Term / Abbreviation


Active travel

An approach to travel and transport by physically active, human powered modes, as opposed to motorised ones (e.g. walking and cycling).


An entrance to an underground mine which is horizontal or nearly horizontal, by which the mine can be entered, drained of water, ventilated, and minerals extracted at the lowest convenient level.

Affordable Housing

Comprises of social rented housing and intermediate housing (see separate definitions below).

Agricultural Activity

Defined by Article 4 of the European Council Regulations (EC) No. 1307/2013:

  1. production, rearing or growing of agricultural products, including harvesting, milking, breeding animals, and keeping of animals for farming purposes,
  2. maintaining an agricultural area in a state which makes it suitable for grazing or cultivation without preparatory action going beyond usual agricultural methods and machineries, based on criteria established by Member States on the basis of a framework established by the Commission.
  3. carrying out a minimum activity, defined by Member States, on agricultural areas naturally kept in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation.

Anaerobic Digestion

A collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas and biofertiliser.

Annual Exceedance

% chance of a flood occurring in any given year.

Area of Archaeological Potential (AAP)

Comprise those areas, usually within historic settlements, which may require mitigating measures (including excavation) in order to safeguard remains when sites are being developed.

Areas of Constraint on High Structures (ACHS)

Areas which are designed to protect our most vulnerable and sensitive landscapes from the adverse visual impact of development involving high structures such as wind turbines, electricity pylons or telecommunications masts / equipment.

Areas of Constraint on Mineral Development (ACMD)

Protect the most valuable features of the natural environment and man-made heritage including areas of high scenic value from the adverse effects caused by the development of mineral resources. These are designated by some Development Plans.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

An area of countryside which has been designated for conservation reasons due to its significant landscape value.

Area of Significant Archaeological Interest (ASAI)

Areas designated in order to protect not just the individual sites and monuments but the overall landscape setting within which they are located.

Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI)

Areas designated on the basis of their national importance to nature conservation and scientific interest.

Area of Townscape Character (ATC)

Exhibit a distinct character often based on their historic built form or layout. For the most part this derives from the cumulative impact of the area’s buildings, their setting, landscape and other locally important features.

Article 4 Direction

An Article 4 direction is a direction under Article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order which enables a local planning authority to withdraw specified permitted development rights across a defined area.


The variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) as well as the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live.


A renewable energy source from organic material which can be used as a fuel.

Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA)

Defined as the continuous built up area centred on Belfast with an arc from Jordanstown to Knocknagoney and includes the city of Lisburn and towns of Bangor, Carrickfergus and Holywood.

Brownfield Sites


Sites within a settlement limit which are or were occupied by a permanent structure. These for example may include underused buildings or vacant buildings. May also be referred to as ‘Previously Developed Land’.

Carbon Store

Natural systems such as peatland that suck up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Clusters (as referred to in Chapter 5.0)

Defined in the RDS as; Cities and towns which can work together to create a critical mass to attract economic development and deliver services.

Coastal Erosion

Loss or displacement of land along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms.

Community Infrastructure

The community, health, leisure, educational facilities and other services that serve and help to sustain a community.

Conservation Area

Areas of special architectural or historic interest that have been designated by the Department under Article 50 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991.


Measure of the number of dwellings per hectare.

Draft Marine Plan for Northern Ireland

The draft Marine Plan for Northern Ireland is made up of two plans, one for the inshore region under the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 and one for the offshore region under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The draft Marine Plan and other marine policy will inform and guide the regulation, management, use and protection of the Northern Ireland marine area.

Drainage Assessment (DA)

Investigation and assessment of the most appropriate drainage solution for a development.

Ecosystems Services

The goods and services which the environment provides for people such as timber, water, renewable energy and crops.

Electronic Commerce

The buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet.

Fields in Trust (FiT) standard

Recommends of a minimum of 2.4 hectares of outdoor playing space per 1000 population. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Six Acre Standard’, comprising of 4 acres (1.6 hectares per 1000 population) for outdoor sport provision and 2 acres (0.8 hectares per 1000 population) for children’s play. The 4 acres for outdoor sport is further refined to 3 acres for pitch sports and 1 acre to be provided through other outdoor recreational facilities such as tennis courts, bowling greens, athletic tracks etc. Fields in Trust (FiT) developed the ‘Six Acre Standard’ in order to promote the protection and future development of ‘green’ and ‘open’ space throughout the United Kingdom. FiT have not attempted to put a value on synthetic pitches in comparison to natural turf pitches. Sport NI consider the value of a synthetic pitch to be 6 times that of a natural turf surface.

Flood Risk Assessment (FRA)

An assessment of the risk of flooding from all flooding sources.


Defined in the RDS as strategically important transport interchange points which connect ports and airports to the internal transport network.

Green Corridor

A strip of land that provides sufficient habitat to support wildlife, often within an urban environment, thus allowing the movement of wildlife along it e.g. railway embankments, river banks and roadside grass verges. They help to promote environmentally sustainable forms of transport such as walking and cycling within urban areas.

Green Infrastructure

Includes parks, sport pitches, green spaces and wooded areas.


Undeveloped land or green space.

Guest House

As defined by the Tourism (NI) Order 1992 – Categories of Tourist Establishment (Statutory Criteria) Regulations - a guest house shall provide overnight sleeping accommodation for visitors in separate rooms comprising not less than 3 double bedrooms.

Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

Section 102 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010) requires a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) to be undertaken during the preparation of a LDP, if necessary. This will evaluate the impact of the Plan on sites designated and protected for their international importance for nature conservation.

Heritage Assets

A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. Heritage asset includes any part of the historic environment that has heritage value including scheduled monuments, archaeological remains, historic buildings (both statutorily listed or of more local significance) together with any historically related contents, industrial, marine and defence heritage, conservation areas, Area of Townscape Character or a Historic Park, Garden or Demesne.

Hierarchy of Centres

Town, Local and Rural centres classified according to their role and function and used to inform decisions about where commercial growth and development should take place.

Historic Environment

All aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time, including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora.

Historic Parks Garden and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest

Designation by central government.

Holiday Park

For the purposes of the LDP, a holiday park is defined as a caravan site licensed under the Caravans Act (NI) 1963, which in addition to static caravans, may also contain holiday chalets or cabins, pitches for touring caravans, motor homes and tenting.


As defined by the Tourism (NI) Order 1992 – Categories of Tourist Establishment (Statutory Criteria) Regulations: A form of tourist accommodation for the letting of single beds in bedrooms or dormitory rooms with mostly shared facilities.


As defined by the Tourism (NI) Order 1992 – Categories of Tourist Establishment (Statutory Criteria) Regulations – Schedule 1 – Criteria for Hotels: A hotel shall provide overnight sleeping accommodation for visitors in separate rooms comprising not less than 15 double bedrooms, of which 100% shall have an ensuite bathroom.

Housing Association (HA)

A housing association is an independent, not-for-profit social business that provides both homes and support for people in housing need, as well as key community services. Housing associations build virtually all NI’s new affordable homes e.g. social rented or intermediate housing.

Housing Needs Assessment (HNA)

An assessment by NIHE of local housing needs primarily in relation to general needs social rented, intermediate and supported housing and travellers.


The RDS spatial framework guidance defines most towns in Northern Ireland as either main hubs or local hubs.


An organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon such as natural gases and fuels.

Independent Examination (IE)

The Department will appoint the Planning Appeals Commission or other independent examiners to hold an IE. The IE will examine the draft Plan Strategy against soundness tests which will relate to how it has been produced, and how it has taken account of central government’s plans, policy and guidance, and also its coherence, consistency and effectiveness.

Intermediate Housing

Currently consists of shared ownership housing provided through a registered housing association and helps households who can afford a small mortgage, but that are not able to afford to buy a property outright. The property is split between part ownership by the householder and part social renting from the registered housing association. The proportion of property ownership and renting can vary depending on householder circumstances and preferences. The NI definition of intermediate housing may change over time to incorporate other forms of housing tenure below market rates. Where this is the case, such additional products will be considered suitable to help meet affordable housing obligations of the policies in the LDP.

Landfill Site

The controlled deposit of waste to land generally involving the infilling of voids following mineral extraction.

Land Instability

May result from landslides, subsidence or ground heave. Areas prone to land instability could cause harm to human health, property, infrastructure, and the wider environment.

Land Raising

Involves the deposit of waste above ground e.g. in naturally occurring depressions or as part of reclamation schemes.

Landscape Character Assessment (LCA)

A tool in identifying the landscape features that give a locality its ‘sense of place’. The LCA grew out of the European Landscape Convention. The NI Landscape Character Assessment 2000 (NILCA) identified 130 district LCA’s as fragile landscapes at risk of development pressures. NI Regional Landscape Character Assessment provides a strategic overview of the landscape of NI and subdivides the countryside into 26 Regional Landscape Character Areas based upon information on people and place and the combinations of nature, culture and perception which make each part of NI unique. As part of the Countryside Assessment Council have undertaken a LCA for Mid and East Antrim.

Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA)

An analysis of the landscape and visual effects on sensitive landscapes.


Listed Building

A building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest that have been listed under Article 80 of the Planning Act (NI) 2015. Lists are subject to ongoing review.

Local Centre

Small grouping of shops, typically comprising a general grocery store, a sub-post office, occasionally a pharmacy and other small shops of a local nature.

Local Landscape Policy Areas (LLPAs)

Consist of those features and areas within and adjoining settlements considered to be of greatest amenity value, landscape quality or local significance and therefore worthy of protection from undesirable or damaging development. These are designated through LDPs.

Local Nature Reserves

Areas of land, designated by a council under Article 22 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, to conserve its nature conservation, earth science and recreational value, with the primary land use being for conservation purposes.

Local Policies Plan (LPP)

The second part of the LDP, the Local Policies Plan, will be prepared by Council following adoption of the Plan Strategy.

Main Hub

A district town that is providing services at a higher level than its size suggests (RDS).

Marine Conservation Zone

Designated in the Northern Ireland Inshore Region to protect nationally important habitats, species and geological/geomorphological features, while fully taking into account any economic, cultural or social consequences of doing so.

Marine Policy Statement (MPS)

The Marine Policy Statement is the framework for preparing Marine Plans and taking decisions affecting the marine environment.

Mineral Reserve Areas

Areas most suitable for mineral development in the plan area.


Multi-Use Games Area.

Natura 2000

A network of nature protection areas within the EU. It is made up of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated respectively under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive. The network includes both terrestrial and marine sites.

Natural Heritage

A diverse range of landscapes, habitats, species and earth science features.

Nature Reserves

Areas of importance for flora, fauna, geological or other special feature for conservation purposes and to provide the opportunity for research.

Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure (NIMDM)

The Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure is the official measure of spatial deprivation in NI.

Passive Solar Design

Design that takes advantage of sunlight for heating or cooling.

Planning Appeals Commission (PAC)

An independent body which deals with a wide range of land use planning issues and related matters. It may be appointed to conduct the independent examination of LDPs.

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland (PSRNI)

Set out planning policy for NI across a range of topics. Most of the topics within the Strategy have now been superseded by the various PPS’s or SPPS.

Previously developed land (brownfield land/sites)

Land which is, or was occupied by, a permanent structure within a defined settlement limit. The term may encompass vacant or derelict lands; infill sites; land occupied by redundant or under-used buildings; a piece of industrial or commercial property that is abandoned or under-used and often environmentally contaminated. The following are excluded from the definition of previously developed land, open space of public value as defined in the Open Space Strategy in Part 1 of the draft Plan Strategy; and the gardens of dwelling and apartments (broadly defined as those areas within the curtilage of a dwelling not containing buildings).

Programme for Government (PfG)

The highest level strategic document of the NI Executive – setting out its priorities, and the most significant actions it will take to address them.

Protected Routes

A road which is protected from unnecessary development or accesses that would slow the flow of traffic or result in highway safety issues.


A wetland site designated of international importance under the Ramsar Convention of 1971 (in force since 1975).

Recycling Centres

A local collection point for recyclable waste such as green waste, metals, glass and other waste types. A list of where these are located throughout Mid and East Antrim can be found on the council website; http://www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/resident/waste-recycling/household-recycling-centres

Regional Development Strategy 2035 (RDS, 2035)

The Regional Development Strategy 2035 is the spatial strategy of the NI Executive. Its purpose is to deliver the spatial aspects of the PfG.

Rural Proofing

An assessment carried out to consider rural needs when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans and designing and delivering public services.

Scheduled Zone (Scheduled Monuments)

Archaeological sites and monuments are scheduled for protection under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995 and the work of scheduling is ongoing.

Scoping Report

Part of the Sustainability Appraisal and sets out the methodology that will be used in the SA.

Section 75 Groups

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) requires public authorities to have due regard for the need to promote equality of opportunity between: persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation. Men and Women generally, persons with a disability and persons without. In addition, without prejudice to the above obligations, public authorities are required to have regard to the need to promote good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion and racial group.

Section 76 Planning Agreements

A legally binding agreement between relevant parties, normally an applicant, landowner and the council. Planning Agreements are used to secure a planning obligation, such as developer contributions, where it is not possible to do so by a planning condition. The Planning Agreement must be signed and completed before the planning permission can be issued (Section 76 of the Planning Act (NI) 2011).

Self Catering Establishment


As defined by the Tourism (NI) Order 1992 – Categories of Tourist Establishment (Statutory Criteria) Regulations – Schedule 4 – Criteria for Self Catering Establishments: A self catering establishment shall comprise one or more self contained units providing furnished accommodation (including sleeping accommodation and catering facilities) for visitors.

Sequential Approach (for retail development)

Locations for planning applications for main town centre uses should be considered in the order – town centre; edge of centre; out of centre (only where sites are accessible by choice of good public transport modes).


Shared Environmental Services

Social Rented Housing

This is housing that is provided at an affordable rent by a registered housing association; that is, one which is registered and regulated by DfC as a social housing provider. Social rented accommodation should be available to households in housing need and is offered in accordance with the common selection scheme, administered by NIHE, which prioritises households who are living in unsuitable or insecure accommodation.

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

Strictly protected sites of European importance, recognised for the threatened habitats and species they support.

Special Countryside Area (SCA)

An area of countryside designated through the LDP, that provides stricter policy control to manage development in sensitive landscapes which are vulnerable to excessive development pressure.

Special Protection Area (SPA)

Strictly protected sites of European importance, designated for their rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.


Subsidence is the vertical downward movement caused by the loss of support of the ground beneath.

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)

Supports and clarifies planning policy statements and plans.

Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

The purpose of the Sustainability Appraisal is to promote sustainable development through the integration of social, environmental and economic considerations into the preparation of local development plans. It incorporates the more environmentally focused considerations of Strategic Environmental Assessment and is used to assess the LDP documents against a set of objectives and criteria, to evaluate if it likely to have significant impacts on the environment.

Sustainable Development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. These needs are generally classified as social, economic and environmental.

Touring Caravan Site

For the purposes of the LDP, a touring caravan site is defined as a caravan site licensed under the Caravans Act (NI) 1963, which provides pitches for touring caravans and may in addition also provide pitches for motor homes and tenting.


The activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes (World Tourism Organisation).

Tourism Accommodation

Overnight sleeping accommodation for tourists provided by way of trade or business (Art 2 Tourism NI Order 1992).

Tourism Amenity

An amenity, facility or service provided primarily for tourists, but does not include tourist accommodation (Art 2 Tourism NI Order 1992).

Tourism Asset

Any feature associated with the built or natural environment which is of intrinsic interest to tourist.

Tourism Development

Development of a tourist amenity or tourist accommodation.


Includes both overnight visitors and same day visitors.

Transport Assessment

A comprehensive and systematic process that sets out and evaluates transport issues relating to a proposed development.


A generic group as defined by the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997 i.e. “having a shared history, culture and traditions, including a nomadic way of life”.

Travellers Accommodation

Can include the following:

  1. Grouped housing – residential housing developments with additional facilities and amenities specifically designed to accommodate extended families on a permanent basis;
  2. Serviced sites – managed sites where caravans/’park homes’ can be based. These sites provide electricity and other services together with communal or individual amenity;
  3. Transit sites – sites to facilitate temporary or short-term location of caravans. Communal facilities are also provided.

Travel Plan (TP)

A package of actions designed to encourage safe, healthy and sustainable travel options.

Urban Capacity Study

A study undertaken as part of the LDP process which provides a comprehensive analysis of the potential for future housing growth within the urban footprint/built up areas of larger settlements.

Urban footprint

The continuous builtup area of the settlement for towns and cities throughout NI. The boundary will be represented by an uninterrupted line, often lying inside the planned settlement limit. The urban footprint contains land which has a formal urban use including land on the edge of the settlement where it forms part of the curtilage of a building. However, this does not necessarily imply that gardens are acceptable for housing development. Undeveloped zoned land at the edge of the settlement will be excluded. Urban footprints have been identified and use a 2012 baseline.

Valuable Minerals

Precious metals such as gold and platinum which are particularly valuable to the economy.


A measure of a town centre’s capacity to attract ongoing investment for maintenance, growth or changing needs.


A measure of how busy a town centre is.

Waste Water Treatment Works (WwTW)

WwTWs remove waste from sewage that could harm the environment, so that the water can be returned to a river or the sea.


This term refers to undeveloped land that was previously included within a development limit but was not zoned for a specific use.

Wildlife Refuge

An area designated for the protection of wild animals, within which hunting and fishing are either prohibited or strictly regulated.

Windfall Sites

Sites that are neither zoned nor anticipated during the formulation of the LDP but which may become available during the lifetime of the plan.

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