I retired from the post of Assistant Chief Planner in the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division in 2013. During my time in Scottish government, I led the teams which prepared Scotland’s first and second National Planning Frameworks. I was also active in promoting links between the Celtic and the Baltic countries and a member of the British-Irish Council’s Working Group on Collaborative Spatial Planning.
I have many years of experience in the development of strategic planning policy, development management, the assessment of development policies and proposals, and stakeholder engagement.
I have a strong background in urban regeneration and rural development issues and a keen interest in community empowerment and sustainable environmental management.
I have a B.Sc. in Botany from the University of Aberdeen and a Diploma in Town and Country Planning from Heriot-Watt University. In 1988 I was awarded a Ph.D. for my research on the work of the pioneer Scottish planner, Sir Frank Mears.
During the 1990s, I was a Director of the environmental charity, Reforesting Scotland, and served on the John Muir Trust’s Land Management Committee. I am a Founder of Carrifran Wildwood project.
Between 1977 and 1979 I was a Research Assistant to the SNP Parliamentary Group at Westminster. From 1982 to 1984 I was a member of the Editorial Board of the magazine, Radical Scotland.
Between 2014 and 2018 I served as Chair of the Built Environment Forum Scotland. In the autumn of 2019, I advised the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly for Wales on the Welsh Government's draft National Development Framework 2020 - 2040.
I am a member of the UK2070 Commission on regional inequalities, a Director of the Sir Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust, and a member of the RSPB's Advisory Committee for Scotland. I advise Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign on planning matters.