About Dr Andrew Lothian

Andrew at glacierPS
Andrew Lothian at the Five Glaciers, Banff National Park, Canada in 2009

Dip Tech (Town Planning), MSc (Environmental Resources), PhD, FEIANZ

Since 2003, Dr Andrew Lothian has become Australia’s leading practitioner in landscape quality assessment – the art and science of measuring and mapping scenic quality based on community preferences. He has undertaken a range of studies at the State, regional and micro levels.


Projects completed include:

  • Measuring and mapping landscape quality of South Australia, 2000;
  • Assessing the visual impact of wind farms in coastal and inland locations, 2004;
  • Assessing the scenic amenity value of large remnant trees in agricultural land, 2004;
  • Measuring and mapping the landscape quality of the South Australian coast (4800 km),2005;
  • Assessing the visual impact of coastal developments including housing, marinas and aquaculture, 2005;
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Barossa region, 2005;
  • Advising a power authority about the scenic quality impact of wind farms in a range of localities across South Australia, 2006;
  • Advising wind farm companies about the scenic quality impact of wind farms at Myponga-Sellicks and Yankalilla, 2006;
  • Assessing the scenic quality and landscape characteristics of part of the City of Victor Harbor and advising planning policy, 2006;
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the River Murray, Lakes and Coorong, 2007;
  • Assessing community perceptions of developments on the River Murray, 2007;
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, 2009;
  • Visual impact assessment of Adelaide Interconnection Water System Works, 2010
  • Clare Region landscape quality and potential visual impact of wind farms, 2010
  • Crystal Brook region landscape quality assessment, 2012
  • Generic landscape survey, 2013;
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Lake District National Park (UK), 2013;
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Mt Lofty Ranges, 2015;
  • World’s best landscapes project, 2016;
  • Published The Science of Scenery book, 2017.
  • Assessing the visual impact and acceptability of wind farms in SA, Victoria and NSW, 2018.
  • Assessing the visual impact and acceptability of wind farms in England, Wales and Scotland, 2019.

Details of each of these are available here.

In 2002 he established Environmental Policy Solutions, a consultancy providing services in environmental policy. In 2005 he established Scenic Solutions, a consultancy in measuring and mapping scenic quality and visual impact assessment. 

In April, 2006, the Planning Institute of Australia awarded Dr. Lothian its National Award for Planning Excellence in the category of Environmental Planning or Conservation for his report: Coastal Viewscapes of South Australia.

This followed the award of the 2005 State Award for Planning Excellence in November, 2005 by the South Australian Division of PIA for the same report.


In the Environmental Planning or Conservation Category

Awarded to Dr. Andrew Lothian at the Planning Institute of Australia Conference, held on the Gold Coast, Queensland on 3 April 2006 for the project: Coastal Viewscapes of South Australia.
Award Citation

This is a high quality project with a comprehensive approach to the investigation of urban pressures on the South Australian coastline.

Measuring and mapping scenic quality established a comprehensive and innovative methodology. This thorough and well researched study lead to significant planning recommendations.

The PIA President, Sue Halliday, said of the Awards:

Not only do these awards provide leading examples of planning practice, they also demonstrate what can be achieved through innovative and creative thinking, collaboration, and commitment to a vision of vibrant and sustainable communities.

Earlier professional involvement

Until late 2002, Dr. Lothian worked at a senior level in the South Australian Department for the Environment for several decades.

Areas in which he contributed included:

  • Sustainability initiatives and environmental policy development at both the State and National levels;
  • Greenhouse policy in South Australia and contributed to National policy;
  • South Australia’s first State of Environment report and contributed to subsequent reports;
  • Preparation of the first Environmental Resources Study of the Murray-Darling Basin covering three States of Australia;
  • Advanced environmental valuation studies and the development of the environmental industry in South Australia;
  • Preparation of site contamination legislation;
  • Preparation of zero waste policy;
  • Development of legislation for housing energy rating.

He has also played a significant role in improving the aesthetics of Adelaide and rural towns through advising on the undergrounding of powerlines and associated streetscaping through his long involvement on the Government’s Powerline Environment Committee (PLEC).

Originally trained in Town Planning, in 1973 he graduated in the UK with a MSc (Environmental Resources), and in 2001, graduated with a PhD for the dissertation, Landscape Quality Assessment of South Australia.

He has presented papers at many conferences and seminars, including overseas in Korea, England, New Zealand and the United States. He has published on a wide range of subjects including:

  • Sustainability
  • Environmental valuation
  • Environmental industries
  • Community environmental attitudes
  • Landscape aesthetics
  • Visual impacts of wind farms
  • Understanding greenhouse and ozone
  • Greening of business
  • Rural environmental issues
  • Wetlands conservation
  • Natural resources management
  • Natural hazards management
  • Environmental impact assessment

Dr. Lothian has served as an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Geography, Population and Environmental Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide and a Visiting Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences in the University of Adelaide. He has also taught carbon accounting at a TAFE college.

From 2003 to 2014, Dr. Lothian served as a Sessional Commissioner of the Environment, Resources and Development Court in South Australia.

He is a past President and Secretary of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (South Australian Division). He  has also served as a Councillor on local government.