Glossary of Terms


The final confirmation of a local plan by a local planning authority.


Affordable housing:

Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.


Ancient woodland:

An area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. It includes ancient semi-natural woodland and plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS).


Brownfield land:

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or was last occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill, where provision for restoration has been made through development management procedures; land in built-up areas such as residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape.


Brownfield land registers:

Registers of previously developed land that local planning authorities consider to be appropriate for residential development, having regard to criteria in the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Registers) Regulations 2017. Local planning authorities will be able to trigger a grant of permission in principle for residential development on suitable sites in their registers where they follow the required procedures.



A group of people that hold something in common. They could share a common place (e.g. individual neighbourhood) a common interest (e.g. interest in the environment) a common identity (e.g. age) or a common need (e.g. a particular service focus).


Community engagement and involvement:

Involving the local community in the decisions that are made regarding their area.


Community infrastructure levy:

Allows local authorities to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in their areas. Money can be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure such as transport schemes, schools and leisure centres.


Core strategy:

A development plan document forming part of a local authority’s local plan, which sets out a vision and core policies for the development of an area.



Legal definition is “the carrying out of building, mining, engineering or other operations in, on, under or over land, and the making of any material change in the use of buildings or other land.”


Development plan:

Is defined in section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and includes adopted local plans, neighbourhood plans that have been made and published spatial development strategies, together with any regional strategy policies that remain in force. Neighbourhood plans that have been approved at referendum are also part of the development plan, unless the local planning authority decides that the neighbourhood plan should not be made.


Environmental impact assessment:

Evaluates the likely environmental impacts of the development, together with an assessment of how these impacts could be reduced.


Flood plain:

An area prone to flooding.


Greenfield site:

Land where there has been no previous development.


Highway authority:

The body with legal responsibility for the management and maintenance of public roads. In the UK the highway authority is usually the county council or the unitary authority for a particular area, which can delegate some functions to the district council.


Independent examination:

An examination of a proposed neighbourhood plan, carried out by an independent person, set up to consider whether a neighbourhood plan meets the basic conditions required.


Judicial review:

Legal challenge of a planning decision, to consider whether it has been made in a proper and lawful manner.


Local authority:

The administrative body that governs local services such as education, planning and social services.


Local planning authority:

Local government body responsible for formulating planning policies and controlling development; a district council, metropolitan council, a county council, a unitary authority or national park authority.



Shifting power away from central government control to the local level. Making services more locally accountable, devolving more power to local communities, individuals and councils.


Material considerations:

Factors which are relevant in the making of planning decisions, such as sustainability, impact on residential amenity, design and traffic impacts.


National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

The government policy document first adopted in 2012 was updated in 2018. The NPPF introduces a presumption in favour of sustainable development. It gives five guiding principles of sustainable development: living within the planet’s means; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.


Nature Recovery Network:

An expanding, increasingly connected, network of wildlife rich habitats supporting species recovery, alongside wider benefits such as carbon capture, water quality improvements, natural flood risk management and recreation. It includes the existing network of protected sites and other wildlife rich habitats as well as and landscape or catchment scale recovery areas where there is coordinated action for species and habitats.



Neighbourhood Development Plan.


Neighbourhood area:

The local area in which a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order can be introduced.


Neighbourhood plan:

A planning document created by a parish or town council or a neighbourhood forum, which sets out the vision for the neighbourhood area, and contains policies for the development and use of land in the area. Neighbourhood plans must be subjected to an independent examination to confirm that they meet legal requirements, and then to a local referendum. If approved by a majority vote of the local community, the neighbourhood plan will then form part of the statutory development plan.


Neighbourhood planning:

A community-initiated process in which people get together through a local forum or parish or town council and produce a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order.


Planning obligation:

Planning obligation under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, secured by a local planning authority through negotiations with a developer to offset the public cost of permitting a development proposal. Sometimes developers can self-impose obligations to pre-empt objections to planning permission being granted. They cover things like highway improvements or open space provision.


Planning permission:

Formal approval granted by a council allowing a proposed development to proceed.


Planning Practice Guidance (PPG):

The government’s PPG can be read alongside the NPPF and is intended as a guidebook for planners. It is not a single document but an online resource which is kept current through regular updates.


Qualifying body:

Either a parish/town council or neighbourhood forum, which can initiate the process of neighbourhood planning. Referred to as a neighbourhood planning body throughout this guide.



A vote by which the eligible population of an electoral area may decide on a matter of public policy. Neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood permission for many minor developments and highway works they carry out.


Renewable and low carbon energy:

Includes energy for heating and cooling as well as generating electricity. Renewable energy covers those energy flows that occur naturally 71 and repeatedly in the environment: from the wind, the fall of water, the movement of the oceans, from the sun and also from biomass and deep geothermal heat. Low carbon technologies are



Areas of land which are generally not urbanised; usually with low population densities and a high proportion of land devoted to agriculture.


Scheduled ancient monument:

A nationally important archaeological site, building or structure which is protected against unauthorised change by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.



This is Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, which is undertaken by the local planning authority to identify potential development sites for housing in their area.



This is Strategic Housing Market Assessment, which is an evidence-based assessment of the housing market to establish housing need in an area. It is undertaken by the local planning authority.


Site of special scientific interest:

A protected area designated as being of special interest by virtue of its flora, fauna, geological or geomorphological features. Sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) are designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 by the official nature conservation body for the particular part of the UK in question.


Special Areas of Conservation:

Areas defined by regulation 3 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 which have been given special protection as important conservation sites.



People who have an interest in an organisation or process including residents, business owners and government.


Strategic environmental assessment:

Environmental assessment as applied to policies, plans and programmes. Has been in place since the European SEA directive (2001/42/EC).


Windfall sites:

Sites not specifically identified in the development plan.