10 essentials for a LVIA site visit

I was packing the boot of my car in preparation for a day’s site visit, for a landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA). My neighbour and her dog walked by “are you going away for a few days?” she queried. “No,” I responded, “just a day…” She looked surprised after casually reviewing the numerous items I packed in the car but walked on.

Her reaction made me question, what do I pack for a day away? Is it all essential?

After spending many years on site visits, usually in the middle of nowhere in the rain/snow/sleet/sunshine, I have identified a list of ‘must-haves’ I always pack in the car before my journey. These include:

  1. Sturdy wellingtons – it is strange how many public rights of way are extremely muddy or pass through farm yards all of which seem to be covered in a few inches of cow slurry. Wellies (with no holes – often discovered while walking through the aforementioned cow slurry) I have found are therefore much more practical than walking boots.
  2. Camera – following the appropriate guidance, I always take a ‘compliant’ camera and tripod. Photographs can then be used for photomontages sometime in the future if required. You can guarantee if you do not take photos with the appropriate camera – you will be asked for photomontages and you will have to go out on site again…
  3. Compass – for long distance views it is sometimes difficult to get your bearings. A compass and knowing how to use it is essential.
  4. GPS – to get reasonably accurate location and bearings for photographs.
  5. Small flask of coffee and a water bottle – usually you are not near any shops, so a hot/cold drink is always nice.
  6. Change of socks – nothing worse in driving home in cold and wet socks you have worn all day.
  7. Rain coat/thick coat/scarves/gloves/sunscreen – with our changeable British weather it is best to be prepared.
  8. Clipboard – best for a fold-out one or even better a clipboard with a clear plastic sleeve. You always end up with maps, paper, plans etc. and good to keep all together, reasonably dry and secure from gusty winds.
  9. Variety of pens and pencils –I always have pens and pencils stashed away, in the car, in different coats, trouser pockets and jumpers as you can guarantee you may have walked for a while and want to make some notes and all your writing implements are back in the car…
  10. Mobile phone – in our health and safety compliant age – a mobile is essential to call back to the office every few hours in case you fall down a hole somewhere and no-one knows where you are.

Any more thoughts?