Development effects on landscape and people’s experience of landscape

Landscape and visual effects 

Landscape effects are changes which affect landscape character.

Visual effects are changes to people’s experience of the landscape.

Changes in land-use or on a built-development can impact a landscape’s character and value. The effects can be:

  • positive - if they enhance or improve the landscape itself, or people's experience of it,
  • neutral - if they have no impact,
  • adverse or harmful - because they degrade the landscape or reduce people's enjoyment of it.  

Effects include: ground level changes, moving soils, different buildings or structures, loss of vegetation or new planting, changing views, sounds or odours, or atmosphere such as tranquillity or commotion, seclusion or exposure.    

Adverse landscape or visual effects and their impact on planning permission

Adverse landscape or visual effects will affect our decision on whether planning applications can be supported. Developers should identify and assess landscape and visual effects and avoid, reduce or mitigate adverse effects by following the landscape and visual effects hierarchy.

Landscape and Visual Appraisal (LVA)

Developers proposing;

  • major developments,
  • developments within or affecting a Local Landscape Designation Area (LLDA),
  • developments whose type, size, scale or location may have significant landscape or visual effects,

Should perform a ‘Landscape and Visual Appraisal’ using guidelines from the 'Landscape and Visual Assessment', Third Edition (GLVIA 3).

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA)

Developers should use a full ‘Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment’ following Guidelines from the 'Landscape and Visual Assessment', Third Edition (GLVIA 3) if their proposed development:

  • is listed in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017,
  • is listed in Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 and the local planning authority consider it is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

When to involve a Landscape Architect

Landscape Architects take a holistic overview of design in the environment, taking account of all natural, economic, cultural and social factors and can design developments with appropriate form, mass, scale, layout, siting and mitigation. They can also design and supervise implementation of landscaping schemes and can provide landscape and visual appraisals or assessments.

We advise planning applicants to seek advice from qualified landscape architects from the early stages of your development's design.

Landscape character areas

Landscape character is a combination of natural landscape features including topography, soils, water and vegetation, and artificial features like buildings, fences, earthworks, or field patterns.  

Landscapes change with land use change and different combinations of features create different landscape character areas. Different landscape character areas have different values for people, with some considered higher value than others.

If you are thinking of developing a site in Cheshire East, you will need to develop your proposals to integrate with:

National landscape designations

If your site is within the Peak District national landscape area, your planning application will be dealt with by the Peak District National Park authority.

Local landscape designation areas

We also have some higher value landscape areas which are defined as local landscape designation areas (LLDAs). We have planning policies that require development to enhance LLDAs.

If your development may affect an LLDA, you should also ensure your design complies with advice in our LLDA review: 

Page last reviewed: 26 February 2024