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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Minerals planning authority

Council or unitary authority. They are responsible for minerals planning, including the environmental impacts of mineral extraction in their area.

Minerals planning guidance notes

Prepared by the Government as advice to minerals authorities and the minerals industry.

Minerals policy statement

Policy on the planning and supply of minerals which is produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government. These statements will progressively replace the previous minerals planning guidance notes.

Mode of transport

The method by which a person or goods travel. One mode of transport is by bus. Foot, cycle, train, tram, car, plane and boat are some other modes.


The regular and systematic collection and analysis of information to measure policy implementation. Planning authorities are required by law to produce an Annual Monitoring Report covering the monitoring of policies in the Local Plan that they are responsible for preparing.

Multi-modal studies

Studies looking at the roles of different modes of transport in a transport corridor. The aim of the studies is to compare the advantages and disadvantages of a wide range of different options for solving transport problems. These options should include traffic management, demand management, public transport alternatives and the promotion of walking and cycling.

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.

Objectively assessed housing need

Objectively assessed housing need. The Government have not provided a definition of housing need but a useful one is 'the housing that households are willing and able to buy or rent, either from their own resources or with assistance from the state’. This covers affordable housing as well as market housing. It is also worth noting that in Government guidance ’need’ is synonymous with ‘demand’.


A planning obligation is a legal agreement attached to a planning permission that requires the provision of certain services or infrastructure that will make a planning proposal that would otherwise be unacceptable, acceptable in the eyes of the planning system. There are two types of planning obligation; section 106 agreements, and Community Infrastructure Levy. Local planning authorities can use section 106 agreements to require, for example, that a certain proportion of housing on a residential development is affordable. Section 106 agreements are negotiated on a case by case basis. Community Infrastructure Levy is a fixed amount of money that must be paid by a developer when they get planning permission. The amount paid is in proportion to the size of a proposed development, and will be set out in a document published by the local planning authority called the ‘charging schedule’. This money must then be used to provide necessary infrastructure at the site; for example a new public park, school or bus shelters.

Parish or town council

Parish or town councils, where they exist, are the lowest tier of local government in England. Around 30% of England’s population is governed by a parish council, predominantly in rural areas. Some urban areas, and notably Milton Keynes, are also parished. Parish and town councils are elected bodies and have powers to raise taxes. Their responsibilities vary, but can include provision of parks and allotments, maintenance of village halls, litter control, and maintenance of local landmarks.

Permitted development rights

Rights to carry out certain limited forms of development without the need to make an application for planning permission, as granted under the terms of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Plan-led system

The 'plan-led system' is one of the fundamental principles that guides how planning works. The meaning comes from Section 54a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which states that decisions made under any of the planning acts 'shall be made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise'. This duty has been reiterated in Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, which replaces Section 54a. This means that the development plan for a given area is the most important factors to be taken into account when making a decision on a planning application.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act '04

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004) was a major piece of planning legislation, which amended much of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990). In particular, the 2004 act made significant changes to the system of development plans and introduced ‘sustainable development’ as an objective of the planning system.

Planning control

See development management.

Planning gain

The principle of a planning applicant agreeing to provide additional benefits or safeguards, often for the benefit of the community, usually in the form of related development. See also planning obligations and agreements and section 106 agreements.

Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate is an independent Government agency that processes planning and enforcement appeals and holds inquiries into local development plans. It also deals with a wide variety of other planning-related casework, including listed building consent appeals, advertisement appeals and reporting on planning applications.

Planning policy guidance note

See Government planning policy.


See Government planning policy


See Government planning policy

Previously developed land

See brownfield

Proof of evidence

The written account of the evidence a witness intends to put before the inspector at a planning appeal.

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