Contents: Landscape & Visual Impacts

10.1 Introduction  S10 - 1

10.2 Legislation, Standards & Guidelines  S10 - 2

10.3 Assessment Approach  S10 - 2

10.4 Review of Literature on the Appearance of Wind Turbines in the Landscape  S10 - 7

10.5 Baseline Conditions and Visual Sensitive Receivers  S10 - 12

10.6 Landscape Impact Assessment S10 - 17

10.7 Visual Impact Assessment S10 - 26

10.8 Conclusions  S10 - 43

10.9 References

10             Landscape & Visual Impacts

      10.1               Introduction

   10.1.1               Background

 10.1.1.1            Wind turbines in the landscape are a relatively recent phenomenon and the ways in which people perceive their visual effect has only recently become clear.  In particular both the functional aspects of their form and the symbolic meaning of wind turbines may be fundamentally different to other types of development and this in turn may affect the extent to which people perceive that they may be appropriate / acceptable in the landscape.

 10.1.1.2            Such perceptions are discussed in this Section as part of the technical assessments of landscape and visual impacts associated with proposed development of an offshore wind farm in the south-eastern waters of the HKSAR.

   10.1.2               Objectives

 10.1.2.1            Clause 2(vi) of the EIA Study Brief (ESB) states that a core objective of this EIA Study Report is to, “identify and quantify any potential landscape and visual impacts and to propose measures to mitigate these impacts”.

 10.1.2.2            Specifically, Section 3.4.4 of the ESB requires an assessment of both the construction and operational phase impacts of the Project.  Accordingly, this assessment includes:

·                 Definition of the scope and contents of the study, including a description of the assessment methodology;

·                 Review of relevant planning and development control framework;

·                 Review of literature on established public preference with regard to the appearance of wind turbines in the landscape and also a literature review of professional opinion on the appearance of power generation facilities in the landscape;

·                 Baseline study providing a comprehensive and accurate description of the baseline landscape and visual character;

·                 Identification of the potential landscape and visual impacts and prediction of their magnitude and potential significance, before and after mitigation measures; and

·                 Recommendation of appropriate mitigation measures and associated implementation programmes.

      10.2               Legislation, Standards & Guidelines

 10.2.1.1            The following legislation, standards and guidelines are potentially applicable to the assessment of landscape and visual impacts associated with the construction and operation of the Proposed Hong Kong Offshore Wind Farm in South-eastern Waters Project:

·                 Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap.499.S.16) and the Technical Memorandum on EIA Process (EIAO TM), particularly Annexes 10, 11 and 18;

·                 EIAO Guidance Note 8/2002;

·                 Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines;

·                 Town Planning Ordinance (Cap 131);

·                 Forests and Countryside Ordinance (Cap. 96) and its subsidiary legislation the Forestry Regulations;

·                 Country Parks Ordinance (Cap 208);

·                 Marine Parks Ordinance (Cap 476) and associated subsidiary legislation;

·                 Study on South East New Territories Development Strategy Review: Landscape and Conservation Framework;

·                 Territorial Development Strategy Review: 1995.

      10.3               Assessment Approach

   10.3.1               Limits of the Assessment Area

 10.3.1.1            The limit of the landscape impact study is 500m beyond the limit of the Works (Figures 10.3 and 10.4). The limits of the visual impact study are the Primary Visual Envelope of the works, which is illustrated in Figures 10.7a and 10.7b.

   10.3.2               Assessment Methodology

 10.3.2.1            Landscape and visual impacts have been assessed separately for the construction and operational phases.

 10.3.2.2            The assessment of landscape impacts has involved the following procedures:

·                 Identification of the baseline physical landscape resources and landscape character found within the Assessment Area.  This is achieved by site visit and desktop study of topographical maps, information databases and photographs.

·                 Assessment of the degree of sensitivity to change of the landscape resources and Landscape Character Areas.  This is influenced by a number of factors, including rarity, quality, conservation status and importance, the presence statutory or regulatory limitations, maturity of the resource and the ability of the resource / character to recover or be recreated.    The sensitivity of each landscape resource and character area is classified as follows:

 

High:

Important landscape or landscape resource with particularly distinctive positive aspects of character or high rarity value, sensitive to relatively small changes. 

Medium:

Landscape or landscape resource with moderately distinctive positive aspects of character or rarity value reasonably tolerant to change. 

Low:

Landscape or landscape resource common across Hong Kong with little distinctive positive character or low rarity value with a high tolerance to change. 

 

·                 Identification of potential sources of landscape impact. These are the various elements of the construction works and operational procedures that will produce changes to the landscape.

·                 Identification of the magnitude of landscape impact. Impact magnitude depends on various factors, including physical extent and context of the impact, project compatibility with the surrounding landscape, and impact frequency, duration and reversibility. Landscape impacts have been quantified wherever possible.  The magnitude of landscape impacts is classified as follows:

 

Large:

The landscape or landscape resource would experience a major change;

Intermediate:

The landscape or landscape resource would experience a moderate change;

Small:

The landscape or landscape resource would experience slight or barely perceptible changes;

Negligible:

The landscape or landscape resource would experience no discernible change.

 

·                 Identification of potential landscape mitigation measures. Such measures may include adopting an alternative design and / or layout, use of remedial measures such as colour and textural treatment, and measures to compensate unavoidable adverse impacts.  A programme to implement mitigation measures has been provided.  The agencies responsible for the funding, implementation, management and maintenance of the mitigation measures are identified and their approval-in-principle has been sought.

·                 Prediction of the significance of landscape impacts before and after the implementation of the mitigation measures.  By synthesizing the magnitude of the various impacts and the sensitivity of landscape resources it is possible to categorize impacts in a logical, well-reasoned and consistent fashion.  Table 10.1 displays a matrix categorizing impact significance according to project impact magnitude and sensitivity of landscape resource/character.  The impact significance thresholds are defined as follows:

 

Substantial:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause a very noticeable deterioration or improvement to existing landscape resources / character.

Moderate:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause a noticeable deterioration or improvement to existing landscape resources / character.

Slight:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause a barely perceptible deterioration or improvement to existing landscape resources / character.

Insubstantial:

No discernible change to existing landscape resources / character.

 

·                 Prediction of Acceptability of Impacts.  An overall assessment of the acceptability, or otherwise, of the impacts according to the five criteria set out in Annex 10 of the EIAOTM.

Table 10.1     Relationship between Receptor Sensitivity and Impact Magnitude in Defining Impact Significance

 

Large

Moderate

Moderate / Substantial

Substantial

Magnitude of Impact

Intermediate

Slight / Moderate

Moderate

Moderate / Substantial

Small

Insubstantial / Slight

Slight / Moderate

Moderate

Negligible

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

 

 

Low

Medium

High

 

 

Receptor Sensitivity

(of Landscape Resource, Landscape Character Area or VSR)

 

 10.3.2.3            The assessment of visual impacts has involved the following procedures.

·                 Identification of the Visual Envelope for the Hong Kong Offshore Wind Farm in South-eastern Waters project.  This has been achieved primarily through the use of computer modelling (‘Windfarm’ software developed by Resoft) and reconfirmed by site visit to determine visibility of the Project from various locations.

·                 Identification of the Visually Sensitive Receivers (VSRs) within the Primary Visual Envelope.  These are the people who would reside within, work within, play within, or travel through, the Primary Visual Envelope.

·                 Assessment of the degree of sensitivity to change of the VSRs. 

 

 10.3.2.4            The sensitivity of VSRs (those who will see the change in the landscape) is classified as follows:

High:

The VSR is highly sensitive to any change in their viewing experience.

Medium:

The VSR is moderately sensitive to any change in their viewing experience.

Low:

The VSR is only slightly sensitive to any change in their viewing experience.

 

·                 VSRs are grouped and their sensitivity classified according to whether the person is at home, at work, at play, or travelling.  Those who view the impact from their homes are considered to be highly sensitive, as the attractiveness or otherwise of the outlook from their home will have a substantial effect on their perception of the quality and acceptability of their environment and their general quality of life.  Those who view the impact from their workplace are of low sensitivity as the attractiveness or otherwise of their outlook will have a less important effect on their perception of their quality of life.  Those who view the impact whilst taking part in an outdoor leisure activity may display varying sensitivity depending on the type of leisure activity (for example, hikers will have a higher sensitivity than those playing football).  Those who view the impact whilst travelling on a public thoroughfare will generally have a medium sensitivity, with passengers being more sensitive than drivers of vehicles (who are concentrating on navigating and controlling their vehicle).

·                 Identification of the relative numbers of VSRs.  This is expressed in terms of whether there are very few, few, many or very many VSRs in any one category of VSR.  These terms are defined by size of a VSR group in Hong Kong that may be exposed to an impact over an average time period. For example, residents of a large public housing estate being ‘Very Many’, and residents of a small rural hamlet being ‘Very Few’).

·                 Identification of potential sources of visual impacts. These are the various elements of the construction works and operational procedures that would generate visual impacts.

·                 Assessment of the potential magnitude of visual impacts.  Factors considered include:

a)          Duration and reversibility of the impact;

b)         Changes in the character of existing views;

c)          Distance of the source of impact from the viewer; and

d)          Degree of visibility of the impact (partial, full, glimpse).

 

 10.3.2.5            The magnitude of visual impact is classified as follows:

 

Large:

The VSRs would experience a major change in the character of their viewing experience.

Intermediate:

The VSRs would experience a moderate change in the character of their viewing experience.

Small:

The VSRs would experience a minor change in the character of their viewing experience.

Negligible:

The VSRs would experience no discernible change in the character of their viewing experience.

 

·                 Identification of potential visual mitigation measures. Such measures may include adopting an alternative design and / or layout, use of remedial measures such as colour and textural treatment, and measures to compensate unavoidable adverse impacts.  A programme to implement mitigation measures has been provided.  The agencies responsible for the funding, implementation, management and maintenance of the mitigation measures are identified and their approval-in-principle has been sought.

·                 Prediction of the significance of visual impacts before and after the implementation of the mitigation measures.  By synthesizing the magnitude of the various impacts (changes in view) , the sensitivity of the VSRs, and the number of affected VSRs, it is possible to categorize impacts in a logical, well-reasoned and consistent fashion.  Table 10.1 displays a matrix categorizing impact significance according to the magnitude of impact (change), and sensitivity of affected VSRs.  Consideration is also given to the relative numbers of affected VSRs in predicting the final impact significance - exceptionally low or high numbers of VSRs may change the result that might otherwise be concluded from Table 10.1. The significance of the visual impacts is categorised as follows:

 

Substantial:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause significant deterioration or improvement in existing visual character perceived by the general population.

Moderate:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause a noticeable deterioration or improvement in existing visual character perceived by the general population.

Slight:

Negative / positive impact where the proposal would cause a barely perceptible deterioration or improvement in existing visual character perceived by the general population.

Insubstantial:

No discernible change in the existing visual character perceived by the general population.

 

·                 Prediction of Acceptability of Impacts.  An overall assessment of the acceptability, or otherwise, of the impacts according to the five criteria set out in Annex 10 of the EIAOTM.

 

 10.3.2.6            In addition, the following assumptions have been made in the assessment:

·                 All mitigation proposals in this report are practical and achievable within the known parameters of funding, implementation, management and maintenance.  The suggested agents for the funding and implementation (and subsequent management and maintenance, if applicable) are indicated in Tables 10.2 and 10.3.

 

   10.3.3               Planning and Development Control Framework

 10.3.3.1            A review has been undertaken of the current landscape planning goals and objectives and landscape planning designations for the Assessment Area. 

 10.3.3.2            As the Study Area is in offshore waters, there are no Outline Zoning Plans that cover the Study Area. 

 10.3.3.3            The Study Area falls outside the area designated as a Potential Marine Conservation Area under the ‘Landscape and Conservation Framework’ of the Study on the South East New Territories Development Strategy Review’ and is not covered by any particular landscape strategy under that document (Figures 10.1a and 10.1b).

 10.3.3.4            The Study Area falls outside the area designated as a Potential Site for Geological Park (Sai Kung Region) under the Country and Marine Parks Board Proposal to set up a Geopark in Hong Kong (Figures 10.1a and 10.1b).

The Study Area falls outside the area designated as an Inshore Protection Area under the ‘Landscape Strategy Components’ of the Territorial Development Strategy Review – 1995 and is not covered by any particular landscape strategy under that document (Figures 10.2a and 10.2b).

      10.4               Review of Literature on the Appearance of Wind Turbines in the Landscape

   10.4.1               Public Perception Research on the Appearance of Wind Turbines

 10.4.1.1            Over approximately the last 20 years, a variety of surveys have been conducted to determine the reaction of the public to wind turbines.  These surveys, carried out in the UK and the USA cover a variety of environmental aspects, and with respect to visual issues, a number of findings are notable:

 10.4.1.2            The independent NOP ‘Wind Tracker’ Poll conducted annually on some 1,000 adults in the UK reported from its 2006 survey that:

·                 62% of respondents did not consider wind farm appearance as being important;

·                 56% of respondents would be happy to have a wind farm in their area and

·                 21% of respondents had no strong views on the issue.

 

 10.4.1.3            The UK Government (DTI) surveyed local residents after completion of a wind farm project in Wales (Cemmes).  They found that 54% of respondents felt that the turbines had a positive impact on the landscape and 27% had no strong view with regard to their appearance (cited in Wind-works.org).

 10.4.1.4            A survey of some 1,000 people conducted by Populus in the UK in 2005 reported that 47% of respondents had no strong feelings on wind farm appearance, 28% liked the appearance and 24% did not like the appearance (cited in BWEA.com).

 10.4.1.5            The Government body, Countryside Council for Wales conducted surveys in 1992-93 in Wales and found that between 50% and 75% of respondents living in areas around wind farms thought that wind turbines were in keeping with the landscape.  Around 20% of respondents stated they found turbines visually objectionable (cited in Wind-works.org).

 10.4.1.6            Further interesting findings have been revealed by a Mori Poll in 2003 which showed that when respondents in Scotland were surveyed before and after the implementation of a wind farm project, the numbers who found the appearance of wind farms objectionable, fell from 27% to 12% after completion of the Project (cited in BWEA.com).  That is, the actual appearance of wind farms is more agreeable than the perception prior to development.

 10.4.1.7            Indeed, to reinforce the point above Revie and Stein have reviewed all available public preference surveys into wind farms and concluded that “To date, every survey of public opinion taken after construction has shown a considerable majority in favour of a wind farm” (Revie and Stein, 1997, p.49).

In a survey carried out by the Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies, USA as part of the Delaware Opinion on Offshore Wind Power (2007) researchers found that with regard to a proposed offshore wind farm “there was a small expressed intention to not visit beaches with visible turbines.  However, a much larger percent expressed a desire to visit a beach not previously visited for the purpose of seeing turbines”.

 10.4.1.8            Thayer and Freemen, (1987) carried out research surveys into a proposed wind farm at Altamont in California, USA.  Their research suggested that public preferences included (Thayer and Freeman 1987, pp. 395-396):

·                 Use of neutral colours for turbines;

·                 Evenly spaced arrays of turbines;

·                 Consistency in turbine type and size within arrays;

·                 Use of fewer, larger turbines in preference to the use of more smaller ones; and

·                 Minimization of conspicuously malfunctioning turbines – turbines look more acceptable when they are operating.

 

 10.4.1.9            This research has since proven to be fairly accurate and modern wind farms are designed in accordance with the principles established by Thayer and Freemen. Overall, surveys of wind farm perception from the UK and USA consistently show that:

·                 Typically 50-70% of respondents have no adverse feelings on the visual appearance of wind farm developments after construction; and

·                 There is a preference for consistency of size, formal layout and maximum turbine size as opposed to multiplication of smaller sized turbines.

 

   10.4.2               Professional Approaches to the Appearance of Wind Turbines in the Landscape

 10.4.2.1            Professional consensus amongst Landscape Architects and those involved in the field of landscape aesthetics has identified a number of key principles with regard to the visual appearance of large engineering structures in the landscape.

   10.4.3               The Relationship between Landscape and Large Structures

 10.4.3.1            It is widely acknowledged in the field of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment that there is no necessary correlation between a man-made development per se and visual impact.  Neither is there a necessary correlation between the size of a structure and the magnitude of impact (or the significance of that impact).  What is widely recognised as being important, is that the development should correspond to the visual characteristics and components of the landscape in which it sits (Crowe, p17).

   10.4.4               Principles for the Siting and Design of Large Structures in the Landscape

 10.4.4.1            Scale: The eminent UK Landscape Architect, Sylvia Crowe wrote a seminal book on the effect of power generation infrastructure on the landscape, ‘The Landscape of Power’ – which is as valid today as it was when it was written.  In it, she states that it is important that when siting large landscape structures in the landscape they be of scale that responds to the scale of other features in the landscape.  Therefore, large structures are more appropriate in landscapes dominated by large-scale features (e.g., lakes and mountains).  When dealing with large power generation structures in the landscape, Crowe states that it is important to maintain a “zone of simplicity” (Crowe, p46) which is a zone between the viewer and the structure which does not contain features of a human scale which will accentuate the scale of the structure.  If the “zone of simplicity” is maintained, then large structures will not appear out of scale.

 10.4.4.2            Design of Structures in the Landscape: Sylvia Crowe also states that “Once a structure exceeds 100ft, rising above the tallest trees, the effect on the landscape of any further increase in height is far less important than an increase in bulk”.  When considering the relationship of power generation infrastructure to the landscape, Crowe states that the ”feeling of detachment generated by a structure that floats or rests lightly on the ground, suggest one of the answers to the problem of reconciling machines and the landscape” (Crowe, p49).

 10.4.4.3            Relationship of Forms to Function: Sylvia Crowe believes that power generation structures may, in certain cases, become gradually accepted as a natural part of the landscape, provided that their form expresses their purpose rather than being an attempt to disguise it.  She states that, “probably the human eye will gradually become accustomed to the new shapes which embody processes of thought and translate into visible, physical forms, the pattern of universal laws.  But this will happen only if the shapes truly represent these laws and do not masquerade as enlarged habitations of the human body.” (Crowe, p17).

 10.4.4.4            Sensitivity / Capacity of Seascape: Certain landscapes / seascapes may be more appropriate than others for the location of large, power generating structures.  The UK ‘Guide to Best Practice in Seascape Assessment’ (2001) states that “the marine component has a uniform but low capacity in itself.  Yet its large scale can absorb some small change without affecting its overall character – especially where the change is well out to sea and well away from land-based receptors.” (Maritime Institute for Ireland & Countryside Council for Wales (2001), Para 6.6) 

   10.4.5               The Potential Positive Visual Impacts of Wind Turbine Structures

 10.4.5.1            In the context of wind power, across the world, wind turbines have not only been repeatedly found to be acceptable in visual terms, but in some cases have been found to enhance the landscape. 

 10.4.5.2            In the UK, the Secretary of State’s for the Environment’s planning inspector stated when he approved a wind farm in the Area of High Landscape Value in the rural area of St Breock in Cornwall:

 10.4.5.3            “With a sympathetic colour scheme, [the turbines] would be visually in keeping with this designated area and would enhance the view.  The scheme would emphasise the sense of space and distance that is so characteristic of this…landscape.  The proposal would not detract from the landscape character of the area in purely visual terms, rather it would, in my view complement it” (cited in Planning Application for the proposed St Breock Wind Farm, Environmental Statement (2002), p9).

 10.4.5.4            Similarly, a local district councillor speaking for a local community in Scotland stated after the completion of a local wind farm:

 10.4.5.5            “The Ardrossan wind farm has been overwhelmingly accepted by local people – instead of spoiling the landscape we believe it has been enhanced.  The turbines are impressive looking [and] bring a calming effect to the town…” (cited in BWEA.com).

 10.4.5.6            US Landscape Architect Robert Thayer states in his seminal work ‘Gray World, Green Heart: Technology, Nature and the Sustainable Landscape’ that viewers ascribe cultural and symbolic value to technological features in the landscape. Reviewing the results of a case study at the Montezuma Hills Wind Farm, Solano County California, he states that wind turbines have a positive visual association because their form is directly related to a sustainable function (i.e. the generation of clean renewable energy).  He states that “This rather direct expression of function serves to reinforce wind energy’s sense of landscape appropriateness, clarity and comprehensibility.  In the long run, wind energy will contribute highly to a unique sense of place” (Thayer, 1994).  

   10.4.6               Conclusions

 10.4.6.1            Combined evidence from research into public perception of the appearance of wind farms and professional opinion suggests the following principles:

·                 A majority of people living close to wind farms believe wind turbines make no negative impact on the landscape (cited in BWEA and Windworks.org);

·                 People generally find wind turbines more acceptable when they see them, than when they try to imagine them (Mori cited in BWEA) and a majority ultimately are in favour of the wind farm (Revie and Stein).  They may become habituated to new or novel forms in the landscape where these forms possess a simple integrity (Crowe);

·                 People prefer turbines of a consistent size and formal layout (Thayer); 

·                 Turbine size should be maximised in preference to a multiplication of smaller turbines (Thayer);

·                 Large structures should be sited in landscapes where they are well away from smaller structures, so that their scale is not emphasised.  A “zone of simplicity should be maintained” (Crowe);

·                 Tall, slender structures with a small interface with the landscape and which seem to “float” on it are more preferable to low bulky structures (Crowe);

·                 People find wind turbines more acceptable than other power generation structures due to the relationship of their form to their function and because of their psychological associations with clean, sustainable energy (Crowe and Thayer);

·                 Coastal offshore landscapes are suitable for the location of large structures due to their size and scale and the fact that they are remote from large numbers of visual receivers (Maritime Institute for Ireland & Countryside Council for Wales);

·                 With regard to offshore windfarms, more people view visible turbines as a visual attraction than those who see them as being deterrent features (University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies);

·                 There is some opinion that wind farms may result in positive visual impacts both through contributing to a sense of place and also due to their positive perceptual connotations with sustainable energy (Thayer, DTI cited in Windworks.org).

      10.5               Baseline Conditions and Visual Sensitive Receivers

   10.5.1               Physical Landscape Resources

 10.5.1.1            Being a marine site, the landscape resources that will be affected by the Project are limited to the offshore waters themselves.  There are no islands or landmasses within the Study Area.

 10.5.1.2            The offshore waters that will be affected during the (Pre) Construction Phase and Operational Phase, together with its sensitivity to change, are described below. 

 10.5.1.3            The locations of the offshore waters are mapped in Figure 10.3.  Photo-views illustrating them are provided in Figures 10.5 and 10.6. For ease of reference and co-ordination between text, tables and figures the landscape resource is given an identity number (LR1).

 10.5.1.4            LR1 – Offshore Waters – this resource consists of an extensive body of offshore water lying off the coast of Hong Kong extending as far as the boundary of Hong Kong Territorial Waters.  Hong Kong has an abundance of offshore water and given this abundance, it is a landscape resource of low sensitivity.


   10.5.2               Landscape Character Area

 10.5.2.1            One landscape character area (LCA) covers the entire Study Area.  This was identified in Planning Department’s Landscape Value Mapping Study (2005) and is described below.  The location of the character area is indicated on Figure 10.4.  Photographs showing the character of the LCA are provided in Figures 10.5 and 10.6.  For ease of reference and co-ordination between text, tables and figures, the Landscape Character Area is given the identity number, LCA1.

LCA1 – East Hong Kong Offshore Waters

 10.5.2.2            This landscape comprises an extensive, homogenous area of offshore water off the east coast of the New Territories of Hong Kong, between Mirs Bay in the north and the Po Toi Islands in the south.

 10.5.2.3            It consists predominantly of the water itself as well as a number of small rocky islands scattered throughout them typically rising to no more than 50mPD.  These include Cheung Tsui Chau; Conic Island (Fan Tsang Chau); Po Pin Chau; Wong Nai Chau and Kong Tau Pai. Vegetation on these islands comprises patches of scrub and grass.  Apart from the waters and these scattered islands, the landscape also includes occasional commercial and pleasure craft.  This is a landscape in which the skies and their quality are almost as important as other features, giving it an expansive, open and ‘airy’ quality.  It is also an almost uniform landscape of huge scale elements, which has a character that is generally tranquil and which has a distinct sense of remoteness and exposure. 

 10.5.2.4            Islands within this LCA but beyond the limits of the study area include High Island, Tai Long Wan, Sharp Island, Ninepin Group, Wang Chau, Basalt Island and Bluff Island, all of which feature rare volcanic columns and are included in the Sai Kung portion of the Proposed Geological Park. However, as these islands fall outside the study area for the Project there will be no additional residual landscape impacts affecting the landscape character of the proposed Geological Park (Figures 10.1a and 10.1b).

 10.5.2.5            This is a very extensive landscape and so changes to it are likely to be small in magnitude.  However, it is also a landscape, which by virtue of its openness and simplicity has a high sensitivity to change.

   10.5.3               Visual Envelope

 10.5.3.1            The Visual Envelope for the Project will be largely similar during the (Pre) Construction Phase and Operational phase, as there will be no especially tall temporary machinery or structures associated with construction works. 

 10.5.3.2            For the purposes of the Study, the Visual Envelope is divided into a Primary Visual Envelope and a Secondary Visual Envelope.  The Primary Visual Envelope is that area within 15km of the Project from which it can be seen.  Although in a small number of cases, there will be a direct line of sight to the Project from areas beyond this distance, the effects of distance will mean that any visual impacts are not significant. 

 10.5.3.3            Given the marine location of the Project, the Visual Envelope will be large, with intervening landforms defining it only to the north-west, west and south west.  The Primary Visual Envelope is described below and is mapped in Figures 10.7a and 10.7b.

 10.5.3.4            To the north and north-west, the Primary Visual Envelope covers the shore of the south-east New Territories from Basalt Island, Bluff Island, Town Island and the mouth of the High Island Reservoir, extending north to Tai Long Wan and the adjacent headland.  This area includes small sections of road running along the southern shore of the Reservoir and in foothills to the north.  The Primary Visual Envelope also includes the south east coast of Kau Sai Chau (and very small areas of the golf course) and Jin Island. The Proposed Geological Park (Sai Kung Region) falls within this portion of the Primary Visual Envelope.

 10.5.3.5            To the west, the Primary Visual Envelope extends as far as the spit of land separating Inner Port Shelter from Hebe Haven, as well as the mouth of Hebe Haven itself.  Turbines will be visible along part of the east of Clear Water Bay Peninsula, west to the High Junk Peak Trail and as far south as the Clear Water Bay Country Club and the east coast of Tung Lung Chau.

 10.5.3.6            To the south and southwest, the Primary Visual Envelope includes extensive areas of offshore water as far as Waglan Island and Sung Kong Island.

 10.5.3.7            Finally, to the south and east, the Primary Visual Envelope includes areas of offshore water as far as the boundary of Hong Kong SAR territorial waters.

   10.5.4               Visually Sensitive Receivers (VSRs)

 10.5.4.1            Within the Primary Visual Envelope for the (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases, key Visually Sensitive Receivers (VSRs) have been identified.  These VSRs are mapped in Figures 10.8a and 10.8b.  They are listed below, and also, together with their sensitivity, in Table 10.5.   The views currently experienced by VSRs are shown in Figures 10.9a, 10.9b, 10.10a, 10.10b, 10,11a, 10.11b, 10.12a, 10.12b, 10.13a, 10.13b, 10.14a, 10.14b, 10.15a, 10.15b, 10.16a, 10.16b, 10.17a, 10.17b, 10.18a, 10.18b, 10.19a, 10.19b, 10.20a, 10.20b.  For ease of reference, each VSR is given an identity number, which is used in the text tables and figures. 

Recreational Visually Sensitive Receivers

 10.5.4.2            Recreational VSRs are as follows:

·                  R1     Visitors / Hikers on Tung Lung Chau

·                  R2     Recreational Boat Users west of Project (>5km and <10km)

·                  R3     Users of Clearwater Bay Country Club

·                  R4     Hikers on High Junk Peak Trail

·                  R5     Users of Clear Water Bay Country Park (East)

·                  R6     Users of Little Palm Beach

·                  R7     Users of Silverstrand Beach

·                  R8     Recreational Boat Users in Port Shelter (>10km and <15km)

·                  R9     Recreational Boat Users in Rocky Harbour (>5km and <10km)

·                  R10   Users of Kau Sai Chau Golf Course

·                  R11   Users of HK Sea Cadet Corps Nautical Centre

·                  R12   Users of Sai Kung East Country Park

·                  R13   Users of Long Ke Wan Bay and Beach

·                  R14   Users of Sai Kung Man Yee Road

·                  R15   Hikers on Sai Wan Shan Peninsula

·                  R16   Users of Pak Lap Wan Bay and Beach

·                  R17   Users of Tai Long Wan Bay and Beach

·                  R18   Hikers on Sharp Peak Foothills

·                  R19   Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>5km and <10km)

·                  R20   Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>10km and <15km)

·                  R21   Recreational Boat Users >5km and <10km of Project

·                  R22   Users of Clearwater Bay First and Second Beaches

·                  R23   Visitors to Proposed Geological Park <5km from Project

·                  R24   Visitors to Proposed Geological Park >5km and <10km from Project

 

Travelling Visually Sensitive Receivers

 10.5.4.3            Travelling VSRs are as follows:

·                  T1      Travellers on Tung Lung Chau Ferry

·                  T2      Motorists on Clear Water Bay Road

·                  T3      Motorists on Tai Mong Tsai Road

·                  T4      Users of Kaidos in Port Shelter

·                  T5      Users of Kaidos in Rocky Harbour

·                  T6      Users of Kaidos north of Project

 

Residential Visually Sensitive Receivers

 10.5.4.4            Residential VSRs are as follows:

·                  D1     Residents in Sheung Yeung, Pan Long Wan, Ng Fai Tin

·                  D2     Residents in Silverstrand and Bella Vista

·                  D3     Residents in Long Ke Wan Training Centre

·                  D4     Residents in Pak Lap

·                  D5     Residents in Tai Wan

 

Occupational Visually Sensitive Receivers

 10.5.4.5            Occupational VSRs are as follows:

·                  O1     Workers on Vessels in Tathong Channel

·                  O2     Workers in TVB City

·                  O3     Students at HKU of Science & Technology

·                  O4     Workers on Vessels <5km and >10km of Project

·                  O5     Workers on Vessels >10km of Project

·                  O6     Workers on Vessels <5km of Project

 

 10.5.4.6            It has been identified by AFCD that an estimated 110,000 people visited the Tung Ping Chau and Yan Chau Tong marine parks in 2008 and that a similar base traffic may be conservatively adopted for the Port Shelter geosites.  Assuming a reduction due to adverse weather condition preventing sailing in winter months annual visitors to the Ninepins geosite may be conservatively estimated as 55,000, however, this level that would not be expected to be reached in the short term.

   10.5.5               Potential Sources of Landscape and Visual Impacts

 10.5.5.1            Two possible layout options are considered in section 2. The option considered in this assessment features a total of 67 3MW turbines, while the alternative option would consist of 40 5MW turbines. Any difference in impacts between the two options is noted below, although these differences are not significant in terms of this landscape and visual impact assessment, and would not result in the residual impacts falling within a different significance threshold.

 10.5.5.2            The proposed project will involve the following sources of (Pre) Construction impact:

Pre-Construction Impacts

·                 Presence of a Jack up Vessel, tugs and barges to construct an 80m high Research Mast (for a period of 1 - 2 months);

·                 Presence of the Research Mast prior to Construction (period of 1 year)

 

Construction Impacts

 10.5.5.3            Turbines/ Foundations:

·                  Presence of a Jack up Vessel, tugs and barges to construct foundations (period of a few months over 1 year);

·                  Construction works on foundations on sea bed (period of a few months over 1 year);

·                  Presence of Jack-up Vessel, tugs and barges to construct turbine superstructures (period of a few months over 1 year);

·                  Presence of partially completed structures prior to commissioning (up to a year) and

·                  Short range night lighting.

 

 10.5.5.4            Other Features:

·                  Presence of cable laying vessels (up to 4) between wind farm and coast (period of a few months over 1 or 2 years);

·                  Construction work on Offshore Transformer Station (to a maximum height of approx. 27m above sea level) including construction of foundations on sea bed;

·                  Short range night lighting and

·                  Vessel movements (approximately 3,400 over a two year period).

 

 10.5.5.5            Construction impacts associated with the alternative 5MW layout would be slightly smaller in magnitude due to the reduced construction period and a lower number of vehicle movements required (approx. 40% fewer). However, the magnitude of impacts would fall within the same magnitude thresholds as for the 3MW layout.

 

Operational Impacts

 10.5.5.6            Sources of operational phase landscape impact will be:

·                  Presence of 67 new turbines (each having an overall height above sea level of up to 125m).  The turbines are composed of a platform (up to 15m above sea level); a tower (80m high) with three rotor blades (with a diameter of 90m) – see Figures 10.21 and 10.22;

·                  Safety features associated with all turbines shall be orange blade tips and a yellow paint finish at the tower base above water level, and a low intensity red navigation light pointing directly upwards in the top of the turbine (not visible at distances greater than 4km). The top of all turbine nacelles will be orange. In addition, those turbines at the edge of the array will have an orange stripe half way up the tower with a low-intensity red navigation light mounted on the tower (not visible at distances greater than 4km).  Finally, turbines at the corners of the array will be fitted with an additional navigation light consisting of a flashing yellow light (not visible at distances greater than 10km) – see Figures 10.21 and 10.22;

·                  Presence of Offshore Transformer Station (approx. 27m above sea level) – see Figure 10.22;

·                  Presence of Research Mast (approx. 80m high). This will be a lattice tower structure with orange and white bands and low intensity steady red lighting at top and mid point (visible at no more than 4km) – see Figure 10.22;

·                  Movement Resulting from the Operation of Turbines – movement of rotors is a potential source of visual impact;

·                  Shadow Flicker Resulting from the Operation of Turbines - wind turbines are tall structures and can therefore cast shadows when the sun is low in the sky.  In certain meteorological conditions and in certain positions (clear skies with the sun in a certain part of the sky behind the wind turbine) observers near a wind turbine could experience "shadow flicker".  Shadow flicker is the result of sunlight passing through a turbine blade as it rotates, causing an intermittent shadow.  By the nature of the sun, the effect can only occur for limited periods in a day and on limited days in a year.  Clarke (N/K) indicates that VSRs situated within 10 rotor diameters (in the case of this Project, 900-1200m) of a wind turbine are most likely to be affected by shadow flicker.

 

 10.5.5.7            Operational impacts associated with the alternative 5MW layout would be very slightly lower due to the visually less dense arrangement of turbines. However, the magnitude of impacts would fall within the same magnitude thresholds as for the 3MW layout.

      10.6               Landscape Impact Assessment

   10.6.1               Nature and Magnitude of Landscape Impacts Before Mitigation in Pre- Construction / Construction Phase

 10.6.1.1            The magnitude of the impacts, before implementation of mitigation measures, on landscape resources and landscape character areas that will occur in the (Pre) Construction Phase for the 3MW layout option are described below and tabulated in Table 10.4.

Landscape Resources

 10.6.1.2            Offshore Waters (LR1) – During the (Pre) Construction Phase, the construction and operation of the Research Mast will result in the loss of around 20 square metres of coastal water.  In addition to this, construction of the turbines of the project will result in the ‘loss’ of around 2240 square metres of offshore water at both construction stage (approximately 20 square metres per turbine plus approximately 900 square metres for the transformer platform).  Given the extent of offshore water in Hong Kong, the magnitude of these changes will therefore be Small (bordering Negligible) during the (Pre) Construction phase.

Landscape Character

 10.6.1.3            East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (LCA1)(Pre) Construction works will introduce a variety of features into the marine landscape of the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters.  Some of these features, such as the presence of ships and vessels are not untypical in coastal waters, although static groupings of vessels are less common in these waters than elsewhere.  The presence of the completed Research Mast and partially completed turbines will introduce large scale, artificial, partially completed, maritime features into the marine landscape.  Though man-made maritime features such as buoys and lighthouses are reasonably common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, features of the scale of the turbines are not common.  In addition, whilst the turbines are partly complete, they will have a somewhat complex and incoherent appearance not entirely consistent with the simple, uniform landscape.  However, although the turbines are large in themselves, they are small in the context of the large extent of this LCA, and consequently they will create an Intermediate magnitude of change to the overall character of this very extensive landscape.

   10.6.2               Nature and Magnitude of Landscape Impacts Before Mitigation in Operational Phase

 10.6.2.1            The magnitude of impacts related to the 3MW layout, before implementation of mitigation measures, on landscape resources and landscape character areas that will occur in the Operational Phase are tabulated in Table 10.4 and described below:

Landscape Resources

 10.6.2.2            Offshore Waters (LR1) – During the Operational Phase, the operation of the Research Mast, turbines and Offshore Transformer Station will result in the loss of around 2240 square metres of coastal water (same calculation as described for the (Pre) Construction Phase).  Given the extent of offshore water in Hong Kong, the magnitude of these changes will therefore be Small (bordering Negligible) during the Operational Phase. The change is also wholly reversible upon the decommissioning and dismantling of the project at the end of its life (predicted 20 - 25 years).

Landscape Character

 10.6.2.3            East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (LCA1)Operation of the Project will introduce a variety of features into the marine landscape of the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters, over an area of about 15 square kilometres.  The presence of the completed Research Mast, turbines and Offshore Transformer Station, will introduce large-scale, completed, artificial maritime features into this landscape.  Navigation lighting, visible in the case of 6 lights at up to 10km, will contrast with the otherwise unlit and natural characteristics of the landscape.  Though man-made marine features (including ones with navigation lighting), such as buoys and light houses, are reasonably common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, features of this scale and number are not common.  The Project will also introduce movement (through turbine rotor blades) into a landscape in which at present movement is limited to occasional vessel movements.

 10.6.2.4            Set against this is the fact that on their completion, the turbines will be of a consistent height, in a regular array.  The simplicity of the forms of the turbines; the fact that they are all of a consistent size and their distribution in a regular and clear array, will respond to the simplicity and clarity of the marine landscape.  Furthermore, most lights will not be visible at a distance of over 4km nor for more than 12 hours each day, and therefore will be visible over only a small portion of the LCA.  However, given that the turbines are relatively large structures and that 6 night lights will be visible over an area within radius of 10km, which constitutes a relatively large part of the LCA,  the operation of the wind farm over a 24 hour period would represent an Intermediate magnitude of change to the character of this very extensive landscape.  However, the change is wholly reversible upon the decommissioning and dismantling of the project at the end of its life (predicted 20 - 25 years).

   10.6.3               Landscape and Visual Mitigation Measures in (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases

Alternative Sites

 10.6.3.1            The site selection process outlined in section 2, determined that on the basis of other operational considerations and planning and design constraints, the selected site is the most viable location for a commercial offshore wind farm in Hong Kong waters.  The landscape and visual impact of alternative locations has therefore not been assessed given the absence of other viable (preferred) locations.

Alternative Layouts

 10.6.3.2            Two different options for the size and layout of the wind turbines are considered in section 2:

·                  The 3MW layout features a total of 67 turbines of approximately 125m maximum height (80m mast and 45m blades) as shown in Figures 10.21. The 3MW layout forms the basis of this assessment because it is considered to produce slightly greater impacts than the alternative 5MW layout.

·                  The alternative 5MW layout proposes a total of 40 turbines with a maximum height of 150m each (90m mast and 60m blades), as shown in Figure 10.21. It is predicted that this option will represent a very slightly reduced magnitude of impact overall when compared with the 3MW layout. This is because, as noted in the conclusions to section 10.4, above, a smaller number of individually larger wind turbines is generally considered preferable to a larger number of smaller turbines from a landscape and visual impact perspective. Furthermore, the construction period will be slightly reduced and vehicle movements will be 40% less due to the smaller number of turbines to be erected.

 10.6.3.3            For these reasons, it is considered that the potential landscape and visual impacts associated with the 3MW layout will be the greater of the two options, although the difference in the residual impacts experienced by the affected receivers would be too small to differentiate in this assessment and would fall into the same significance threshold for both options. The landscape and visual impact for the 5MW layout has therefore not been assessed in this report.

Mitigation Measures

 10.6.3.4            The proposed landscape and visual mitigation measures for potential impacts generated during the (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases are described below in Tables 10.2 and 10.3, together with the associated funding, implementation, management and maintenance agencies.  The mitigation measures are illustrated in Figure 10.22.

Table 10.2     Proposed (Pre) Construction Phase Landscape and Visual Mitigation Measures

ID No.

Landscape and Visual Mitigation Measure

Funding Agency

Implementation Agency

CM1

Reduction of Pre-Construction and Construction period to practical minimum.

HKOWL

HKOWL

CM2

Control night-time lighting and glare by hooding all lights.

HKOWL

HKOWL

CM3

Reduction of number of construction vessels and vessel movements to practical minimum

HKOWL

HKOWL

CM4

Painting Research Mast in visually neutral / recessive colours.  Consistent with safety requirements, minimise area of each turbine treated with bright colours.

HKOWL

HKOWL

CM5

Consistent with meeting safety requirements, minimise numbers of safety lights and their intensity on Research Mast.

HKOWL

HKOWL

 

Table 10.3     Proposed Operational Phase Landscape and Visual Mitigation Measures

ID No.

Landscape Mitigation Measure

Funding Agency

Implementation Agency

Management Agency

Maintenance Agency

OM1

Use a matt or semi-matt off-white finish to turbines to reduce albedo (reflectivity).  Consistent with safety requirements, minimise area of each turbine treated with bright colours.

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

OM2

Consistent with meeting safety requirements, minimise numbers of safety lights and their intensity.

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

OM3

Ensure non-reflective materials used in construction of Offshore Transformer Station and Research Mast.  Finishes should be neutral and visually recessive (pale grey / blue or off-white).

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

OM4

Employ regular patterns of turbines, to create a balanced, controlled appearance, as opposed to random or clustered groups.

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

OM5

The design of turbine towers, above the platform, should be slender and elegant.

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

HKOWL

 

   10.6.4               Programme of Implementation of Landscape and Visual Mitigation Measures

 10.6.4.1            The (Pre) Construction Phase measures listed above will be adopted from the commencement of construction and will be in place throughout the entire construction period.  The Operational Phase measures listed above will be adopted during detailed design, and be built as part of the construction works so that they are in place at the date of commissioning of the project.

   10.6.5               Prediction of Significance of Landscape Impacts

 10.6.5.1            The potential significance of the landscape impacts for the 3MW layout during the (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases, before and after mitigation, are provided below in Table 10.4 and mapped in Figures 10.23, 10.24, 10.25, 10.26.  There is no significant difference in the level of landscape impacts between the 3MW and 5MW layouts. This assessment follows the methodology outlined above and assumes that the appropriate mitigation measures identified in Tables 10.2 and 10.3 above will be implemented.  Since there are no soft landscape mitigation measures in this project, the assessed impacts at Day 1 and Year 10 are the same.  Photomontages of the proposed development before and after mitigation are illustrated in Figures 10.9a, 10.9b, 10.10a, 10.10b, 10,11a, 10.11b, 10.12a, 10.12b, 10.13a, 10.13b, 10.14a, 10.14b, 10.15a, 10.15b, 10.16a, 10.16b, 10.17a, 10.17b, 10.18a, 10.18b, 10.19a, 10.19b, 10.20a, 10.20b.

(Pre) Construction Phase

 10.6.5.2            In the (Pre) Construction Phase, after the implementation of the proposed mitigation measures, there will still be some negative residual landscape impacts as described below.  The assessment assumes that pre-construction and construction works will last for about two years.

 10.6.5.3            No residual negative landscape impacts of Substantial significance will be experienced by landscape resources or LCAs.

 10.6.5.4            Negative residual landscape impacts of Moderate significance will be experienced by the following landscape character area:

 10.6.5.5            East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (LCA1) – (Pre) Construction works will introduce a variety of features into (approximately 15 sq.km. of) the marine landscape of the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters.  Some of these features, such as the presence of ships and vessels are not untypical of coastal waters, although static groupings of vessels are unusual in these waters.  The presence of the completed Research Mast and partially completed turbines will introduce large-scale artificial marine features into the landscape.  Though man-made marine features such as buoys and lighthouses are common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, features of this scale are not.  Whilst these artificial features are under construction, they will have a somewhat complex character and may provide an unfavourable contrast with the simple, natural qualities of the seascape, potentially resulting in an Intermediate magnitude of change to a very extensive seascape that is of high sensitivity to change.  It is considered that the significance of the resulting impacts on landscape character will be Moderate.

 10.6.5.6            Residual landscape impacts of Insubstantial significance will be experienced by the following landscape resources:


 10.6.5.7            Offshore Waters (LR1) – During the Pre-construction Phase, the construction and operation of the Research Mast will result in the loss of around 20 square metres of coastal water.  In addition to this, construction of the turbines and transformer platform of the project will result in the ‘loss’ of around 2240 square metres of offshore water at both construction stage (approximately 20 square metres per turbine (67 nos.) plus 900 square metres for the transformer platform).  Whilst inshore water close to the coasts is perceived as being an increasingly scarce resource, Hong Kong has an abundance of offshore water and this is considered a resource of low sensitivity.  Given that the magnitude of these changes will be Small (bordering Negligible), the resulting impact significance on the resource will be Insubstantial during (Pre) Construction.

Operational Phase

 10.6.5.8            In the Operational Phase, after the implementation of the proposed mitigation measures, there will be some negative residual landscape impacts as described below.  In assessing Operational Phase impacts, consideration was made of the fact that the operational life of the wind farm will be only 20-25 years, and all impacts are wholly reversible upon the eventual decommissioning and dismantling of the project. The site selection process for the wind farm, presented in Sections 2.3 and 2.4, shows that the wind farm has been sited as far away from coastlines as possible given the site selection criteria and constraints. This minimizes potential visual impacts.

 10.6.5.9            No residual negative landscape impacts of Substantial significance will be experienced by landscape resources or LCAs.

10.6.5.10            Negative residual landscape impacts of Moderate significance will be experienced by the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (LCA1).   Operation of the wind farm will introduce a variety of features into the marine landscape of the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (over around 15 sq km).  The presence of the completed Research Mast, turbines and transformer platform will introduce large manmade features into a seascape otherwise characterized largely by natural features (except for occasional ships and boats).  Although manmade marine features such as buoys and lighthouses are common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, lights in these numbers and features of this scale are not common.  The strong verticality of the turbines will tend to contrast with the largely horizontal qualities of the seascape.  In addition, permanent navigation lighting (for the most part only visible at less than 4km, but in the case of 6 lights at up to 10km) will contrast with the predominantly unlit characteristics of the landscape, where currently the only source of light is the transient lighting of marine traffic.

10.6.5.11            However, the effects above will be to a certain extent offset by the simplicity of the forms of the turbines; the fact that they are all of a consistent size and they are distributed in a regular and clear array.  In these regards, the wind farm will respond to the simplicity and clarity of the marine landscape.  The fact that there are no other human features around the Project means that the scale of the turbines will not be very apparent. Also, most night lights will not be visible at a distance of over 4km, which constitutes only a small portion of the LCA 

10.6.5.12            The slender etiolated forms of the turbines will also correspond to the ‘airy’ qualities of this marine landscape, one of its key characteristics.  In addition, the wide spacing of the turbines (450m or 630m) will ensure high levels of visual permeability that will not wholly compromise the openness of the landscape, which is another of its key characteristics.

10.6.5.13            The result of these different factors will mean that the new features will represent an Intermediate magnitude of change to a very extensive landscape, which has a high sensitivity to change.  Following the implementation of the mitigation measures listed in Table 10.3, and taking account of the considerations described in section 10.4, it is considered that the resulting significance of impacts on the landscape character of the East Hong Kong Offshore Waters (LCA1) will be Moderate during the Operational Phase. However, the change is wholly reversible upon the decommissioning and dismantling of the project at the end of its life (predicted 20 - 25 years).

10.6.5.14            Residual landscape impacts of Insubstantial significance will be experienced by the following landscape resources:

10.6.5.15            Offshore Waters (LR1) – During the Operational Phase, the operation of the Research Mast, turbines and transformer platform will result in the ‘loss’ of around 2240 square metres of offshore water.  Whilst inshore water close to the coasts is perceived as being an increasingly scarce resource, Hong Kong has an abundance of offshore water and this is a resource of low sensitivity.  Given that the magnitude of these changes will be Small (bordering Negligible), resulting impact significance on the resource will be Insubstantial.  Furthermore, the change is wholly reversible upon the decommissioning and dismantling of the project at the end of its life (predicted 20 - 25 years).

 

 


Table 10.4        Significance of Landscape Impacts in (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases (Negative Impacts unless otherwise stated)

Id. No.

Landscape Resource /
Landscape Character

Sensitivity to Change
(Low, Medium, High)

Magnitude of Impact (Change)
before Mitigation
(Negligible, Small, Intermediate, Large)

Impact Significance BEFORE Mitigation
(Insubstantial, Slight, Moderate, Substantial)

Recommended Mitigation Measures

Residual Impact Significance AFTER Mitigation
(Insubstantial, Slight, Moderate, Substantial)

 

 

(Pre)  Construction

Operation

(Pre)
Construction

Operation

(Pre)
Construction

Operation

 

(Pre)
Construction

Operation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 1

YEAR 10

Part 1 – Physical Landscape Resources (Topography, Vegetation, Soil, Open Space, Special Features, etc)

LR1

Offshore Waters

Low

Low

Small
(1420 sq m )

Small
(1420 sq m)

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

None

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Part 2 – Landscape Character Areas

LCA1

East Hong Kong Offshore Waters

High

High

Intermediate
(15 sq km)

Intermediate
(15 sq km)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

 

 


      10.7               Visual Impact Assessment

   10.7.1               Visual Mitigation Measures

 10.7.1.1            The proposed visual mitigation measures for impacts caused during the (Pre-) Construction and Operational Phases are described previously in Tables 10.2 and 10.3, together with the associated funding, implementation, management and maintenance agencies, and the proposed implementation programme.  The mitigation measures are illustrated in Figure 10.21 and 10.22.

   10.7.2               Prediction of Significance of Visual Impacts

 10.7.2.1            An assessment of the potential significance of the visual impacts for the 3MW layout during the (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases, is briefly described below, and listed in detail in Table 10.5.  This follows the methodology outlined above and assumes that the appropriate mitigation measures identified in Tables 10.2 and 10.3 will be implemented.  Since there are no soft landscape mitigation measures in this project, the assessed impacts at Day 1 and Year 10 are the same.  Photomontages of the proposed development before and after mitigation are illustrated in Figures 10.9a, 10.9b, 10.10a, 10.10b, 10,11a, 10.11b, 10.12a, 10.12b, 10.13a, 10.13b, 10.14a, 10.14b, 10.15a, 10.15b, 10.16a, 10.16b, 10.17a, 10.17b, 10.18a, 10.18b, 10.19a, 10.19b, 10.20a, 10.20b.

(Pre) Construction Phase

 10.7.2.2            Residual visual impacts in the (Pre) Construction Phase are tabulated in Table 10.5 and mapped in Figure 10.27.  The assessment assumes that pre-construction and construction works will last for about 1 - 3 years. Visual impacts during this stage will be slightly lower for the 5MW layout, due to 40% less vessel movements and a reduced construction period. However, this small difference does not affect the level of significance of the residual impacts.

VSRs within 5km of Wind Farm

 10.7.2.3            There are only three VSRs (R21, R23 and O6) within 5km of the wind farm.  They will experience Pre-construction Phase works (i.e. the construction and operation of the Research Mast) as a new vertical man-made feature in an otherwise horizontal and natural marine landscape.  Although of limited scale, the fairly functional design of the Research Mast is likely to contrast with the clear horizontal qualities of the landscape to the VSRs who see it.  However, the structure will not be a wholly exceptional or unusual feature given the presence of buoys, lighthouses, etc in the waters around the HKSAR.

 10.7.2.4            VSRs R21, R23 and O6 will see Construction Phase works on the turbines themselves at relatively close distances, as a series of incomplete man-made features jutting out of the sea.  These may include the lower parts of turbine masts, partly complete masts as well as the presence of groups of construction vessels, cranes and barges.  Whilst single transitory vessels are found in these waters, groupings of static vessels are not common and they may appear somewhat incongruous (particularly at night when vessels and structures are lit by navigation lights, which are uncommon in large numbers in this area). In particular, at close distances, the incomplete and unresolved visual character of the partly complete structures will be very evident, contrasting with the simple, natural, visual uniformity of the marine landscape. 

 10.7.2.5            The magnitude of change in views of VSR group R23 is considered large, and their sensitivity is high. However, the number of these VSRs is relatively few and they will only be present within close proximity to the Wind Farm for relatively short periods.  After the implementation of the (Pre) Construction Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSR R23 during the (Pre) Construction Phase is Substantial (see Figure 10.27).

 10.7.2.6            The magnitude of change in views of VSR R21 is considered large, and their sensitivity is high. However, because the number of these VSRs is very few, because their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for very short periods only and because the Construction Phase will is approximately only two years, it is considered that after the implementation of the (Pre) Construction Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSR R21 during the (Pre) Construction Phase is Moderate (see Figure 10.27).   

 10.7.2.7            For similar reasons, and due to the low sensitivity of VSR O6, the overall significance of residual impacts upon VSR 06 will be Insubstantial.

VSRs between 5km and 10km from Wind Farm

 10.7.2.8            There are a large number of VSRs located between 5km and 10km from the Wind Farm (R2; R3; R5; R9; R13; R14; R15; R16; R19; R24; T5; T6; O4; D3; D4).  However, the magnitude of change in view (before mitigation) experienced by these VSRs in the (Pre) Construction Phase will vary from Large to Intermediate, based on their varying distance from the Wind Farm and the varying number of turbines they can see due to the extent to which their view is blocked by intervening land forms.

 10.7.2.9            During the Pre-construction Phase works they will experience the construction and operation of the Research Mast as a distant new vertical man-made feature in an otherwise horizontal and natural marine landscape.  At these distances, the fairly functional design of the mast is unlikely to be very visible and so there is unlikely to be a large contrast with the clear linear, horizontal visual qualities that are experienced by closer VSRs.  At these distances, the verticality of the mast against the largely horizontal qualities of the seascape will be less evident.  The structure will not appear to be a wholly exceptional or unusual visual marine feature, given the presence of buoys, lighthouses, etc in the waters around Hong Kong.  Impacts will be experienced only for 1-3 years.

10.7.2.10            The Construction Phase works on the turbines themselves will be seen by of the same VSRs at quite large distances.  They will appear as a series of incomplete man-made features jutting out of the sea.  These features may include the lower parts of turbine masts, partly complete masts as well as the presence of groups of construction vessels, cranes and barges.  Whilst single transitory vessels are found in these waters, groupings of static vessels are not common and they may appear somewhat incongruous (particularly at night when vessels and structures are lit by navigation lights which are uncommon in large numbers in this area).  However, at these quite large distances, the incomplete and unresolved visual character of the partly complete structures will be less evident, and therefore will provide less contrast with the simple, natural, visual uniformity of the marine landscape, than for closer VSRs.  In particular, the verticality of the structures will be more evident to VSRs at sea level (e.g. R2; R13; R16; R19; R24; T5; T6; O4) than for those on higher areas of land (e.g. R14; R15)  but even so, at such quite large distances there is likely to be little visible difference. 

10.7.2.11            Allowing for the effects of distance, the partial blocking by intervening landforms, the fact that the works will last for only about 1 - 3 years, and the fact that many of the identified VSRs who are identified as having high sensitivity are actually few or very few in number, and will have only short term views of the Wind Farm, it is assessed that after the implementation of the (Pre) Construction Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the adverse residual visual impacts will range from Substantial to Insubstantial significance, as described below (see Figure 10.27).

10.7.2.12            Adverse residual impacts of Substantial significance will be experienced by VSR R24, visitors to the proposed Geological Park.  They are of high sensitivity and if they move to within 5km of the Wind farm, they will experience a large magnitude of change in view. However because the number of these VSRs is relatively few and their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for relatively short periods only, the overall significance, after mitigation, of the residual impacts upon these VSRs during the (Pre) Construction Phase is Substantial (see Figure 10.27).  

10.7.2.13            Adverse residual impacts of Moderate significance will be experienced by VSRs R2 and R19.  These are the recreational boats users to the west (R2) and north (R19) of the Wind Farm, and visitors to the proposed Geological Park (R24).  They are of high sensitivity and if they move to within 5km of the Wind farm, will experience a large magnitude of change in view.  However, they are very few in number, their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for very short periods only, and consequently the overall significance, after mitigation, of the residual impacts upon these VSRs during the (Pre) Construction Phase is Moderate (see Figure 10.27).  

10.7.2.14            Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will be experienced by VSRs D3 (Residents in Long Ke Wan Training Centre) and D4 (Residents in Pak Lap) who, although they are both of High sensitivity, and will be subject to Intermediate magnitudes of change to their view, are nevertheless both very few in number, which reduces the residual impact significance after mitigation to Slight.

Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will also be experienced by the following VSRs who have either High or Medium sensitivity, experience Intermediate or Small magnitude of change and are all few in number:

·                 Users of Clearwater Bay Country Club (R3);

·                 Users of Clear Water Bay Country Park (East) (R5);

·                 Recreational Boat Users in Rocky Harbour (>5km and <10km) (R9);

·                 Users of Long Ke Wan Bay and Beach (R13);

·                 Users of Sai Kung Man Yee Road (R14);

·                 Hikers on Sai Wan Shan Peninsula (R15);

·                 Users of Pak Lap Wan Bay and Beach (R16);

·                 Users of Kaidos in Port Shelter (T4);

·                 Users of Kaidos in Rocky Harbour (T5);

·                 Users of Kaidos north of Project (T6)

 

10.7.2.15            The following VSRs, who have low sensitivity, are very few in number, and will only experience the views for short periods, will experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance:

·                 Workers on Vessels <5km and >10km of Project (O4)

 

VSRs Between 10km and 15km from Wind Farm

10.7.2.16            There are a large number of VSRs located between 10km and 15km from the Wind Farm (R1; R4; R6; R7; R8; R10; R11; R12; R17; R18; R20; R22; T1; T2; T3; T4; O1; O2; O3; O5; D1; D2; D5), and the magnitude of change in view (before mitigation) experienced by these VSRs in the (Pre) Construction Phase will vary from Intermediate to Negligible, based on their varying distance from the Wind Farm and the varying number of turbines they can see due to the extent to which their view is blocked by intervening land forms.

10.7.2.17            Given the effects of distance and the panoramic qualities of many views, VSRs between 10km and 15km from the wind farm will scarcely notice (and will find it very difficult to distinguish) Pre-construction works (i.e. the construction and operation of the Research Mast) in their wider views.  At these distances, the fairly functional design of the mast is unlikely to be noticeable and there will be no readily evident contrast with the clear linear visual qualities that are experienced by closer VSRs, the mast appearing as an ill-defined maritime feature in the far distance.  At these distances, the verticality of the mast against the largely horizontal qualities of the seascape will not be evident. 

10.7.2.18            The Construction works on the turbines themselves will be seen by the same VSRs at great distances.   The effects of distance and the panoramic nature of the views available will mean that whilst construction works (the lower parts of turbine masts or partly complete masts as well as the presence of groups of construction vessels, cranes and barges) may be visible, they will not be prominent in views.  At these great distances, groupings of static vessels (even with night-time navigation lights) will not appear prominent in the marine landscape.  Nor will the incomplete and unresolved visual character of the partly complete structures be very evident, and therefore will provide little contrast with the panoramic views which include both coastal and marine landscape.  In many cases, turbines will be partially hidden by intervening landmasses or islands.  In particular, the verticality of the structures will not be evident, but rather at these distances, it will be the horizontality of the array of features that will be more pronounced (corresponding to the horizontality of the marine landscape).

10.7.2.19            Allowing for the effects of distance, the partial blocking by intervening landforms, the fact that the works will last for only about 1 - 3 years, and the fact that many of the identified VSRs who are identified as having high sensitivity are actually few or very few in number, and will have only short term views of the Wind Farm, it is assessed that after the implementation of the (Pre) Construction Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the adverse residual visual impacts will range from Moderate to Insubstantial significance, as described below (see Figure 10.27).

Adverse residual impacts of overall Moderate significance will be experienced by Residents in Silverstrand and Bella Vista (D2).  Although they will experience a similar Intermediate magnitude of change in view as other nearby VSRs, they possess High sensitivity to change and are many in number, which raises the significance threshold when compared with other adjacent VSRs who are of few or very few numbers. 

 

Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will be experienced by the following VSRs who have High sensitivity, and will experience Intermediate or Small magnitudes of change, but who are either few or very few in number, and will mainly experience the views for relatively short transitory periods:

·                 Visitors / Hikers on Tung Lung Chau (R1);

·                 Hikers on High Junk Peak Trail (R4);

·                 Users of Little Palm Beach (R6);

·                 Users of Silverstrand Beach (R7);

·                 Recreational Boat Users in Port Shelter (>10km and <15km) (R8);

·                 Users of Kau Sai Chau Golf Course (R10);

·                 Users of Sai Kung East Country Park (R12);

·                 Users of Tai Long Wan Bay and Beach (R17);

·                 Hikers on Sharp Peak Foothills (R18);

·                 Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>10km and <15km) (R20);

·                 Users of Clearwater Bay First and Second Beaches (R22).

·                 Residents in Sheung Yeung, Pan Long Wan, Ng Fai Tin (D1);

 

10.7.2.20            Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will also be experienced by the following travelling VSRs who have Medium sensitivity, and of whom there are many (or few on the case of T4) but who will experience small magnitude of change in glimpsed and partial views over short time frames:

·                 Motorists on Clear Water Bay Road (T2);

·                 Motorists on Tai Mong Tsai Road (T3);

·                 Users of Kaidos in Port Shelter (T4).

 

The following VSRs, who have low sensitivity, are very few in number, and will only experience the views for short periods, will experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance:

·                 Users of HK Sea Cadet Corps Nautical Centre (R11);

·                 Travellers on Tung Lung Chau Ferry (T1);

·                 Workers on Vessels in Tathong Channel (O1);

·                 Workers in TVB City (O2);

·                 Students at HKU of Science & Technology (O3); and

·                 Workers on Vessels >10km of Project (O5).

 

Residents in Tai Wan (D5) will also experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance because although they have high sensitivity they are nevertheless very few in number and the magnitude of change in view that they will experience is (very) small.

 

Operational Phase

10.7.2.21            Residual visual impacts for the 3MW layout in the Operational Phase are mapped in Figure 10.28.  Impacts would be very slightly, but not significantly, reduced due to the somewhat less dense appearance of the more widely-spaced turbines. The following should be noted with regard to the assessment of Operational Phase visual impacts. 

·                 All effective mitigation measures will be in place at Day 1 of Operation, and so visual impacts at Day 1 and Year 10 will be the same. 

·                 In assessing Operational Phase impacts, consideration was made of the fact that the operational life of the wind farm will be only 20-25 years, and all visual impacts are wholly reversible upon the decommissioning and dismantling of the project.

 

VSRs within 5km of Wind Farm

10.7.2.22            There are only three VSRs (R21, R23 and O6) within 5km of the wind farm.   They will be fully able to grasp and appreciate the scale, form, details of the turbines. The verticality of the turbines will be very obvious and will contrast with the overwhelmingly horizontal characteristics of the marine landscape.   In particular, the artificial character and colour markings on the mast and blade tips of the turbines will be very evident and will provide a contrast with the natural characteristics of views of the marine landscape. 

10.7.2.23            Most navigation lights will generally be visible up to 4km away, with 6 of them visible at up to 10km distance.  These features will represent a significant new source of artificial lighting in a marine landscape where night-time lighting is restricted to transitory lights on vessels.  Though man-made marine features (including ones with navigation lighting), such as buoys and light houses, are reasonably common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, features of this scale and lights in these numbers are not. Set against this, is the fact that most VSRs, including R21, R23 and O6 are not active at night and so will be unaffected by the effects of lights.

10.7.2.24            According to Clarke (N/K) VSRs within 900m west of the turbines of the turbines in the morning might be subject to ‘shadow flicker’, the effect of turbine rotors passing across the sun.  However, the occurrence of this effect relies on a precise combination of factors, including VSR location, wind direction, time of day and year and weather conditions.  Given the low chances of these factors all coinciding, as well as the very limited numbers of VSRs who are likely to find themselves within 900m west of the wind farm early in the morning, it is not considered that shadow flicker impacts will be significant.

10.7.2.25            The turbines, spaced in an array 450m or 630m apart will be visually permeable, allowing views through them to open sea (see Figures 10.8a and 10.8b).   The simple repetition of the turbines in a clear grid will provide a simple coherence that will respond in a sense to the simplicity and uniformity of the natural marine landscape.

10.7.2.26            The turbines are clean, simple and elegant structures with a form intimately related to their function.  To this extent there is a certain aesthetic pleasure that can be derived from the elegant, slender form of a turbine, and in close view they will be a striking, harmonious landscape element maintaining a complementary landscape relationship with the surrounding landscape in terms of their scale and relative simplicity of form (see Figures 10.16a and 10.16b).

10.7.2.27            In close views, the movement of the turbines will be readily visible in a landscape where movement is at the moment limited to the movement of ships.  However, the direct functional relationship between turbines and their location in the marine environment will be implicitly understood by VSRs (i.e. in an exposed offshore location specifically to utilise the available wind resource).  This is not the case where, for example, a residential development is proposed to be located in an area of Country Park where the necessary functional relationship does not apply (the development may provide good views for occupants; but bad views for recreational users in the Country Park).  At the same time, in terms of perceptual psychology, it is possible that the wind farm will evoke a positive connotation with sustainability and clean energy in the minds of VSRs and this will enhance their visual acceptability.

10.7.2.28            The magnitude of change in views of VSR R23 is considered large, and their sensitivity is high. However because the number of these VSRs is relatively few and their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for relatively short periods only, and because of the other visual perception factors described above, it is considered that after the implementation of the Operation Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSR R23 during the Operation Phase is Moderate (see Figure 10.28).

10.7.2.29            Although the magnitude of change in views of VSR R21 is considered large, and their sensitivity is high, because the number of these VSRs is presently very few, because their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for very short periods only, and because of the other visual perception factors described above, it is considered that after the implementation of the Operation Phase mitigation measures described in section 10.6.3, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSR R21 during the Operation Phase is Slight (see Figure 10.28).   

10.7.2.30            For similar reasons, and due to the low sensitivity of VSR O6, the overall significance of residual impacts upon VSR 06 will be Insubstantial.

VSRs Between 5km and 10km from Wind Farm

10.7.2.31            There are a large number of VSRs located between 5km and 10km from the Wind Farm (R2; R3; R5; R9; R13; R14; R15; R16; R19; R24; T5; T6; O4; D3; D4).  However, as in the (Pre) Construction Phase, the magnitude of change in view (before mitigation) experienced by these VSRs in the Operation Phase will vary from Large to Intermediate, based on their varying distance from the Wind Farm and the varying number of turbines they can see due to the extent to which their view is blocked by intervening land forms.

10.7.2.32            To VSRs viewing the wind farm at distances between 5km and 10km, the turbines will appear as artificial features, offering a contrast to the largely natural qualities of the coastal and offshore landscapes.  At these distances, the turbines will however, tend to appear more like abstract forms than in closer views and therefore this contrast will be less than in those closer views.  Colour markings will also be less evident than in closer views.

10.7.2.33            The effects of night lighting on these VSRs will be fairly complex.  The designed intensity of navigation lights is such that in almost all cases, they will not be visible at distances of over 4km, and therefore not visible to VSRs over 5km from the Wind Farm.  However, 6 of the lights will be visible at distances of up to 10km.  These features will represent a new source of artificial lighting in a marine landscape where night-time lighting is restricted to transitory lights on a small number of vessels passing through these waters.  Though man-made marine features (including ones with navigation lighting), such as buoys and light houses, are reasonably common throughout Hong Kong’s coastal waters, static lights grouped in this way are not.  They will therefore appear somewhat unusual in this landscape.  Set against this, is the fact that lights will not be visible for more than 12 hours each day and the fact that most VSRs are not active at night.  This will mean that in the VSR groups within 5-10km of the project, the numbers of VSRs affected by night lighting is likely to be very small indeed.

10.7.2.34            The large scale of the turbine structures will tend to be less evident than in closer views and the absence of human scale features close by, means that their precise scale will not be very apparent (Figures 10.9a and 10.9b). 

10.7.2.35            In these views, the horizontality of the wind farm layout, as opposed to the verticality of the turbine structures will tend to be appreciated.  In this sense, the turbines will tend to correspond to the overwhelmingly horizontal characteristics of the marine landscape.  In many views, turbines will be seen along the skyline either behind or next to islands and other land masses, features of a similar scale, which will tend to provide an appropriate scalar setting for them (Figures 10.17a and 10.17b).

10.7.2.36            At greater distances, the array of turbines, though apparently smaller, will also appear somewhat less permeable than in closer views (Figures 10.15a and 10.15b).  However, the regularity of the array may be more obvious in some of these views (particularly from elevated locations).   As noted above, the simple repetition of a single feature will tend to complement and reinforce the simplicity and uniformity of the marine landscape (Figures 10.18a and 10.18b).

10.7.2.37            In cloudy or hazy conditions, the off-white colour treatment of the turbines will mean that they tend to disappear or fade from view against white or grey skies, whilst in other lighting conditions, their white colour will correspond to natural cloud colours, against which they will frequently be seen.

10.7.2.38            In these more distant views, the simple, elegant, slender geometry of the turbines will be clearly visible and they will tend to create a dramatic and complementary element in views of the natural landscape.  The turbines will be perceived to interface in a very subtle way with the landscape, appearing to ‘float’ on the sea, rather than resulting in dramatic changes to the physical texture and structure of the landscape.

10.7.2.39            The effects of motion will be less obvious at these distances (although as noted above, this should not prove to be objectionable given the direct functional relationship of the turbines with their exposed offshore location).

10.7.2.40            Taking into account the range of factors noted above and their effect on the views of VSRs, the following visual impacts will be experienced by VSRs (Figure 10.28):

10.7.2.41            Adverse residual impacts of Moderate significance will be experienced by VSR R24.  These are visitors to the proposed Geological Park.  They are of high sensitivity and if they move to within 5km of the Wind farm, will experience a large magnitude of change in view.  However, as they are relatively few in number, their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for relatively short periods only, and consequently, after mitigation and taking into account the visual perceptions described above, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSR R24 during the Operation Phase is Moderate (see Figure 10.28).

10.7.2.42            Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will be experienced by VSRs R2, R19 and R24.  These are the recreational boats users to the west (R2) and north (R19) of the Wind Farm.  They are of high sensitivity and if they move to within 5km of the Wind farm, will experience a Large magnitude of change in view.  However, they are very few in number, their presence within close proximity to the Wind Farm will be for very short periods only, and consequently, after mitigation and taking into account the visual perceptions described above, the overall significance of the residual impacts upon VSRs R2 and R19 during the Operation Phase is Slight (see Figure 10.28).

10.7.2.43            Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will be experienced by VSRs D3 (Residents in Long Ke Wan Training Centre) and D4 (Residents in Pak Lap) who, although they are both of High sensitivity, and will be subject to Intermediate magnitudes of change to their view, are nevertheless both very few in number, which reduces the residual impact significance after mitigation to Slight.

Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will also be experienced by the following VSRs who have either High or Medium sensitivity, experience Intermediate or Small magnitude of change, but are all few in number:

·                 Users of Clearwater Bay Country Club (R3);

·                 Users of Clear Water Bay Country Park (East) (R5);

·                 Recreational Boat Users in Rocky Harbour (>5km and <10km) (R9);

·                 Users of Long Ke Wan Bay and Beach (R13);

·                 Users of Sai Kung Man Yee Road (R14);

·                 Hikers on Sai Wan Shan Peninsula (R15);

·                 Users of Pak Lap Wan Bay and Beach (R16);

·                 Users of Kaidos in Rocky Harbour (T5);

·                 Users of Kaidos north of Project (T6)

 

10.7.2.44            The following VSRs, who have low sensitivity, are very few in number, and will only experience the views for short periods, will experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance:

·                 Workers on Vessels <5km and >10km of Project (O4)

 

VSRs Between 10km and 15km from Wind Farm

10.7.2.45            There are a large number of VSRs located between 10km and 15km from the Wind Farm (R1; R4; R6; R7; R8; R10; R11; R12; R17; R18; R20; R22; T1; T2; T3; T4; O1; O2; O3; O5; D1; D2; D5), and the magnitude of change in view (before mitigation) experienced by these VSRs in the Operation Phase will vary from Intermediate to Negligible, based on their varying distance from the Wind Farm and the varying number of turbines they can see due to the extent to which their view is blocked by intervening land forms.

10.7.2.46            To VSRs viewing the wind farm at distances between 10km and 15km, the turbines will appear as small, indistinct, pin-like elements and will be less readily recognisable as human or man-made structures than in closer views (Figures 10.14a and 10.14b).  Colour markings and low-intensity navigation lights will not be visible at these distances and so the turbines will tend to appear less like new artificial features in the landscape.  For this reason, their contrast with the natural characteristics of the surrounding natural landscape will be less than in closer views.

10.7.2.47            The scale of the turbine structures will not be readily evident due to the absence of human scale features in close proximity to them in these views (Figures 10.13a and 10.13b). 

10.7.2.48            In these distant views, VSRs will tend to experience the horizontality of the wind farm array, as opposed to the verticality of the turbine structures (Figures 10.12a and 10.12b).  In this sense, the turbines will tend to correspond to the overwhelmingly horizontal characteristics of the marine landscape.  In many views, turbines will be seen as part of much wider panoramas of coastal landscape and their significance will therefore diminish in the wider setting.  They will typically be seen along the skyline either behind or next to islands and other land masses features which are of a similar scale and will thus tend to provide an appropriate scalar setting for the turbines. 

10.7.2.49            At these very great distances, the array of turbines, though apparently smaller, will also appear less permeable than in closer views.  However, the regularity of the array may be more obvious in some of these views (particularly from elevated locations, Figure 10.19a and 10.19b) and, as noted above, the simple repetition of a single feature will tend to complement and reinforce the simple uniformity of the marine landscape.

10.7.2.50            At these very great distances, the effects of humidity and haze mean that for many days each year, turbine visibility will be low against white or grey skies, while in clearer air conditions their off-white colour will complement the colours of sea and sky  (Figures 10.20a and 10.20b).

10.7.2.51            The effects of motion will not be obvious at these distances, and should offer no significant contrast with the overwhelmingly static qualities of the coastal and offshore landscape.

10.7.2.52            In these more distant views, to the extent that they are visible at all, the turbines will be perceived to subtly interface with the seascape, appearing to ‘float’ on the sea, and will not result in any dramatic change to the physical texture and structure of the landscape.

10.7.2.53            Taking into account the range of factors noted above and their effect on the views of VSRs, the following visual impacts will be experienced by VSRs (Figure 10.28).

Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will be experienced by the following VSRs who have High sensitivity, and will experience Intermediate or Small magnitudes of change, but who are either few or very few in number (except for D2 of which there are many) and mainly experience the views for relatively short transitory periods (except D1 and D2):

·                 Visitors / Hikers on Tung Lung Chau (R1);

·                 Hikers on High Junk Peak Trail (R4);

·                 Users of Little Palm Beach (R6);

·                 Users of Silverstrand Beach (R7);

·                 Recreational Boat Users in Port Shelter (>10km and <15km) (R8);

·                 Users of Kau Sai Chau Golf Course (R10);

·                 Users of Sai Kung East Country Park (R12);

·                 Users of Tai Long Wan Bay and Beach (R17);

·                 Hikers on Sharp Peak Foothills (R18);

·                 Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>10km and <15km) (R20);

·                 Users of Clearwater Bay First and Second Beaches (R22).

·                 Residents in Sheung Yeung, Pan Long Wan, Ng Fai Tin (D1);

·                 Residents in Silverstrand and Bella Vista (D2).

 

10.7.2.54            Adverse residual impacts of Slight significance will also be experienced by the following travelling VSRs who have Medium sensitivity, and of whom there are many (or few on the case of T4) but who will experience small magnitude of change in glimpsed and partial views over short time frames:

·                 Motorists on Clear Water Bay Road (T2);

·                 Motorists on Tai Mong Tsai Road (T3);

·                 Users of Kaidos in Port Shelter (T4).

 

The following VSRs, who have low sensitivity, are very few in number, and will only experience the views for short periods, will experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance:

·                 Users of HK Sea Cadet Corps Nautical Centre (R11);

·                 Travellers on Tung Lung Chau Ferry (T1);

·                 Workers on Vessels in Tathong Channel (O1);

·                 Workers in TVB City (O2);

·                 Students at HKU of Science & Technology (O3); and

·                 Workers on Vessels >10km of Project (O5).

 

10.7.2.55            Residents in Tai Wan (D5) will also experience residual visual impacts of Insubstantial significance because although they have high sensitivity they are nevertheless very few in number and the magnitude of change in view that they will experience is (very) small.


Table 10.5        Significance of Visual Impacts in the (Pre) Construction and Operational Phases (Note: All impacts negative unless otherwise noted)

VSR Type & ID.

Key Visually Sensitive Receiver (VSR)

Degree of Visibility of Source(s) of Visual Impact  (Full, Partial, Glimpse)  & Range of Distance Between VSR & Nearest Source(s) of Impact (& No of Turbines Visible)

Magnitude of Impact (Change) before Mitigation

(Negligible, Small, Intermediate, Large)

Receptor Sensitivity & Number                      

(Low, Medium, High)   (Very Few, Few, Many, Very Many)

Impact Significance BEFORE Mitigation

(Insubstantial, Slight, Moderate, Substantial)

Mitigation Measures

Residual Impact Significance AFTER Mitigation

(Insubstantial, Slight, Moderate, Substantial)

 

 

(Pre) Construction

Operation

 

 

 

(Pre) Construction

Operation

(Pre) Construction

Operation

(Pre) Construction

Operation

(Pre) Construction

Operation

 

 

DAY 1

YEAR 10

 

  VSRs located within 5km of Wind Farm

 

R21

Recreational Boat Users <5km from the Project

Full

0-5km

(67)

Full

0-5km

(67)

Large

Large

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Moderate

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Moderate

Slight

Slight

 

R23

Visitors to Proposed Geological Park <5km from the Project

Full

0-5km

(67)

Full

0-5km

(67)

Large

Large

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Substantial

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Substantial

Moderate

Moderate

 

O6

Workers on Vessels <5km of Project

Full

0-5km

(67)

Full

0-5km

(67)

Large

Large

Low

(Very Few)

Low

(Very Few)

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

CM1-5

OM1-5

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

 

  VSRs located between 5km and 10km from Wind Farm

 

R2

Recreational Boat Users west of Project (>5km and <10km)

Full

5-10km

(67)

Full

5-10km

(67)

Large

Large

High

(Very Few)

 

High

(Very Few)

 

Moderate

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Moderate

Slight

Slight

 

R3

Users of Clearwater Bay Country Club

Partial-Full

9.5km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

9.5km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R5

Users of Clear Water Bay Country Park (East)

Partial-Full

9km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

9km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R9

Recreational Boat Users in Rocky Harbour (>5km and <10km)

Partial

5-10km

(1-50)

Partial

5-10km

(1-50)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R13

Users of Long Ke Wan Bay and Beach

Partial-Full

8-9.5km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

8-9.5km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R14

Users of Sai Kung Man Yee Road

Partial-Full

8.5-9.5km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

8.5-9.5km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R15

Hikers on Sai Wan Shan Peninsula

Partial-Full

7.7-11km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

7.5-11km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R16

Users of Pak Lap Wan Bay and Beach

Partial

7.5-8km

(17-50)

Partial

7.5-8km

(17-50)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R19

Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>5km and <10km)

Full

5-10km

(51-67)

Full

5-10km

(51-67)

Large

Large

High

(Very Few)

 

High

(Very Few)

 

Moderate

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Moderate

Slight

Slight

 

R24

Visitors to Proposed Geological Park >5km and <10km from Project

Full

5-10km

(51-67)

Full

5-10km

(51-67)

Large

Large

High

(Very Few)

 

High

(Very Few)

 

Substantial

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Substantial

Moderate

Moderate

 

T5

Users of Kaidos in Rocky Harbour

Partial

5-10km

(1-50)

Partial

5-10km

(1-50)

Intermediate

Intermediate

Medium

(Few)

Medium

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

T6

Users of Kaidos north of Project

Full

5-10km

(67)

Full

5-10km

(67)

Large

Large

Medium

(Few)

Medium

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

O4

Workers on Vessels <5km and >10km of Project

Full

5-10km

(67)

Full

5-10km

(67)

Large

Large

Low

(Very Few)

Low

(Very Few)

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

CM1-5

OM1-5

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

 

D3

Residents in Long Ke Wan Training Centre

Partial

9.5-10km

(1-50)

Partial

9.5-10km

(1-50)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

D4

Residents in Pak Lap

Partial

8km

(17-50)

Partial

8km

(17-50)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

  VSRs located between 10km and 15km from Wind Farm

 

R1

Visitors / Hikers on Tung Lung Chau

Partial-Full

10.5-12.5km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

10.5-12.5km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R4

Hikers on High Junk Peak Trail

Partial-Full

10.5-11km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

10.5-11km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R6

Users of Little Palm Beach

Partial-Full

11.5-12km

(17-67)

Partial-Full

11.5-12km

(17-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R7

Users of Silverstrand Beach

Partial

13.5km

(1-33)

Partial

13.5km

(1-33)

Small

Small

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R8

Recreational Boat Users in Port Shelter (>10km and <15km)

Partial-Full

10-15km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

10-15km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R10

Users of Kau Sai Chau Golf Course

Partial

11.5-13k

(17-50)

Partial

11.5-13km

(17-50)

Small

Small

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R11

Users of HK Sea Cadet Corps Nautical Centre

Partial

14km

(1-16)

Partial

14km

(1-16)

Small

Small

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

CM1-5

OM1-5

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

Insubstantial

 

R12

Users of Sai Kung East Country Park

Partial-Full

11.5-14.5km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

11.5-14.5km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R17

Users of Tai Long Wan Bay and Beach

Partial-Full

10-13.5km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

10-13.5km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R18

Hikers on Sharp Peak Foothills

Partial-Full

12.5-15km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

12.5-15km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R20

Recreational Boat Users north of Project (>10km and <15km)

Full

10-15km

(67)

Full

10-15km

(67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Very Few)

High

(Very Few)

Slight

Slight

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

R22

Users of Clearwater Bay First and Second Beaches

Partial-Full

10.5-11km

(1-67)

Partial-Full

10.5-11km

(1-67)

Intermediate

Intermediate

High

(Few)

High

(Few)

Moderate

Moderate

CM1-5

OM1-5

Slight

Slight

Slight

 

T1

Travellers on Tung Lung Chau Ferry

Partial

11.5-14.5km