For large developments that have gone through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening process, an LVIA may also be requested by the relevant planning authority depending on the nature, scale and size of the development (Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2017): This will then form part of a larger EIA document containing reports from other professionals such as ecologists, hydrologists, and heritage consultants. However, a LVIA can also be requested for projects that do not require an EIA, and then the LVIA will be a standalone document.
An LVA in comparison, is often a shorter, more informal process, which still takes into account some of the key LVIA stages, without identifying ‘likely significant effects’ which would normally be assessed in an EIA process. It may also be requested to accompany a planning application by a local planning authority.
In either case, an LVIA or LVA must assess the significance of any potential character or visual effects and would normally be carried out by a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) with relevant experience of carrying out similar studies. Although there is no formal requirement for an LVIA/LVA to be carried out by a CMLI, it is certainly recommended and we have seen examples where the findings have been questioned by the Local Authority, as the assessor was not deemed to have been experienced enough.
Landscape assessments are undertaken using methodology and guidance from the Landscape Institute’s published Guidance for Landscape and Visual Assessment GVLIA3 2013.