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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Visibility Mapping from CartoConsult Illustrates Proposed Quarry Extension

February 5th, 2016 by Susan Smith

CartoConsult created a “before and after” photomontage to help to secure planning permission for a quarry extension in Kent. Working with DB Landscape Consultancy (DBLC) on behalf of site owners Ferns, CartoConsult prepared the high resolution photomontage to show the potential visibility for a sensitive site of the proposed extension to the existing Wrotham Quarry.


Located within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a former Dr Who filming location, the AONB Management Unit and various other stakeholders put up fierce objections to the extension. Wrotham Quarry is a building and industrial sand operation in Kent extracting lower greensand Folkestone beds since the 1970s.

Dr Who

Dr Who

An AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area of countryside in England, Wales or Northern Ireland which has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. The proposal caused considerable concern because of the potential physical impact the quarry plus the extension and more traffic, plus visual impact, might have on the location.

Using the photomontage, DBLC was able to demonstrate that the potential visual impact of the proposed development on people walking on the slopes of the Kent Downs would not be as damaging as claimed.

According to Tim Hughes of CartoConsult, CartoConsult merged in the proposed new embankment terrain with the existing digital retain model and did some 3D modelling and material work to create the photorealistic image of how it would likely look and provide the visual impact.

DBLC was originally commissioned to design the working and restoration scheme for the proposed extension, by the former site owners Hanson Aggregates, before ownership of the quarry changed to Ferns, who successfully completed the planning application. The extension has now been approved.

DBLC was also commissioned to prepare a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), which included preparation of a Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) plan. This ZTV identified a number of key viewpoint locations from which the source imagery for CartoConsult’s photomontage was captured. Once collated and georeferenced, the photomontage, complete with detailed written commentary, was submitted within the LVIA to support the planning application.

Kent County Council has now approved an application to extract one million tonnes of silica sand and 0.9Mt of building sand over nine years from an extension to Wrotham quarry.

“Working with CartoConsult, we were able to provide easy to interpret, visual evidence to support the site owner’s plans for expansion and restoration,” commented David Brittain, Director of DBLC. “The topography of the landscape and the sensitivity of its AONB location contributed to both the importance of the project and some of the difficulties encountered during the various stages of the planning application.

“CartoConsult provided a first class service throughout, responding in a knowledgeable and timely manner to both the initial scope of work as well as feedback as the project commenced.”

CartoConsult provides geospatial services that include surveying, data capture, mapping and 3D modelling. The company uses state-of-the-art GIS and 3D technology to create reliable, cost effective and visually stunning products that significantly enhance the planning, consultation and delivery of projects.

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