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Appropriate Assessment

The process is set out in the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) consultation document ‘Planning for the Protection of European Sites: Appropriate Assessment’ (August 2006). The screening assesses the likely effects of potential policies on Natura 2000 sites.


Calaminarian grassland

is where the process of succession has been halted due to the toxicity of soils containing high levels of toxic metal ions These habitats may be semi-natural on naturally exposed deposits, or the result of mining, or from erosion by rivers, sometimes including washed-out mine workings.

Catchment Management Plans

plans to benefit whole water catchment areas by working in partnership with individuals and organisations. Records state of water quality, habitats and species, impacts and issues to be addressed.

Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000

confirmed the significance of AONBs. Section 85 places a statutory (legal) duty on all relevant authorities to have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing natural beauty when discharging any function in relation to, or affecting land within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. More information about the CRoW Act.


Ecological Network

An ecological network is a joined-up group of natural and semi-natural habitats which is managed with the objective of maintaining or restoring ecological function, in order to conserve biodiversity. Ecological networks are provided as a response to biodiversity decline, and aim to provide a connected collection of refuges for wildlife. These networks are the basic natural infrastructure that will begin to enable biodiversity to recover from recent declines, and help to protect socially and economically important ecosystem goods and services.

European Landscape Convention

also known as the Florence Convention, after the city where the convention was adopted - promotes the protection, management and planning of European landscapes and organises European cooperation on landscape issues. It is the first international treaty to be exclusively concerned with all dimensions of European landscape. More information


Green Infrastructure

is a strategically planned and delivered network of high quality green spaces and other environmental features. It should be designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities.

Gruffy ground

remains of post medieval surface mining.



Landscape characterised by remarkable surface and underground forms, created as a result of the action of water on permeable limestone.


Landscape Character Assessment

a tool to identify what makes an area unique to aid planning and management of landscapes.


a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with laser light and analysing the reflected light. Lidar is popularly known as a technology used to make high resolution maps.

Living Landscapes

an approach adopted by the Wildlife Trusts, recognising that nature conservation efforts must be implemented at the landscape-scale. In essence they aim to restore, recreate and reconnect habitats to enable wildlife to move through the landscape. They are large-scale conservation programmes essentially similar in character to those later defined as Nature Improvement Areas. Avon and Somerset Wildlife Trusts both operate Living Landscape schemes within the AONB.

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

2011 the government invited local councils and businesses to set up voluntary partnerships to help strengthen local economies, set out local economic priorities. They replaced Regional Development Agencies. The West of England and Heart of the SW cover the Mendip Hills AONB.

Local Nature Partnership (LNP)

partnerships of a broad range of local organisations, businesses and people who aim to help bring about improvements in their local natural environment. Setting up LNPs was one of the commitments made in the Natural Environment White Paper 2011. The West of England and the Somerset LNPs cover the Mendip Hills AONB.



a perennial grass considered an ideal energy crop that has the appearance of elephant grass.


National Character Area (NCA)

There are 159 NCAs – these areas share similar landscape characteristics and follow natural lines in the landscape. Natural England are producing profiles for each NCA to provide decision making frameworks for the natural environment. NCA 141 and 118 cover the Mendip Hills AONB.

National Nature Reserve (NNR)

areas where wildlife comes first – established to protect most important sites of wildlife habitat and geological formations in Britain. The majority have some form of public access.

Natura 2000 sites

see Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA)

Nature Improvement Area (NIA)

these are large, discrete areas that, by taking a landscape–scale approach, will deliver a step change in nature conservation, where a local partnership has a shared vision for their natural environment. The partnership will plan and deliver significant improvements for wildlife and people through the sustainable use of natural resources, restoring and creating wildlife habitats, connecting local sites and joining up local action.


Parish Plan

evolving documents outlining how a community would like to develop over the next 10 years.


Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS)

identified by locally developed criteria, are the most important places for geology and geomorphology outside statutorily protected land. RIGS are selected in a different way to Earth science SSSIs, which are chosen on a national basis. RIGS are selected on a local or regional basis using four nationally agreed criteria. Nationally important geological sites are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).


Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

The countries best wildlife and geological sites. Many SSSIs are also NNRs.

Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI)

these are sites of regional nature conservation importance.

South West Protected Landscapes Forum (SWPLF)

Umbrella body of protected landscapes, National Parks and AONBs, in the South West.

Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

site classified under the Habitats Directive to provide rare and vulnerable animals, plants and habitats with increased protection and management.

Special Protection Area (SPA)

site classified under the Birds Directive to help protect and manage areas which are important for rare and vulnerable birds because they use them for breeding, feeding, wintering or migration.

Special Qualities

AONBs are designated solely for their landscape qualities, for the purpose of conserving and enhancing their natural beauty. Designation under the provisions of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act is to secure their permanent protection against development that would damage their special qualities. The AONB's special qualities are listed in the AONB Management Plan (see 1.4)

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

The purpose of an SEA is to ensure that land-use plans and programmes, that are likely to have significant effects on the environment are subjected to a strategic level (high and over arching) assessment of options and alternative courses of action during plan preparation in order to avoid or mitigate any adverse effects.


also known as sinkhole, doline, swallow hole - a natural depression or hole in the Earth's surface. Develop by a variety of methods –collapse, suffusion or solution. Can be 20 metres deep and 100 metres of more in diameter. More information on the British Geological Survey website.


Village Design Statement

produced by communities to identify local character and set out design guidance for new development