As part of the planning application a detailed Landscape and Visual assessment (LVIA) will be undertaken.
The purpose of this study is to describe and evaluate landscape character and visual amenity and assess the potential effects of the Development on these aspects within a 35km radius of the wind farm during construction, operation and decommissioning phases of the development.
The LVIA methodology is based on best practice guidance and includes the gathering together of baseline information followed by detailed site surveys and then an assessment of the potential effects on the physical landscape, visual amenity and the likely cumulative effects alongside other existing, consented and proposed wind farms. A series of diagrams illustrating potential visibility and photomontages from particular viewpoints will be produced to assist the assessment process.
A key component of the study will be determining if the proposed new rotors on lower towers present a significant impact on the landscape compared to the current consented rotors on taller towers.
For the purposes of this exhibition, to highlight the comparison between the proposed new rotors and the previous consented rotors, a series of ‘Wireframes’ and ‘Photomontages’ are presented. Wireframes are computer generated sketches of the turbines. Photomontages are real photographs of the site on which computer-generated images of the turbines are overlaid. Following best guidance, these are always presented as a worst-case scenario, i.e. a cloudless blue sky with excellent visibility. This also helps assess the exact change proposed.
In addition, to the Photomontages, for the planning application itself, maps showing the ‘Zone of Theoretical Influence’ (ZTV’s) of the wind farm will be produced. These maps will show where in the surrounding countryside the turbines could in theory be seen, assuming no houses, or trees are blocking the view. Due to the overall tip height of the turbines with the new rotors being the same as the consented tip height, the ZTV’s for the proposed new rotors will actually be no different to the original turbines. Therefore, it is expected that no new areas will be able to see the turbines under this planning proposal.
It is our view that because the tip height of the turbines is not increasing, when comparing the two options using the Wireframes and Photomontages, the visual and landscape impact of the new rotors can be considered negligible.