Glossary of Terms

Affordable housing: Housing that is for sale or rent, for those who cannot afford to rent or buy houses on the open market. It includes rented housing, shared ownership and other subsidised schemes usually developed by housing associations or local authorities.

Agriculture and land-based rural businesses: These are farming, forestry, mineral extraction, privately managed estates.

Biodiversity Net Gain: Qualitative or quantitative measures to enhance and support biodiversity in order to leave it in an improved state.

Borderlands Partnership:  This covers the five local authority areas in South of Scotland and North of England and aims to unlock the potential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth across these areas. Formally signed the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal on 18 March 2021, bringing in up to £452million of fresh investment to the area.

Carbon budget: Cumulative amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions permitted over a period of time to keep within a given temperature threshold.

Carbon neutral: Where carbon dioxide emissions are equal to emissions removed from the atmosphere, usually mentioned in the context of the move towards net zero. To note that the UK Government’s June 2019 commitment is net zero for all greenhouse gasses, not just for carbon dioxide.

Cultural Capital: Defined as “an asset which embodies, stores or gives rise to cultural value in addition to whatever economic value it may possess” (Throsby 1999). Cultural capital is made up of physical assets such as buildings, art, and monuments, and intangible assets, such as folklore, music, language, beliefs and traditions. These services are beneficial to the individual and society as a whole and therefore create value.

Carbon positive: Where an activity goes beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions to actually create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon sequestration: Removal and storage of carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks (oceans, forests or soils) through physical or biological processes.

Climate change adaptation: Adjustments made to natural or human systems in response to the actual or anticipated impacts of climate change, to mitigate 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.

Cultural heritage (assets): Includes tangible culture such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art and artefacts, as well as intangible culture such as folklore, traditions, language and knowledge and natural heritage including culturally
significant landscapes.

Ecosystems approach: This is “the management of whole ecosystems, using ecosystem services as a framework to determine multiple, simultaneous benefits gained, whilst ensuring that realising one benefit does not harm or degrade other benefits or potential beneficiaries (including future generations)”.

Ecosystem services: the wide range of services humans derive from natural capital such as food, water, plant materials for fuel, building materials and medicines, climate regulation, flood defence, carbon storage and inspiration.

European Designated Sites: Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

Geodiversity: the range of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils and landforms.

“Final mile” solutions:  The transport of goods, services or people from source to end destination. For example helping visitors get from door-to-door, as in rural areas, the gap between public transport provision and their final destination can be difficult.

Glover review: In 2018 the Government commissioned journalist Julian Glover – supported by an advisory group – to carry out a comprehensive review of protected landscapes in England. It considered whether the protections for National Parks and AONBs are still fit for purpose, what could be improved, and whether current definitions and systems are still valid. The final report was published on 21 September 2019 and HMG’s response in January 2022.

Green Infrastructure: A planned or managed network of open spaces, including areas such as parks and gardens, countryside areas and amenity open space, designed to improve the quality of life and provide for the needs of nearby communities.

Infrastructure: Infrastructure is a wide-ranging term comprising the physical network of services and facilities that are required for an area to function properly. Such as highways infrastructure; sustainable transport infrastructure; service and utilities infrastructure; enhancement and maintenance of the historic environment and heritage assets; biodiversity or wildlife corridors; enhancement of the public realm; maintenance and enhancement of public rights of way; flood defences and mitigation and adaptation; education provision; health facilities; facilities providing accessibility for all e.g. Changing Places facilities.

International Dark Sky Park: The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) accredits and designates International Dark Sky Places following a rigorous application process.  An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is an area with “an exceptional…quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.” The land may be public or privately owned as long as there is ongoing public access to the relevant areas, and the night sky brightness must be regularly equal to or darker than 20 magnitudes per square arcsecond.

Landscape scale: There is no single definition, as the size of the area can vary greatly, however in a conservation context, this is generally defined as “a holistic approach to landscape management, aiming to reconcile the competing objectives of nature conservation and economic activities across a given landscape. Landscape-scale conservation may sometimes be attempted because of climate change”.

Listed building: A building recognised to be of national historic importance, designated and protected under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act, 1990.

Natural Capital: The world’s stock of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. DEFRA and HM Treasury Green Book definition: “Natural capital includes… elements of nature that have value to society, such as forests, fisheries, rivers, biodiversity, land and minerals. Natural capital includes both the living and non-living aspects of ecosystems. Stocks of natural capital provide flows of environmental or ‘ecosystem’ services over time. These services, often in combination with other forms of capital (human, produced and social) produce a wide range of benefits. Some have a market value (minerals, timber, freshwater) or non-market value (such as outdoor recreation, landscape amenity). They also include non-use values, such as the value people place on the existence of particular habitats or species.”

Natural Capital Accounting: Natural capital accounting is the process of calculating the total quantity of a natural resource (soil type, woodland, particular species) in a given area and identifying whether it is increasing or decreasing. Accounting for such goods may occur in physical or monetary terms and can provide detailed statistics for better management of the natural environment.

Natural Flood Management: Alteration, restoration or use of landscape features to reduce flood risk.

Net Zero: Where the balance of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is equal to or less than the emissions removed from the environment in any given area. This can be achieved by a combination of emission reduction and emission removal.

North of Tyne Combined Authority: A Partnership of three local Authorities: Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. The combined authority has a devolution deal which allows them to make their own decisions.

Renewable and low carbon energy: Includes energy for heating and cooling as well as electricity, produced from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. Low carbon technologies are those that can help reduce emissions (compared to conventional use of fossil fuels).

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): Nationally important sites for nature conservation designated under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended).

Special Qualities: All the national parks in England have an aim and purpose to promote understanding and enjoyment of the ‘special qualities’ of their area. It is the combination of these special qualities that led to these areas being designated to be protected as national parks, and distinguish each national park from each other and other parts of the country.

Sustainable active travel: Modes of personal transport that also provide exercise, such as walking and cycling.

Sustainable development: UNESCO’s overarching purpose, this is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS): Aim to replicate natural drainage patterns by using low environmental impact solutions to manage dirty and surface water run-off, through collection, storage and cleaning, before allowing it to release back into the environment.

Sustainable tourism development: Any form of development, management or tourist activity which ensures the long-term protection and preservation of natural, cultural and social resources and contributes in a positive and equitable manner to the economic development and well-being of individuals, working or staying in protected areas.

Sustainable Productive Land Management: Land management that realises an economic return for the land manager whilst at the same time has equal benefit to the environment and society.

Sustainability Appraisal: The process used to ensure that environmental and sustainability considerations have been integrated in the preparation of a Plan. The SA includes the requirements of the European Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Tranquillity: Tranquillity can be defined as freedom from the noise and visual intrusion, including light pollution, associated with developed areas, roads, transport and traffic, and areas with intensive recreational activities and other uses that contribute to disturbance.

World Heritage Site:  World Heritage Sites are sites considered to be of Outstanding Universal value – places or buildings which are considered to have special importance for everyone. They represent the most significant or exceptional examples of the world’s cultural and/or natural heritage recognised under the terms of the 1972 UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.