footprint.

If another supplier has a published EPD, they can also compare your product to the other supplier and see who has the lowest carbon.

Environmental Product Declaration EPD Costs

You can get an EPD issued for one simple products for perhaps £8000, this would include our fees and the fees to the 3rd party verifier, and the certification costs. However, costs go up very quickly for more complex products. Even a simple report will be backed up with 50 plus pages of spreadsheet calculations. Unfortunately there is no such thing as an Life Cycle Assessment that can be completed in “One Click”.

Please contact us to talk about your requirements.

Life Cycle Assessment for Amazon Product

Life Cycle Assessment for Amazon Product

We have recently been commissioned to undertake a Life Cycle Assessment for a product being sold on Amazon Marketplace. Despite offering Life Cycle Assessment Services for over 10 years this is the first time we have produced a Life Cycle Assessment for Amazon Product.

Climate Pledge Friendly

If you have been shopping for drones or vegetables on Amazon recently you may have noticed the Climate Pledge Friendly tick box. If you select this, then only Climate Pledge Friendly items will show up in your search.

In order to back up this green claim, it is required that you submit a life cycle assessment (whole life or size reduction) and have it assessed by a third party.

How it Works

We can arrange all aspects of this process for you. We will carry out the required data collections, and or calculations to prove a size reduction, or carbon footprint for your product. We will then provide this information to a 3rd party certification body. Who will also offer you various choices in terms of  carbon offsets.

Once this has been completed we will provide information to you so it can be submitted to Amazon, and you product be included under Climate Pledge Friendly category.

We point out at this point that we are no endorsed in any way by Amazon. But we have been carrying out Life Cycle Assessments for over 10 years. Contact Us to find out more.

Phosphates in Wales

This week, we have had our first taste of the Phosphate Planning Issues arising in Wales. This relates to the trickle down from the Dutch N Ruling (2018) which has been affecting various parts of the UK, since late 2020.

The Afon Teifi, Afon Tywi (River Towy), River Wye and Afon Cleddau are located in special areas of conservation, and as such affected by the ruling.

For this our first report in Wales relating to the Phosphate situation we have encountered some key differences, between Wales and England.


So Far only Carmarthenshire has release a budget calculator. Compared to the the calculators we have been using in Somerset and Cornwall, it is quite limited, although it is good that it can be used offline, so we can save a copy for later use, or reference! Take note Somerset and Cornwall (probably not though).

The Carmarthenshire calculator does not automatically calculate mitigation options. This leaves sizing of wetlands for example up to the applicant / agent / consultant. And we would consider this problematic, as even with agree methods (as indicated in Somerset / Cornwall Calculators) there is enough detail to contest, without added variability.

Treatment Works

Unlike the Sewage Treatment Works (STWs) we have seen in England, many of the welsch plants have no consent limit for Phosphates. They are also for the most part way over capacity, as some of them run in overflow mode (raw sewage in rivers) for 50% of the year.

This lack of consent limit is an advantage for developers and open the possibility of pre-treating waste water from mains connected sites, to provide a benefit.

Some Similar Problems

However, some things remain the same:

In Somerset and Cornwall we have had very little feedback on sites with wetlands, or sites which use extant uses to offset new uses, or that use off-site schemes. They are all in limbo, I wouldn’t mind some critique because at least that might seam as though things were moving along. I expect this to be the same in Wales.

There have been queries on other application in Wales that seek to discredit the accuracy of treatment efficiencies. We have seen this in England and Wales. Wetlands for example for a project in cornwall have been called in to question. With regards to banking coefficients yes they will vary. But so do treatment efficiencies of manufactured solutions, and phosphate concentrations of effluent, and as such I do not think it is meaningfully practical to adjust banking coefficients.

As with all things environmental science we are trying to take a non-numerical highly variable system (a human urinating in a toilet) and apply maths to the resultant processes. It cannot be done 100% accurately. So uncertainty has to be accounted for. If a study were undertaken of say 50 systems, monitoring for inputs and outputs after 5 years we might arrive a c. 95% certainty that certain banking coefficint would be met. But in these early stages some uncertainty will have to be accepted. 

In the majority of reported cases the 99% filtration rate is achieved, and we have agreed to monitor outfall in long term, so very little remainder risk here.

In summary we need someone in NRW (or NE in England) to start making decisions on this promptly. IF not all the benefit that could occur driven by the real need for clean rivers could be written out of existence by the stroke of a pen by Llywodraeth Cymru.

Flood Risk Assessment – Newmarket

Writing a flood risk assessment if carefully done is a largely scientific process. By “scientific” we are alluding to the fact that the content is grounded in fact, or at least as far as the available data is accurate.

If a flood of a certain depth is “forecasted” when viewing available flood data for the site then we can raise the building up. Facts and reactions to those facts. This is what we like.

One part of the Flood Risk Assessment is the Sequential Test. This “non-scientific” part of the Flood Risk Assessment we could do without. It is a policy based, almost artistic endeavor that relies on the matching of unqualified of opinions, sometimes resulting in mismatches.

Image: johndal CC BY-SA 2.0

The sequential test relies on the following ingredients in order to work:

  • search area
  • search criteria

Both of these ingredients are open to debate in terms of their size and type respectively, and as such we have to be careful to follow established guides that have been issued by some of the more proactive administrative authorities’ so that we can demonstrate plausibility.

If you would like to discuss a Flood Risk Assessment for a Project, or a Sequential Test, then please do get in touch.

Phosphate Success in Cornwall – PL31

We have been issuing Phosphate Assessment Reports in Somerset for over a year now, and the situation for many developers is becoming quite awful with delays now of over a year in decision making. We have made enquiries with Natural England as to why.

We have had some good news however, with one of our reports recently passed off in Bodmin, Cornwall (Postcode – PL31). This site suggested use of a package treatment plant, a filter tank, and a constructed wetland land (reed bed) to treat water prior to discharge to the Camel River. The site is immediately adjacent to the Camel SAC, so was quite a high risk site, yet the result was successful.

Nationaly we now have reports passed off in Sussex, Somerset and Cornwall, and thus feel failry cofient that our method is acceptable on the whole. Please ring to talk about your site. No Obligation of course.,

You can read more about Phosphate Assessments and Nutrient Neutrality on our main Website.