How Arcus helped a large-scale wind turbine developer successfully gain planning consent for numerous wind turbine planning applications offering various services including  LVIA viewpoint photography and photomontages


Arcus Case Study – Landscape LVIA Viewpoint Photography For A Large-Scale Wind Turbine Developer


LVIA Viewpoint Photography – Visualisation – Photomontage

Arcus worked closely with a large scale renewables developer on over 25 of their Feed-In Tariff (FIT) wind turbine projects located throughout the UK, helping gain planning consent on many of them. The developer was a large investment management organisation that specialised in the renewable energy and clean technology sectors.

The advent of the government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme saw hundreds of small-scale wind projects being submitted in to local planning authorities. A particular challenge of this type of work was the very fast turnaround required for each project, from the initial commissioning of the work through to the submission of the Environmental Report.

The scope of work we were commissioned for covered the completion of the full Environmental Report for each project and drew upon many of the services Arcus can offer. One such service was the capture of LVA (Landscape and Visual Appraisal) viewpoint photography and the preparation of the photomontage visualisations for the LVA portion of the planning application report.

During one particular stage of this relationship, Arcus’ lead photographer Guy Cope was required to capture viewpoint photography and prepare the photomontage visualisations for 10 sites located across Scotland within a very tight timeframe in order to meet the target planning application submission dates. The most cost and time-effective option for the client was to try to capture the photography in one trip.

Guy assessed the sites and put together a journey-plan based upon anticipated weather windows at each location within the timeframe he had identified. The locations ranged from Ayrshire and the Isle of Skye on the west coast to Portskerra on the very north coast, to Aberdeenshire, Fife and East Lothian in the east.

In total, the identified journey would cover over 1400 miles and in the region of 80 viewpoints. By monitoring the forecasted weather conditions immediately prior to the planned departure date, travel plans were made based on the location of viewpoints at each site combined with weather conditions anticipated on each day.

The most efficient route was planned with overnight stops in order that the viewpoint photography was captured at each of the required locations, at a time of day most likely to guarantee ideal lighting conditions and meet the professional requirements for the photographs (in this case the imagery had to meet both the Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council visualisation guidelines). In some instances, due to the sun’s position in relation to the camera location, a viewpoint was photographed for one site and then Guy travelled to and captured a location at one of the other nearby sites in order to maximise the daylight hours available. Consideration had to be given to the amount of time it would take to capture those viewpoints and get to the next site versus the anticipated weather conditions at each site. Contingency plans were incorporated into the schedule in case the weather forecast was wrong or changed on a given day at a given location.

If a weather window was missed due to delays of any kind en-route this could have a knock-on effect on all of the remaining sites and viewpoints.

It was a mammoth undertaking, but with the specialist planning and incorporated contingencies, the viewpoint photography itinerary was completed in just four days. This meant the resulting photomontage visualisations could be completed on or ahead of schedule for all of the 10 sites.

A methodical, precise and flexible approach, taking professional requirements into account, was key to the success and timely delivery of the projects.

If you would like to discuss any aspects relating to visualisations or photomontages, please email