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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
National park authority

National park authorities are responsible for the governance of national parks. They are obliged to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the park, and to improve opportunities for public access and enjoyment. The national park authority is the local planning authority for all English national parks.

National Parks

A National Park is a designation attaching to land in nine areas of England, and three in Wales. The two statutory purposes of this designation are (1) to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of their areas; and (2) to promote opportunities for the public understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of their areas. If there is a conflict between the two, conservation takes precedence (the 'Sandford' principle). In carrying out these two main responsibilities, the National Park Authority also has a duty to seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities without incurring significant expenditure.

National Policy Statement (NPS)

Under the Planning Act 2008 the Secretary of State may prepare a National Policy Statement setting out national policy on development in the fields of energy, transport, water or waste. When adopted, the relevant NPS will be the primary consideration when the Planning Inspectorate and relevant Minister are deciding applications for 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects'.

Natural resources

Key natural resources include land, energy, minerals and water.

Neighbourhood Development Orders

Neighbourhood Development Orders can be developed by communities and grant planning permission without the need to submit a planning application to the local planning authority. They have to go through a similar process to Neighbourhood Development Plans before being adopted.

Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood Plans, or Neighbourhood Development Plans, were introduced by the Localism Act 2011. The term may also be used by some to refer to Neighbourhood Development Orders, which were also introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and are a second tool to enable neighbourhood planning. Communities will be able to prepare neighbourhood planning documents, outlining how they envisage their area developing in the future.

New approach to appraisal

Government's five criteria for transport: environmental impact, safety, economy, accessibility and integration. This approach includes looking at identifying the causes of problems, investigating alternative options and assessing effects on the five criteria. It includes the Appraisal Summary Tables.


Local planning authorities are required to demonstrate "a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years; worth of housing against their requirements" (NPPF, para 47). The supply should include an additional 5% "to ensure choice and competition in the market for land" (ibid.). However in cases where a local authority has a record of persistent under delivery, local planning authorities are expected to increase the buffer to 20%.


The National Planning Practice Guidance is a web-based resource which brings together planning guidance on various topics into one place. It was launched in March 2014 and coincided with the cancelling of the majority of Government Circulars which had previously given guidance on many aspects of planning.


Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) cover a range of projects in the fields of energy, transport, water and waste above certain size thresholds. The types of projects and the thresholds are set out in Sections 14 to 30 of the Planning Act 2008. If a project falls within any of these types and thresholds, the promoter will have to apply for permission to develop by way of a 'development consent order' to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), instead of applying for planning permission by the usual route via a local planning authority.

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