Access for All Provision of access opportunities for all people listed in the Equalities Act, 2010

Affordable Housing Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households

Agri-environment A mechanism by which landowners and other individuals and bodies responsible for land management can be incentivised to manage their land in a manner sympathetic to the environment

Ancient Tree Ancient trees are those which have reached a great age in comparison with others of the same species. A birch tree could be considered as ancient at 150 years old, for example, but an oak tree would not be thought of as ancient until it’s at least 400 years old. 


Ancient Woodland Woodland that has been in existence continuously since 1600 or earlier, based on its indicator flora or mapping data

AONB – An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is an area of internationally important landscape quality which has statutory protection in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of its landscape.

Anaerobic Digestion A collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen

Aquifer Underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand or silt) from which groundwater can be extracted

Balanced Communities A community with a range of people from different ages, social and economic backgrounds. Balanced communities are often a result of the provision of a good mix of housing types and tenures

Biodiversity – Degree of variation of life forms within a given species or ecosystem.

Biodiversity net gain  An approach which, in the context of new development, aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand. The Kent Downs AONB Management Plan refers to ‘intended’ biodiversity net gain because achieving a net gain is not yet proven.

Biodiversity 2020 – a biodiversity strategy for England.

Bridleway A Public Right of Way that may be used for horse riding, walking or cycling. Cyclists should give way to pedestrians and horses

Category V Protected Landscape/ Seascape A protected area classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value: and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values.


Chalara fraxinea Ash dieback fungus now referred to as Hymenoscyphus fraxinea

Coastal Defence Policy To reduce the risk to people and the developed and natural environment from flooding and coastal erosion by encouraging the provision of technically, environmentally and economically sound and sustainable defence measures.

Common Agricultural Policy – the agricultural policy of the EU.

Community Infrastructure Levy A levy that local authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money can be used to support development by funding infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want.

Community Led Plans A plan produced by the local community setting out their aspirations for the future of their town or village. A range of plans exist to deal with different aspects of community life.

Community Strategies A community strategy sets out a strategic vision for a particular area such as a District, Borough or County Council. The community strategy is a partnership document and guides the work and allocation of resources of any organisation working in that area. The strategy will promote a long-term vision for improving the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of an area

Conservation Area Designated for their special architectural and historic interest and identified to improve their management within the planning system.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) - the Act provides for public access on foot to certain types of land, amends the law relating to public rights of way, increases measures for the management and protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and strengthens wildlife enforcement legislation, and provides for better management of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) including the preparation and review of management plans.

Cultural Heritage The evidence for how people used to live – both physical features such as archaeological sites and finds, buildings, fields and settlements, and intangibles such as folk traditions and work by creative people

Dark Night Skies Areas with little or no light pollution where you can see many stars on a clear night

Ecosystem Services The services provided by the natural environment that benefit people

Environmental Stewardship An agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers and other land managers to deliver effective environmental management on land

European Landscape Convention – the European Landscape Convention (ELC) is the first international convention to focus specifically on landscape. Created by the Council of Europe, the convention promotes landscape protection, management and planning, and European co-operation on landscape issues.

Farmland Birds ‘Farmland birds’ refers to all 19 farmland bird species used for the Defra Farmland Bird Index.

Fine Tree A fine or notable tree refers to a tree which is judged significant locally, this may be a tree with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or displaying the characteristics required for a TPO. It may be special in some other way, it could have cultural resonance, contribute to a fine view or be particularly large compared with the trees around it. Fine or notable trees are often but not always mature.

Geodiversity The variety of the rocks, minerals, fossils, soils and landscapes which gives us locally distinctive building materials, evidence of the Earth’s story to investigate and many other resources

Green Infrastructure Green Infrastructure (GI) is a network of high quality green and blue spaces and other environmental features. It needs to be planned and delivered at all spatial scales from national to neighbourhood levels. The greatest benefits will be gained when it is designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits (ecosystem services) for local communities.

Heritage at Risk Historic England register of important designated sites and buildings that are most at risk of being damaged or lost.

Heritage Crime Criminal damage to heritage, such as stealing lead from churches, unauthorised changes to listed buildings or digging for treasure on scheduled monuments.

Heritage Coast – stretches of undeveloped coast defined for their outstanding scenic value where resolution of conflicts is needed between recreation, conservation, access and agriculture.

Higher Level Stewardship Ten-year agreements aimed at delivering significant environmental benefits in priority areas

Hymenoscyphus fraxinea Ash Dieback fungus

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Coordination of the different policies and activities affecting the coastal zone, based on an ecosystems approach

Landscapean area perceived by people whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.

Landscape capacity is the extent to which an area is able to accommodate change without significant effects on its character, or overall change of landscape character type.

Landscape Character Assessment Identifies the important assets and characteristics of the different landscape types and a framework for understanding the impacts of change upon this character

Landscape Character Type (LCT) – Distinct types of landscape which are generic in character in that they may occur in different parts of the country, but wherever they are they share broadly similar combinations of geology, topography, drainage patterns, vegetation and historical land use and settlement pattern.

Listed Buildings a building of notable architectural or historic interest listed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport under the Planning Act 1990. These are in one of three categories and each marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under additional considerations in the planning system

Local Enterprise Partnerships A partnership between local authorities and businesses set up to determine local economic investment priorities, in order to support and sustain economic growth and create jobs within their local area

Local Plan The plan for the future development of the local area, drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community

Local Nature Partnership  Established by the Natural Environment White Paper, Local Nature Partnerships (LNPs) are partnerships of a broad range of local organisations, businesses and people who aim to help bring about improvements in their local natural environment. 

Marine Conservation Zone Protected areas being established to conserve nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology

Major Development  What constitutes major development within an AONB will depend on its nature, scale and setting and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the natural beauty of the designated area. This differs from the definition of major development as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 and is particularly relevant for the consideration of proposals under national planning policy, as set out in the NPPF, where it is stated that permission for major development in AONBs should be refused other than in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest.   

Notable Tree. A fine or notable tree refers to a tree which is judged significant locally, this may be a tree with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or displaying the characteristics required for a TPO. It may be special in some other way, it could have cultural resonance, contribute to a fine view or be particularly large compared with the trees around it. Fine or notable trees are often but not always mature.

 Neighbourhood Plan A plan that can set out where development will go and what development could look like in a particular area. The production of a Plan will be led by Parish or Town Councils but it needs the involvement of the local community and to be in conformity with the Local Plan

Open Access also known as access land. Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) grants a general right of public access to ‘access land’ for the purposes of open-air recreation.

National Character Areas - National Character Areas (NCAs) divide England into 159 distinct natural areas. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geo-diversity and cultural and economic activity. Their boundaries follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries, making them a good decision-making framework for the natural environment.

National Nature Reserve (NNR) – sites declared by Natural England as key places for wildlife and natural features in England. They were established to protect the most significant areas of habitat and of geological formations. NNRs are managed on behalf of the nation, many by Natural England themselves, but also by non-governmental organisations, including the members of The Wildlife Trusts partnership, the National Trust, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites  Ancient Woodland that has been replanted with forestry plantations (often, but not always, conifers)

‘Priority Species’ in the context of this Plan refers to Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species and also species on the IUCN Red List

Public Rights of Way – public footpaths, bridleways and cycleways along which the public has the right to travel.

Publics – refers to a diversity of groups rather than suggesting a homogenous ‘general public’.

Regionally Important Geological Site – locally important geological and geomorphological sites of value.

River Basin Management Plans The River Basin Management Plans describe the river basin district, and the pressures that the water environment faces. It shows what this means for the current state of the water environment in the river basin district, and what actions will be taken to address the pressures

Sandford Principle Where irreconcilable conflicts exist between conservation and public enjoyment, then conversation interest should take priority

Scarp (also escarpment) Steep slope in the Kent Downs the south facing Chalk scarp is a key character of the AONB landscape and an important target for designation

Seascape - in planning and land use terms this is the complex interrelationship between the landforms, coast and sea in a landscape setting.

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – areas of international nature conservation interest designated under the EU Habitats regulations which have been transferred to the UK legal framework following EU exit.

Sense of Place A characteristic or distinctiveness that places have that creates a feeling or perception by people. Can lead to human attachment and belonging

Shoreline Management Planning Large-scale assessment of the risks associated with coastal processes and helps reduce these risks to people and the developed, historic and natural environments. Coastal processes include tidal patterns, wave height, wave direction and the movement of beach and seabed materials

Sites of Special Scientific Interest – areas designated by Natural England as being of special interest and national importance by reason of their flora, fauna or geology.

Strategic Environmental Assessment – SEA is a process to ensure that significant environmental effects arising from policies, plans and programmes are identified, assessed and mitigated for.

Veteran Tree a veteran tree can be any age, but it is a tree which shows ancient tree characteristics

Water Framework Directive European Union legislation (2000/60/EC) – establishing a framework for European Community action in the field of water policy. This sets targets for member states to achieve good status of all water bodies