A-C

Aged or Veteran Tree – A tree which, because of its great age, size or condition is of exceptional value for wildlife, in the landscape, or culturally.

Air Quality Management Areas – Areas designated by local authorities because they are not likely to achieve national air quality objectives by the relevant deadlines.

Ancient Woodland – An area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. Listed as a Habitat of Principle Importance in the England Biodiversity List published by the Secretary of State under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. There are two types of ancient woodland; Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) and Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS). Both receive the same level of protection under the planning system.

Appropriate Assessment (AA) – An assessment carried out by the local planning authority to determine what impact a plan or project will have on a Natura (European) site. AA’s are required under the Habitats Regulations.

Archaeological Interest – An asset that holds, or potentially may hold, evidence of past human activity worthy of expert investigation at some point. Heritage assets with archaeological interest are the primary source of evidence about the substance and evolution of places, and of the people and cultures that made them.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – Area of high scenic quality that has statutory protection in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape.

Article 4 Direction – A direction which withdraws automatic planning permission granted by the General Permitted Development Order.

Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE) – The professional body that represents professional ecologists working in local government providing them with advice and promoting good principles and practice of nature conservation.



Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land – Land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification.

Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) – The outcome of a decision making procedure which emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water. It should be the option that most benefits or least damages the environment. Often considered when undertaking a Strategic Environment Assessment.

Biodiversity and Geological Conservation: Circular 06/2005 – Provides administrative guidance on the application of the law relating to planning and nature conservation in England.

Biodiversity 2020: a strategy for England’s Wildlife and Ecosystem Services – Sets out the government’s strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the next decade on land (including rivers and lakes) and at sea and follows on from policies contained in the Natural Environment White Paper.

Biosphere Reserve – Nominated by national governments and designated under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. They seek to contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and species, foster economic and human development and provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange.

Birds and Habitats Directives – European Directives to conserve natural habitats and wild fauna and flora.

Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) – Can be served where a condition imposed on a planning permission has not been complied with. It is a criminal offence not to comply with the requirements set out in a BCN.

Brownfield – Land that is or was previously occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings and associated fixed surface infrastructure. Often the land has become vacant, derelict or contaminated. Now known as ‘Previously Developed Land’.

Building Control – Process of ensuring Government-set Building Regulations are met.

Building Control Body (BCB) – Check that Building Regulations are being complied with. There are two types BCB, a Local Authority Building Control and a private sector Approved Inspector Building Control. Customers are free to choose which type of BCB they use on their project.


Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) – National charity devoted to protecting and enhancing rural England.

Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) – Legally confirms that an unauthorised development has now become lawful through the passage of time, and can be continued without the need for planning permission.

Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) – Clarifies whether a proposed use or development requires planning permission.

Climate Change Adaptation – Adjustments to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic factors or their effects, moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities.

Climate Change Mitigation – Action to reduce the impact of human activity on the climate system, primarily through reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Coastal Change Management Area – An area identified in Local Plans as likely to be affected by coastal change (physical change to the shoreline through erosion, coastal landslip, permanent inundation or coastal accretion).

Community Forest – An area identified through the England Community Forest Programme to revitalise countryside and green space in and around major conurbations.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – A levy allowing local authorities to raise funds from owners or developers of land undertaking new building projects in their area.

Community Right to Build Order – An Order made by the local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) that grants planning permission for a site-specific development proposal or classes of development.

Competent Person (to prepare site investigation information) – A person with a recognised relevant qualification, sufficient experience in dealing with the type(s) of pollution or land instability, and membership of a relevant professional organisation.

Conservation (for heritage policy) – The process of maintaining and managing change to a heritage asset in a way that sustains and, where appropriate, enhances its significance.

Countryside Design Summary – Document sometimes produced by local planning authorities which describes the existing character of the countryside and highlights the implications of this for new development.