GLVIA3: WYG helps shape key reference document for landscape architects


10 APRIL 2013

WYG Associate Director and Chartered Landscape Architect, Mary O’Connor, as member of the Landscape Institute’s Advisory Panel, has played a key role in guiding production of the 3rd Edition of the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3), having contributed to the 2nd Edition, published over 10 years ago. 

The Guidelines have become an important reference document for landscape architects since the release of the 1st and 2nd editions in 1995 and 2002, maintaining and developing standards in LVIA both in the UK and overseas. 

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) is an important tool for managing landscape change and understanding its effects on landscape character and people’s surroundings. LVIA is recognised as a particularly challenging area of work compared with some other aspects of EIA. It requires a high level of professional judgement, and addresses issues that have a great deal of importance to the public which, as a result, pose problems for decision-makers.  

The systematic approach of LVIA is also valuable when used informally as part of an iterative design process, supporting the planning and design of projects. It allows the changes in and effects on the landscape to be considered early in the process and for solutions to potential negative effects to be integrated into the proposal.   

GLVIA3 is in two parts, the first part providing an introduction to a more general audience, and the second part aimed at the practitioner.  The main change in this 3rd edition is the focus on how the assessment is approached, with a clear steer away from ‘standard solutions’ or prescriptive methods, instead encouraging practitioners to undertake a systematic process, defining criteria for each stage of the assessment, which should be tailored for the project in hand. 

There is more extensive guidance on presentation of the assessment findings.  LVIA is often said to be subjective and so greater importance is also attached to explaining the process of analysis and reasoning that led to the conclusions. 

The new edition of the Guidelines will strengthen the tools for identifying and predicting effects of change and development, both on the landscape itself and on the views experienced by people.  LVIA is an essential contribution to decision-making about the acceptability of development proposals and to fulfilling the statutory requirements for EIA.  It is hoped the 3rd Edition will provide a basis for coping with the evolution of LVIA into the future, and at least for the next decade.

To complement the publication of GLVIA3, the Landscape Institute is running a series of Master Classes, which Mary O'Connor will be presenting in conjunction with Professor Carys Swanwick, former Head of Landscape at the University of Sheffield and writer of the 3rd edition. Please click here for further details:

WYG has membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment’s EIA Quality Mark Scheme, and Mary will also be presenting to iema members at the Institute’s EIA & GLVIA3 Workshop in Cardiff, one of a series of events across the UK focusing on GLVIA3 and the latest developments in EIA.

Mary received her training in landscape architecture at the former Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, now University of Gloucestershire, and became a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute.  Later, recognising the increasingly important role of digital technology in landscape architecture and planning, she gained an MSc in Computer Science and Applications from Queen’s University Belfast.  She has been engaged in formal LVIA since the mid-1990s and has carried out LVIA for many kinds of development including: residential, commercial, industrial, minerals, wind farms, other electricity generation, transmission infrastructure and highways.  She believes that, while the principles of LVIA are constant, each form of development poses its own challenges.  She has given evidence to public inquiries into different forms of development and, from experience, has come to regard a systematic approach to assessment and precision in use of terminology as of fundamental importance. Mary is based in WYG’s office in Cardiff.

WYG is a Registered Practice of the Landscape Institute 


Louise Gardner, PR and Communications Executive

Arndale Court, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UJ
Tel:  : 44 (0)113 278 7111
Twitter: @wyggroup  

Notes to Editors

One of the top-ranking global consultancies employing around 1,400 people, WYG is behind some of the world’s most challenging projects. Our specialists provide expert advice and project management support that is helping shape landscapes, infrastructure, society and culture in the developed and developing world.

We advise on planning and transport, provide engineering and environmental services, consult on waste and resource management, and deliver support to enable economic and social reform.

By engaging with clients at an early stage we ensure that decisions are made which will maximise a project’s potential and deliver our client’s strategic objectives. In turn, this builds strong and lasting relationships with clients in each of our seven core sectors:

• Defence & Justice
• Energy & Waste
• Environment (including Waste & Waste Water)
• Transport
• Commercial Development & Urban Regeneration
• Mining & Metals
• Social Development & Infrastructure

WYG has an international presence with offices throughout the UK, and in Eastern Europe, the Middle East & North Africa, and South Africa.
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