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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Land use

The way land is used or developed.

Land use planning

The framework for how land is used and developed is largely provided by the town and country planning system, which aims to secure the most efficient and effective use of land in the public interest, and to ensure that facilities like roads, schools and sewers are built where they are needed.


1. Quantities of minerals known as 'permitted reserves' remaining to be worked at sites with planning permission for mineral working. They are designed to provide the industry with a level of supply of minerals that should be available in the market at any time. 2. Housebuilders' land holdings with outline or full planning permission.


The practice of disposing of domestic and commerical waste in large holes in the ground. The Government's Waste Strategy 2000 aims to reduce the amount of biodegradeable waste disposed of in landfill sites.


Using waste material to raise the height of the land above original, or previously existing, ground levels. It does not include the spreading of sewage sludge on agricultural land.


The appearance of land, including its shape, form, colours and elements, the way these components combine in a way that is distinctive to particular localities, the way they are perceived, and an area's cultural and historical associations. Landscape character can be expressed through landscape appraisal, and maps or plans

Landscape character assessment

A tool to identify and understand the factors that give character to the landscape and to help inform policy and decisions about how the landscape may change in the future.


Local enterprise partnerships are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. They carry out some of the functions previously carried out by the regional development agencies which were abolished in March 2012.

Listed building

A building or other structure of special architectural or historic interest included by the Government on a statutory list and assigned a grade (I, II* or II).

Local authority

An umbrella term for the administrative body that governs local services such as education, housing and social services. There are three main types of local authority structure in England:

1. Two- or three-tier ‘shire’ counties consist of a county council, under which sits a number of district councils, in turn under which in many cases sit parish or town councils. Local public services are divided between the tiers.
2. Unitary authorities and metropolitan boroughs are governed by one authority responsible for most major services. Many unitary authorities are two-tier authorities however, with parish and town councils in place.
3. There’s a two-tier local authority structure in London, with 32 London boroughs sitting beneath the Greater London Authority. Although it is legally possible to establish a parish council in London, at the time of writing none exist.

Local designations

Designations of land, usually for its landscape or nature conservation interest, by local authorities in development plans. Confers a level of protection less than that which applies to national statutory designations like national park but greater than that which applies to undesignated areas.

Local Development Document

A 'Local Development Document' (LDD) is a term referring to any document prepared as part of a Local Plan. LDDs include both Development Plan Documents and other documents which do not have the force of a Development Plan Document, for example a Supplementary Planning Document or Statement of Community Involvement.

Local Development Framework

A new name for the Local Plan, introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The current Government has returned to referring to Local Plans, but you may still occasionally hear these referred to as Local Development Frameworks.

Local Development Order

Local Development Orders are a power given to local authorities under Section 61 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended in 2004). These allow them to extend permitted development rights or grant permission for any development contained in the order, removing the need to apply for planning permission.

Local development scheme

This sets out the documents that will make up the Local Plan, their subject matter, the area they will cover, and the timetable for their preparation and revision. Local planning authorities must prepare and maintain the Local Development Scheme, and publish up to date information on their progress.

Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsmen investigate complaints of injustice arising from maladministration by local authorities and certain other bodies. The objective of the Ombudsmen is to secure, where appropriate, satisfactory redress for complainants and better administration for the authorities.

Local government sub-divisions

England is divided into three types of areas: non-unitary authorities, unitary authorities and London boroughs. Non-unitary authorities are administrative counties with a two-tier structure, consisting of a county council and a number of district councils. Unitary authorities are single-tier authorities, combining the functions of county and district councils. In Greater London, the London borough councils have a similar status to the unitary authorities.

Local highways authority

See highways authority.

Local inquiry

Inquiry into a local plan.

Local minerals and waste plans

See minerals and waste development framework.

Local Plan

A portfolio or folder of documents setting out the planning strategy for a local planning authority area. Since the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and until recently, this type of plan was known as a Local Development Framework. The Government now uses the simpler description ‘Local Plan’. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 replaced old-style local plans, structure plans and unitary development plans. The key difference between the pre- and post-2004 systems is that new-style local plans are really a ‘folder’ of Development Plan Documents (DPDs) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs), each addressing different issues. This is in contrast to the old-style plans which consisted of one Development Plan Document, supported by supplementary guidance.

The Local Plan identifies where future development should take place to meet local needs for homes, businesses, shops and other services, plus the infrastructure to support them. It also decides which areas should be protected from development because they are important to local people or have environmental or heritage qualities that should be conserved.

Local plan inquiry

See public inquiry and local inquiry.

Local planning authority

The local government body responsible for formulating planning policies (in a Local Plan), controlling development through determining planning applications and taking enforcement action when necessary. This is either a district council, unitary authority, metropolitan council or national park authority. County councils or unitary authorities are the local planning authorities for planning for minerals and waste issues.

Local roads

Local roads are a few motorways, all other 'A' roads and all other public roads (including 'B' and 'C' roads). These roads are the responsibility of the local highway authority.

Local Strategic Partnership

Local Strategic Partnerships are bodies with representatives of the community, public, private sector and other agencies that work to encourage greater public participation in local governance by drawing together local community plans and producing an overall community strategy for each local authority area. Local Plans must have regard to, and should be the spatial expression of, the community strategy.

Local transport plan

Plans that set out a local highways authority's policies and strategy on transport on a five-yearly basis. They are submitted to central Government, which approves and provides funding for the measures contained in the plan.

Local transport settlement

The local transport settlement takes place in December each year and confirms how much money an authority will get from Government for the next financial year. Money is allocated following an assessment of the authority's local transport plan and annual progress report.

Localism Act 2011

A major piece of new legislation, which includes wide-ranging changes to local government, housing and planning. Significantly, the Act abolishes regional planning, and introduces the possibility of Neighbourhood Plans as part of the development plan.

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