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Fast Forward Oxfordshire – the Glossary

Oxford Friends of the Earth is a thriving and effective local group that has been active for over 40 years. Our purpose is to work together to promote a healthy and sustainable environment

Some of the words and phrases used in the report may not be clear to readers. This page describes what these words mean, and offers links for anyone who wants to know more.

Homes and Settlements

Passive house or ‘passiv haus’ (from Germany)

This is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy / ‘zero carbon’ buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.  For more see: http://passivhaustrust.org.uk/what_is_passivhaus.php

Community Land Trust

Community land trusts are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.  See: www.communitylandtrust.org.uk

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008, as a tool for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area. It came into force on 6 April 2010 through the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010.   See:  http://planningportal.co.uk

EPC – Energy Performance Certificate

An EPC rating is a review of a property’s energy efficiency.  More information here: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/energy-performance-certificate/

National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these should be applied. It provides a framework within which locally-prepared plans for housing and other development can be produced. Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework must be taken into account in preparing the development plan, and is a material consideration in planning decisions.  For full details see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/810197/NPPF_Feb_2019_revised.pdf

Water-neutral developments

The term ‘water neutrality’ is used to imply a voluntary process whereby participants seek to quantitatively balance their water use accounts by both reducing their water usage and investing in projects which increase supplies of clean freshwater. Water neutrality therefore implies balancing the demand and supply of water through a deliberate intervention by the water user. https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report28-WaterNeutral.pdf

Land Value Uplift

There is a strong public interest justification for pursuing policies that would enable more of the publicly created uplifts in land values created by the planning system to be used to support better place-making (rather than simply being retained by landowners)

Land value capture is a concept rather than a specific policy objective. The term encompasses a wide range of potential policy mechanisms, all of which are designed to capture a proportion of publicly created uplifts in land value.  Publicly created uplifts in land value arise for three reasons: 1) public investment in infrastructure; 2) the granting of planning permission (or the expectation that permission will be granted in the future); and 3) societal factors (e.g. economic growth) resulting in particular locations becoming more desirable to live in.

This paper from Scotland provides some useful background: https://landcommission.gov.scot/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Initial-advice-from-the-SLC-to-the-Scottish-Government-on-land-value-uplift-capture.pdf

A recent paper by Dr Nick Falk (who advised this report) for the Town and Country Planning Association is herehttp://www.urbedtrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sharing-the-uplift-in-land-values-TCPA-policy-paper.pdf

Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a plan and a growing global movement. The phrase comes from the original ‘New Deal’ launched in the USA in the 1930s as a way of developing and building out of the ‘great depression’.

The plan is for huge investment in the economic future of the UK, to create a new generation of jobs in the industries and infrastructure we need to tackle the climate crisis. The movement is demanding a new approach to running our economy that guarantees decent work, greater ownership and economic democracy, with a central purpose of putting people and planet first. One example of the UK approach is here: https://neweconomics.org/campaigns/green-new-deal


MetroRail and Metrocard

The Oxford ‘MetroRail’ is something that we have imagined for this report, but the idea is simple and urgent. It is based on the well-integrated public transport in some larger UK cities. The idea is that any journey across the area can be made on one ticket system (the ‘Metrocard’) using any suitable part of the  transport system – trains, buses – and by 2040 trams, electric minibuses, possibly a cable car and more. At the core of this would be ‘Metrorail’ – a fast and frequent rail system linking the science and industrial parks in south Oxfordshire with Bicester, Banbury and maybe Witney via Oxford – a real effective alternative to the A34.



Retrofitting means providing something with a component or feature not fitted during manufacture or adding something that it did not have when first constructed. The term is often used in relation to installing new building systems, e.g. heating systems but it can also refer to the fabric of a building, e.g. retrofitting insulation or double glazing. Retrofitting is a crucial part of the drive to make buildings more thermal efficient and sustainable.  For more see:  https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Retrofit

Circular Economy

Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

Much leading edge work on this is done by the Ellen McArthur Foundation: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept

Green Infrastructure Bank

A green bank (sometimes referred to as green investment bank, clean energy finance authority, or clean energy finance corporation) is a financial institution typically public or quasi-public, that uses innovative financing techniques and market development tools in partnership with the private sector to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies. Green banks use public funds to leverage private investment in clean energy technologies that, despite being commercially viable, have struggled to establish a widespread presence in consumer markets. Green banks seek to reduce energy costs for ratepayers, stimulate private sector investment and economic activity, and expedite the transition to a low-carbon economy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_bank



The NHS Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. Individuals do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but the advice encourages people try to get the balance right over a day or even a week. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/


Livewell is WWF’s programme of activities on sustainable diets which looks at the changes needed to keep temperature rises below 2 degrees. It goes beyond Eatwell.




100% biodiversity net gain

Biodiversity Net Gain is an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity it encourages developers to provide an increase in appropriate natural habitat and ecological features over and above that being affected in such a way it is hoped that the current loss of biodiversity through development will be halted and ecological networks can be restored. (From the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management)


Making it happen – local can lead

A legally binding net zero target

The UK is the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.  The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law