The impact on the landscape of a turbine or turbine development has always been contentious
and is becoming even more so as the number of turbines increases. To help assess
the impact a full landscape report is generally required, to be submitted with the
planning application. This helps the planners, and others, decide whether the turbines
will be acceptable, or not.
There are a number of components usually included in the landscape report:
• Map, centred on the proposed development, showing other proposed, approved
and installed turbines in the surrounding area. Aberdeenshire Example
• Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV)
A map showing areas from where the turbine will be visible are called ZTVs. These
may depict visibility of the blade tips, hub, or any point on the turbine tower.
In most cases the method assumes a bare earth landscape, as vegetative cover changes
with time. In general showing the visibility of blade tips may be confusing, as
the map will indicate visibility even if only 1 mm of blade can theoretically be
seen. Distance, plus any vegetation, will mean that in practice, the turbine may
not be seen, and the maps showing visibility of some part of the hub indicate better
when the blades will be seen.
ZTVs are also done to show the cumulative impact of all turbines in the area, usually
in groups of 4 to 5 developments.
The radius of consideration can be up to 30 km for larger developments but in many
cases additional images, enlarged to show the detail of 5 km or 10 km radius are
also useful. The close-ups allow a check as to whether a particular house will see
the turbines or not.