I retired from the post of Assistant Chief Planner in the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division in September 2013. During my time in Scottish government, I led the teams which prepared Scotland’s first and second National Planning Frameworks. 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 participation in development and environmental management. I have been active in promoting the exchange of good practice in spatial planning in the Celtic and Baltic countries and was a member of the British-Irish Council’s Working Group on Collaborative Spatial Planning.
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 and a Stakeholder in the Border Forest Trust’s Devil’s Beef Tub 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.
In December 2014 I was appointed Chairman of the Built Environment Forum Scotland. I am 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 and the Friends of Granton Castle Garden on planning matters and am currently on the Judging Panel for the Royal Town Planning Institute's 2016 Excellence in Planning Awards.