Collecting LVIA data in England – landscape character

There are many sources of data that landscape architects have to collect as a starting point in the landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA) process.

To make it easier, I sub-divide the data collection into three main strands that help to inform the LVIA. These include:

  1. Visual amenity receptors
  2. Landscape relevant designations
  3. Landscape character

This is the third of three short blogs outlining the sources of data that I use to inform a LVIA.

Landscape character

The starting point for collecting information on landscape character is the national character areas promoted by Natural England ( ). Currently being updated, this is an excellent source of data for strategic ‘national’ landscape character areas, which can provide a starting point for a more detailed assessment.

Most county, local or unitary authorities have also undertaken their own landscape character assessment, many of which have been adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG’s). A quick search of the local authority’s website will usually throw up the relevant landscape character assessment.

In addition, many local authorities have also undertaken their own sensitivity or capacity assessments, usually based on the landscape character assessment and often relating to a particular type of development such as wind energy or large scale solar.

This hierarchy of landscape characterisation forms the basis for a more detailed description of landscape character on a site specific basis.