Wind Turbines & Landscape
How wind turbines look is a subjective issue. Some people see wind turbines as graceful structures, while others consider them to be a blot on the landscape. A landscape and visual impact assessment is included within the Environmental Impact Assessment accompanying a planning application.
A developer should work closely with the relevant statutory consultees to review the visual impact of their proposals. For visual impact assessment the relevant statutory consultees are:
The aim of the landscape and visual impact assessment is to investigate how the wind energy proposal will affect the character of the landscape, any designated areas such as AONBs and National Parks and how it will be viewed from important viewpoints in the area.
A key element of the landscape and visual impact assessment is to agree what the key viewpoints are. Key viewpoints can be selected for many reasons and they can include picnic spots, tourist attractions, key roads, populated areas, historic buildings and viewpoints where key local landmarks and the proposed development together can be viewed together.
The visual impact will be assessed along with the other findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment once the planning application is submitted and all consultees will get the chance to comment prior to a planning decision being made.
Scottish Natural Heritage has published ‘Visual Assessment of Wind Farms: Best Practice’ to offer advice and guidance on assessing the visual impact of wind farm developments.