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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Affordable housing

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines affordable housing as social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing. It is provided to meet the needs of people who cannot afford housing through the open market. Social rents are determined nationally, affordable rents are 80% of the market rent in that area, and intermediate housing allow people to part buy their home.


Aggregates are crushed rock, sand and gravel used in the construction industry for materials such as concrete, roadstone and asphalt, or for use as constructional fill or railway ballast.


The pleasant or normally satisfactory aspects of a location which contribute to its overall character and the enjoyment of residents or visitors The Minister of Town and Country Planning in 1951 stated that 'anything ugly, dirty, noisy, crowded or uncomfortable may injure the interests of amenity'. Amenity is often a material consideration in planning decisions.

Annual progress report

Each year, most authorities need to submit an annual progress report to Government detailing how the policies in the local transport plan are being implemented and transport funding used.

Appraisal of sustainability

Under Section 6 (6) of the Planning Act 2008 the Secretary of State must carry out an 'appraisal of sustainability' of policies set out in a draft National Policy Statement, or an amendment to it, before adoption. Such an appraisal is distinct from Strategic Environmental Assessment, but the appraisal will incorporate SEA where it applies. It is also distinct from Sustainability Appraisal, which is carried out for lower level development plans.

Appraisal summary table

A table which shows the appraisal of possible transport options against the Government's criteria for transport: environmental impact, safety, economy, accessibility and integration. They are produced by the proposer of a scheme, such as the Highways Agency or Highway Authority.

Area Action Plans

A type of Development Plan Document, which focuses on areas of change or conservation. Their purpose is to deliver planned growth, stimulate regeneration, protect areas sensitive to change through conservation policies, make proposals for enhancement and resolve conflicting objectives in areas where there is significant development pressure. As Development Plan Documents, Area Action Plans form part of the development plan for the purposes of making decisions on planning applications.

Areas of change

Areas identified in a Local Plan as ones that the local authority expects to change, through, for example, development pressure or regeneration initiatives.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were brought into being by the same legislation as National Parks - the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949. They are fine landscapes, of great variety in character and extent. The primary objective of their designation is the conservation area's natural beauty, although many of them also fulfil a great recreational purpose. The Countryside Agency is responsible for designating AONBs in England and advising Government on policies for their protection. There are 36 in all, covering about 15% of England.

Article 4 direction

A direction under Article 4 of the The Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 that allows the Secretary of State or Local Planning Authority to require a planning application for development that would normally not need one because it would be covered by permitted development rights. Local planning authorities no longer need the approval of the Secretary of State to make an article 4 direction.


See local authority, local planning authority, local waste authority, unitary authorities.

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