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  3. Planning Portal Glossary: H

Planning Portal Glossary: H


The Glossary is neither a statement of law nor an interpretation of the law, and its status is only an introductory guide to planning issues and should not be used as a source for statutory definitions.

Habitable rooms

There is no single legal definition of "habitable room", as its use and meaning is subject to context.

For example, the Building Regulations Approved Documents provide 3 separate definitions in different parts:

  • Part B - A room used, or intended to be used, for dwellinghouse purposes (including for the purposes of Part B, a kitchen but not a bathroom).
  • Part F - A room used for dwelling purposes but which is not solely a kitchen, utility room, bathroom, cellar or sanitary accommodation.
  • Part M - A room used, or intended to be used, for dwelling purposes including a kitchen but not a bathroom or utility room.

There are also separate definitions in regards to calculation of residential density, and although they share common themes, the definitions vary and you are advised to check with your Local Planning Authority as to how the calculation should be made.


An area of nature conservation interest.

Hard Rock

Consolidated rock such as limestone and granite.

Hazardous Waste

Wastes that have the potential to cause harm to human health or the environment.

Health Check (in terms of shopping areas)

A survey, using a variety of indicators, to show the 'health' of a town centre or other shopping area. For example, the quality of the environment, footfall, retail sales, commercial yield or amount of customers.

Heavy Rail 

The traditional railway network, using standard rolling stock.

Heritage Asset

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 designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).

Heritage Coast

Areas of undeveloped coastline which are managed to conserve their natural beauty and, where appropriate, to improve accessibility for visitors.

High Court Challenge

The process by which an applicant may challenge a planning decision or a notice of intention to adopt a development plan in the High Court on a point of law. However, other appeal procedures may apply first and prior legal advice is advisable.

High demand housing areas

Locations with a high demand for housing resulting in expensive pricing and rents making it difficult to enter the housing market. For example, some rural locations, commuter areas, and many locations in southern England.

High Hedges High Hedges are dealt with under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. You can read more about the rules surrounding high hedges in our guidance section.


A publicly maintained road, together with footways and verges.

Highways Agency

An executive agency of the Department for Transport. The Highways Agency is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network of England.

Historic Battlefield

Areas of historic interest where important battles are sufficiently documented to be located on the ground. Designated by English Heritage.

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 Environment Record

Information services that seek to provide access to comprehensive and dynamic resources relating to the historic environment of a defined geographic area for public benefit and use.

Historic Parks and Gardens

A park or garden of special historic interest. Graded I (highest quality), II* or II. Designated by English Heritage.

Household Waste

Refuse from household collection rounds, waste from street sweepings, public litter bins, bulky items collected from households and wastes which householders themselves take to household waste recovery centres and "bring sites".

Household Waste Recovery Centres / Civic Amenity Sites

A facility provided by the Waste Disposal Authority that is available to the public to deposit waste which cannot be collected by the normal household waste collection round.

Housing Associations A common term for the 2000 or so independent, not-for-profit organisations that work with councils to offer flats and houses to local people.

Housing Land Availability (HLA)

The total amount of land reserved for residential use awaiting development.

Human Rights Act


The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law.

The general purpose of the ECHR is to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to maintain and promote the ideals and values of a democratic society. It sets out the basic rights of every person together with the limitations placed on these rights in order to protect the rights of others and of the wider community.

The specific Articles of the ECHR relevant to planning include Article 6 (Right to a fair and public hearing), Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence), Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination) and Article 1 of Protocol 1 (Right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions and protection of property). 


The Glossary is neither a statement of law nor an interpretation of the law, and its status is only an introductory guide to planning issues and should not be used as a source for statutory definitions.