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New guidance for Scottish wind farm visualisations

Words: Roger Milne
Windfarm designs

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has published new guidance on visualisations of proposed wind farms.

These are used by developers to support planning applications and help councils and the public to consider potential landscape and visual effects. These include maps, photomontages and wireline drawings which help assess the impact of a planned wind farm.
The new guidance replaces the previous version from 2006. It provides the framework for a consistent approach and the delivery of better information to support decision-making. The guidance:
 - standardises photographic requirements
 - provides better representations of proposed wind farms
 - specifies larger images which are easier for the public and decision makers to use
 - requires developers to provide a viewpoint pack for members of the public and decision makers to use on site
 - requires the production of images with an equivalent focal length of 75mm, increased from 50mm
 - recommends new digital methods to make it easier for the public to view images online
 - includes a method to verify images have been presented correctly, helping to increase public confidence in the images.
The new guidance is supported by the Scottish government, Landscape Institute, Scottish Renewables and the Heads of Planning Scotland (HoPS).
It will be phased in over six months reflecting the fact many developers have already taken photos for applications about to be submitted. Those producing visualisations will also be given detailed training by SNH.