People feel most at ease and relaxed at home where they can relax in their chosen environment. However more often than not, something disturbs the peace and quiet such as a new apartment block impeding the beach view or a development of a car workshop right next door. What can one do? Section 28 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA, Act 107 of 1998) places a duty of care on any person causing, has caused or may cause significant pollution or degradation of the environment to take reasonable measures to prevent such pollution or degradation from occurring or continuing, to rectify such pollution of the environment. This applies to developments which can affect a sense of place. Developments cannot unjustly and indiscriminately be undertaken without considering the visual impact that it might have in the proposed area. Therefore, Visual Impact Assessments (VIA) are often required to be completed for potentially sensitive areas.
The purpose of a VIA is to determine the visual impact of the proposed development area. The VIA will describe the existing visual characteristics of the proposed site and surrounding environment in order to establish the baseline characteristics of the receiving environment. If it is found that the possibility exists for visual impacts to pose a problem, recommendations are made to prevent and/or mitigate the possible impacts and preserving the sense of place. These assessments consider the current environment, viewpoints, current activities and a range of objective and subjective assessment points.
ENVASS provides Visual Impact Assessment services and can assist with setting a case for undertaking such an assessment be it small scale to large scale. Contact ENVASS at 012 460 9768 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.