Our Landscape Services

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments

Landscape and Visual Impacts Assessment identifies the effects of proposed development separately on the landscape character and views, each of which can be quite different. LVIA is often a key element of a planning application and should comply with the Landscape Institute’s guidelines.

Burton Reid have a team of experienced landscape architects able to undertake landscape and visual appraisals and assessments which may be required for your project.

We follow the Landscape Institute’s Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment and whether a simple high-level appraisal is needed or a full impact assessment for an Environmental Statement, we provide the appropriate level of service. Our team leader has experience of acting as an expert landscape witness at planning inquiry.

​Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIA)


Across the country, landscapes vary enormously from wild National Parks to dense urban settings, each with their unique landscape and visibility characteristics and sensitivities. The landscape itself may be subject to designations and be heavily protected, located within in a setting of a listed building or be valued for its cultural associations. Views may be gained from far and close, to a range of receptors, be highly valued or sensitive to change. LVIA involves analysis and understanding of proposed development upon these interrelated aspects.

Landscape character is unique and different to every place. Each area has its own component elements and patterns which combine to form a landscape character which may apply to a locality or specific location.  The LVIA evaluates these and identifies the qualities, values, and sensitivities, which could potentially be affected by a proposed development.

Visual study is concerned with how views of the landscape are seen by people in different contexts and what are the values and sensitivities of those views. This can be affected aspects which may include the view location, susceptibility to accommodate change, extent of view, or duration (static or transient, permanent, or temporary). Sensitivity also considers any values associated to views such as cultural references.

Through an evaluation of the potential effects on landscape character and changes to views for key visual receptors, knowledge of the significance of development impact on the landscape and its perception is gained.


The LVIA comprises four key elements:

  • Baseline description of landscape and visual receptors,
  • Appreciation of scheme design, mitigation and enhancement measures,
  • Assessment of potential receptor effects; the nature of the receptor (sensitivity) and nature of change (magnitude of impact), and a judgement of the level of effect arising from the proposed development,
  • A conclusion is reached on whether the combined effect would be significant.

Burton Reid Landscape Architects have an extensive experience of preparing LVIAs for a wide range of locations for proposed development ranging from residential, employment, industrial, amenity and recreation, highways, mining, flood defence, solar and communications. We undertake our fieldwork photography following the Landscape Institute’s guidelines, prepare high quality graphics have a suite of assessment tools such as the ability to prepare Zone of Theoretical Visibility Maps, can employ GIS mapping, prepare imagery and photomontages.


Landscape and Visual Appraisal (LVA)

We can undertake a full Assessment but for some projects, a simpler Landscape and Visual Appraisal may be appropriate, for instance, at the start of a project to gain an overview or for a small development. This still follows the same structure but in a simpler manner and excludes an assessment of significance required for an Environmental Statement.


Landscape Character Assessment




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