1. Considering and Assessing Visual Effect

Similar to all forms of development, antenna systems have a visual impact on the surrounding environment. This visual effect can be attributed to two unavoidable characteristics of antenna systems:

  • (i) They are structures which generally protrude from other structures; and
  • (ii) They need to be located at suitable heights in order to operate effectively.

These characteristics mean that by necessity, antenna systems may be, and often are, highly visible in urban and rural landscapes.

2. Designing for Better Visual Effects- the Antenna Siting Design Framework (ASDF)

As the number of antenna systems has increased and Land Use Authorities must contend with their impact on the local landscape it has become increasingly evident that the key to better addressing the visual effect of antenna systems involves:

  • 1) Undertaking a detailed assessment of the landscape in which the antenna system is to be located; and
  • 2) Designing the facility to respond appropriately to this landscape setting.

The higher the level of compatibility of the antenna system design with the landscape, the less significant or intrusive the visual effect and visa versa.

The effect on visual amenity is either positively or negatively influenced by the degree of visual change that occurs as a result of development within any environment. Understanding the local environment is paramount to developing an antenna system design that is appropriate to the surround area and in turn compatible.

In response to this clear relationship between the landscape context, the design and the resulting visibility, the Antenna Siting Design Framework has been developed.

The Antenna Siting Design Framework provides a process which can assist proponents to determine “what to do where”. The Antenna Siting Design Framework documents and assesses the landscape context of a proposed antenna system and identifies a framework that can be used to design an antenna system that is responsive to its local environment.