Heads of the Valleys Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity study for Wind Energy Development

South Wales

Preparation of planning guidance for the landscape and visual impact of wind turbine development, and sensitivity studies for the Heads of the Valley Area in South Wales and the Gwent Levels.

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The project was commissioned to help local planning officers assess the growing numbers of applications for small and medium-scale wind turbine developments. The planning guidance is intended to help both local planning officers and developers in preparing EIA screening opinions. It also sets out the minimum requirements for LVIAs undertaken for different wind turbine typologies.

Alongside the guidance, two sensitivity and capacity studies were undertaken, one for the Heads of the Valleys upland area (including the southern part of Brecon Beacons National Park), and one for the Gwent Levels. These studies used LANDMAP, the Welsh approach to landscape assessment, as the evidence base for identifying the landscape and visual factors that determine a landscape’s sensitivity to wind turbine development. Capacity assessments were also undertaken based on current operational and consented development.

The Guidance was prepared with the support of the Heads of the Valleys Landscape Officers and Planners and the South Wales Landscape Liaison Group, comprising representatives from 12 local authorities, 2 National Parks and Natural Resources Wales.