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LI Masterclass:  LVIA – ‘raising the bar’. Improving standards in the quality of LVIA


This masterclass will include an opportunity to hear from landscape specialists from the public sector who receive and review these documents. The most common issues will be highlighted that often lead to LVIAs being considered unreliable or incomplete by the determining authority. Interactive learning sessions will allow to focus on how to address some of these key areas – including assessing effects on the special qualities of protected landscapes. Advice will draw upon the guidance in GLVIA3, statements of clarification on GLVIA3 and the Landscape Institutes GLVIA Panel responses to questions arising from the LVIA training webinar in December 2020 (Misconceptions and Best Practice) – as catalogued in LI TIN 01/21.

By exploring scope to ‘raise the bar’ and improve standards in the quality of LVIAs, the training will ultimately benefit the profession as represented in both the public and private sector.

Please follow the link to access Melanie Croll, County Landscape Officer, Devon County Council Presentation.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the most common issues with LVIAs from the users perspective.
  • Following discussion between public and private sector landscape architects, attendees will have the knowledge to deliver LVIAs of a higher standard.
  • What the baseline of an LVIA should usefully contain.
  • How to assign value and susceptibility to viewpoints.
  • How to define geographic extent in landscape character assessment.
  • How to assess the special qualities of protected landscapes.
  • Undertaking night-time assessment and how it links to the work undertaken by the lighting specialists.
  • Photography and visualisation techniques in night-time assessment.

Chris Bolton, Principal Landscape Specialist, Natural England

Chris Bolton is Principal Specialist for Landscape in Natural England, the government body with a statutory remit for conserving and enhancing England’s landscapes, including specific duties regarding designated landscapes. Chris is a past member of the LI GLVIA Panel providing a Natural England and public sector perspective including designated landscapes. Chris has contributed to LI LVIA training over several years and also has a wide range of experience in landscape planning and management, agri-environment schemes, development management casework, river and waterway conservation and historic landscapes. He is currently building the evidence base to monitor how and why England’s landscapes are changing, linked to the Defra 25 Year Environment Plan.

Karen Lees, Principal Landscape Architect, Gillespies

Karen is a Principal Landscape Architect with over 15 years of landscape experience, with expertise in landscape planning. Karen's work has included LVIAs, capacity and sensitivity studies, options appraisals, detailed siting research, detailed routeing of overhead lines, expert landscape and visual witness, co-ordination of EIAs, and peer reviews of collaborative LVIAs. Karen typically works on large infrastructure projects with colleagues in multidisciplinary teams. Karen's career began as a structural engineer, followed by a period of time working as a teacher of maths and product design. Karen then moved back into the built environment and began her career as a landscape professional.


Melanie Croll, County Landscape Officer, Devon County Council

Melanie Croll provides specialist landscape advice to Devon County Council, including scoping and review of LVIAs which accompany planning applications for minerals and waste development and road schemes. Melanie also reviewed LVIAs on behalf of our AONBs and district councils, including proposals for major urban extensions and renewable energy developments. She has delivered training in relation to GLVIA for landscape professionals, planners and decision-makers, and have been a member of the Landscape Institute's GLVIA Advisory Panel since Spring 2020, representing local authority interests and offering critical feedback on the quality of LVIAs. She also Chairs the Devon Landscape Policy Group and have gathered opinions on LVIAs from representatives of our 2 National Parks, 5 AONBs and other planning authorities across Devon. Melanie has contributed to other Landscape Institute CPD events - including 'GLVIA3 Misconceptions and best practice', and LI/IEMA training webinar covering TGN 06/19 (Visual representation of development proposals).


Olwen Maidment, Senior Landscape Advisor, Natural Resources Wales

Olwen is a Senior Landscape Advisor with NRW, providing landscape advice on a wide range of development proposals, ranging from large scale wind farms and other energy developments, including offshore proposals to housing, industrial, leisure and agricultural developments and small scale conversions and single dwellings. The main focus of advice is development in, or within the settings of Wales's Designated Landscapes, however strategic advice is also provided on Local Development Plans and inputs provided to NRW's landscape planning projects and Welsh Government Policy. Before moving to Wales, Olwen worked in local authorities in England and Scotland on landscape planning and landscape design, including developing landscape character assessments and sensitivity studies, land reclamation and design of minerals sites and countryside recreation and parks design. Olwen is experienced in the review of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments and the application of landscape character assessments and LANDMAP in Wales.

Rebecca Knight, Director, LUC

Rebecca is a Chartered Landscape Architect and a Director of LUC with 25 years’ experience in the field of landscape planning. Rebecca is Chair of the 'GLVIA Panel' and was the lead author of Landscape Institute Technical Guidance Note 02-21: Assessing landscape value outside national designations. She is also the author of the landscape and visual impact assessment chapter for the 3rd and 4th Editions of Morris and Therivel's ‘Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment’ (published by Routledge).

Richard Burden, Principal Landscape & Planning Officer, Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Much of my career has been within protected landscapes, and I am a Fellow in both the Landscape Science and Management areas of the profession. I am engaged with achieving LI membership through P2C supervision and examination, the Member Panel, and I was member of the Fellowship Assessment Board. I was part of the group that produced the first edition of GLVIA, I helped with the editing of 2nd edition, and was a consultee on the 3rd. During my six years as a Senior Lecturer / Practitioner I taught landscape character assessment and the effects of changes in the landscape. In addition to preparing LVIAs in private practice, I regularly review them in my role at Cranborne Chase AONB, where I am involved with local and national policy matters, development proposals, and planning Examinations and Inquiries

Sarah Gibson, Partner and Head of Landscape Planning, Gillespies LLP

As Partner and Head of Landscape Planning at Gillespies LLP, Sarah has 30 years’ experience of working in private practice and her portfolio includes some of the UK's highest profile projects, including HS2 and several Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Her expertise and interest in landscape and visual impact assessment and advocacy for collaborative working and sharing of ideas has led to a role on the Landscape Institute’s GLVIA Panel. She also provides specialist advice to statutory stakeholders on sensitivity and capacity assessment and was a member of the working group providing advice to Natural England on the preparation of their 2019 sensitivity guidelines. Sarah is meticulous in ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with GLVIA3 and other best practice and that the outcomes are robust and communicated in a clear and accessible form. As a consequence, her work has received several Landscape Institute national planning awards.


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