Planning Conference 2023 Speakers

  • Richard Baldwin

    Richard Baldwin

    Head of Consents & Environment, SSEN Transmission

    Richard Baldwin has been Head of Consents & Environment at SSEN Transmission for 8 years and has responsibility for developing and implementing the businesses consents and environmental strategies. He oversees a team that gains development and environmental consents for our large capital projects portfolio and was instrumental in driving forward the company's BNG approach and sustainability strategy. Richard started his career as an environmental regulator in SEPA focusing on waste, water and air emissions, has a background in environmental sciences, and a degree in Environmental Geography from Aberdeen University.

  • Rory Carmichael

    Rory Carmichael

    Development Project Manager, EDF Renewables

    Rory is a Chartered Environmentalist who has worked in onshore wind development in Scotland since 2011, progressing projects from initial site identification through to construction.

    He joined EDF Renewables UK and Ireland last year after 7 years consenting renewables, transmission and transport projects across the UK. Prior to that he developed onshore wind projects in Scotland in partnership with EDF Renewables which now has 10 operational onshore wind farms in Scotland consisting of around 500 MW with a current pipeline of around 1.5 GW.

  • Barry Carruthers

    Barry Carruthers

    Managing Director, Onshore UK & Ireland, ScottishPower Renewables

    Barry was recently appointed Managing Director for Onshore Renewables across the UK & Ireland at SPR. The move follows his leadership of ScottishPower’s activities in hydrogen across the UK and Ireland, as part of a global Hydrogen Division within the Iberdrola Group. His previous roles include Head of Corporate Innovation, Sustainability and Quality which led strategic activities in the decarbonisation of transport, heat and other emerging technologies, as well as corporate initiatives aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This followed several years in ScottishPower Renewables where Barry led activities in marine energy and wind innovations across the sector.

  • Neil Collar - Brodies LLP

    Neil Collar

    Head of Planning Law, Brodies LLP

    Experienced adviser, inquiry advocate, blogger, author and conference speaker - Neil Collar is one of Scotland's best known planning lawyers. His team at Brodies LLP were shortlisted for Planning magazine’s Planning Law Firm of the Year 2018. Neil has over 20 years’ experience of renewables projects and is a long standing member of Scottish Renewables planning group.

  • Cara Davidson

    Cara Davidson

    Head of Energy and Environment: Planning, Architecture & Regeneration Division, The Scottish Government

    Cara has 20 years planning experience, specialising in environmental and energy planning policy, regulation, and Environmental Assessment within the Scottish Government. Cara’s current role includes responsibility for supporting delivery of NPF4 energy and environment policies, and overseeing The Scottish Government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) team. Previous roles within The Scottish Government include Head of Development Management, with responsibility for national planning procedures, legislation, guidance, and practice. Cara began her planning career as EIA and HRA policy manager, and has a degree in Environmental Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh.

  • Scott Ferrie

    Scott Ferrie

    Chief Reporter, Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA), The Scottish Government

    Scott Ferrie is the Chief Reporter in The Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division. Since joining DPEA in 2007, Scott has determined and reported to Ministers on a wide range of casework, including onshore wind farms under the Planning Act and the Electricity Act. He now leads the Division, overseeing the work of approximately 46 Reporters and 23 Administrative staff.

  • Ruth Findlay

    Ruth Findlay

    Head of Energy Consents Unit, The Scottish Government

    Ruth leads the Energy Consents Unit that is responsible for processing applications for large scale onshore electricity generating stations and grid network infrastructure on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Prior to joining the Scottish Government in 2018, Ruth worked in South Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Council. Ruth is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) with over 15 years’ experience of the complexities and challenges with the consenting process of renewable energy infrastructure projects.

  • Mary Fisher

    Mary Fisher

    Partner - Landscape Planner & Expert Witness, Abseline

    Mary has over 20 years’ experience as a landscape architect, specialising in landscape and visual impact assessment and is an experienced expert witness. She has worked on a wide range of development projects at varied scales including housing and commercial projects, wind and solar farms, roads, flood defences, sculpture and major infrastructure across the UK. She has co-authored IEMA guidance relating to the integration of design and EIA, Landscape Institute (LI) guidance on the use of visualisations, has contributed to guidance regarding residential visual amenity assessment and is a member of the LI GLVIA Advisory Panel.

  • Euan Hutchison

    Euan Hutchison

    Consenting Associate Director, Locogen

    With 28 years of experience in the Scottish planning system, Euan has a lot to bring to the table. From knowledge working for Dumfries and Galloway Council as well as renewable companies Natural Power and now Locogen, he has a broad perspective on planning for renewables. Over the last 13 years Euan has consented over 1GW of onshore renewable generation in the UK and Ireland. In addition, he has been a member of the Scottish Renewables Planning Group since 2009 and regularly contributes to policy reviews affecting the renewables industry at a national and local level.

  • Kirsty MacArthur

    Kirsty MacArthur

    Director & Co-Owener, MacArthur Green

    A qualified lawyer, Kirsty’s love of the environment led her to pursue a career working in renewables. Prior to taking on the role at MacArthur Green, she worked as an Associate for Pinsent Masons’ Planning and Environment team and subsequently ScottishPower Renewables’ legal team.

  • Gary McGovern new

    Gary McGovern

    Planning & Environment Partner, Pinsent Masons

    Gary is a planning law specialist who works extensively across the UK in the energy and infrastructure sector and has nearly 18 years' experience promoting and advising on renewable projects including onshore and offshore wind, large-scale solar and battery storage, EfW, biomass and hydro (including pumped-storage hydro schemes). He has experience of promoting consent applications, appeals, examination and inquiries across a wide variety of regimes in different jurisdictions, including experience of the Electricity Act 1989 (section 36) and Planning Act 2008 (DCO regime), as well as the Town and Country Planning Acts in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. Gary is also a member of the RUK Aviation Working Group.

  • Lesley McNeil

    Lesley McNeil

    Head of Communications & Communities, Muirhall Energy

    Lesley has only been Head of Communications and Communities for Muirhall Energy since December 2022 but is enjoying engaging with industry and community groups and promoting the onshore wind sector. Prior to this she worked for The Scottish Government for 14 years across the Energy Consents Unit and Wind Energy Policy. Most recently, she was Head of Onshore Wind Policy and Development and led the team responsible for the Onshore Wind Policy Statement and other policy and technical matters relating to onshore wind. Lesley lives in Glasgow with her husband, two children and a greyhound named after a Greek god.

  • Mark Richardson 008

    Mark Richardson

    Senior Policy Manager – Onshore Wind & Consenting, Scottish Renewables

    Mark is Scottish Renewables’ Senior Policy Manager for Onshore Wind and Consenting. His work involves overseeing Scottish Renewables’ policy function for these areas, working on behalf of 300+ organisations to grow Scotland’s renewable energy sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.

    Prior to joining Scottish Renewables, Mark was driving the sustainability agenda below the surface throughout the luxury industry for several years, with a diverse international background spanning across Architecture, Aviation and Fine Art to Interior Design and Superyachts. Mark is a firm believer in the power of nature and a lifelong supporter of the greenest football team in the world, Forest Green Rovers.

  • Tony Rose

    Tony Rose

    Director of Strategy, Place & Economy, Scottish Futures Trust

    Tony is Director of Strategy, Place & Economy at Scottish Futures Trust (SFT). Tony is an MBA with 30 years infrastructure experience in both the public and private sectors across infrastructure planning, economics, development and financing. He joined SFT as a Director in 2009 and during his time with the organisation he has led teams with a focus on digital, energy, regeneration, place and transport. He also led the work of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland. He joined SFT from PwC where he was a Director in the Infrastructure Finance team advising on major infrastructure projects in the UK and overseas. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Lothian Buses.

  • Alison Sidgwick

    Alison Sidgwick

    Director of Onshore Planning & Environment, Natural Power

    Alison heads up the onshore consenting and environment team at Natural Power. She is a member of the RTPI. In recent years Alison has focused entirely on energy related developments including on and offshore wind farms, solar and battery energy storage developments. Alison, and Natural Power, advise clients in respect of matters relating to all stages of the life cycle of renewable energy projects including, site finding, feasibility studies, planning policy, EIAs, TCPA and Section 36 applications, planning agreements, appeals and inquiries, discharging conditions, due diligence, consents compliance, operational matters and decommissioning.

  • Andy Sloan

    Andy Sloan

    Project Development Director, Low Carbon

    Andy Sloan is the Project Development Director at Low Carbon which is recognised as one of the world’s leading B Corps for environmental impact. A renewable energy developer, with 15 years experience in both onshore and offshore wind, Andy has been responsible for developing and consenting some of the largest renewable projects across the UK and Ireland and has engaged with government and regulators in policy consultation relating to energy development and the drive to net Zero. Andy has a masters degree from Strathclyde University and is a member of the RICS and RTPI.

  • Alasdair Sutherland

    Alasdair Sutherland

    Partner and Solicitor Advocate – Head of Planning & Environment, Burness Paull

    Alasdair and his team at Burness Paull are key players in Scotland’s renewable energy sector. Advising on all aspects of project formation, funding and delivery. Alasdair has a strong track record of advising and representing clients on contentious and strategically important consenting matters. One of Scotland’s leading planning advocates, he represents clients at hearings and inquiries, and in court at all levels, including the Supreme Court.

  • Marcus Trinick

    Marcus Trinick KC

    Marcus has worked full time on renewables since the mid 1990s and has appeared as advocate at over 150 wind farm public inquiries since 1990. He was one of the authors of ETSU-R-97 on wind farm noise, sat on the DTI's Renewable Energy Advisory Group in the early 1990s, advised the Department which is now BEIS on the planning framework for offshore wind, was a Board member of RUK from 1994 until 2006, and was a Board member of Scottish Renewables subsequent to that. He was appointed Queens Counsel in 2010. Through nearly 450 onshore wind projects he has been exposed to all the legal and planning issues that can arise and even understands some of them. More recently, Marcus was heavily involved in efforts to convert the first draft of NPF4 into something acceptable to the industry. Marcus has his own legal practice and works from home.

  • Morag Watson 2022

    Morag Watson

    Director of Policy, Scottish Renewables

    Morag is Scottish Renewables’ Director of Policy. Her work involves overseeing Scottish Renewables’ policy function and key projects within Scotland’s leading renewables trade body, working on behalf of 300+ organisations to grow Scotland’s renewable energy sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.

    Morag has worked in policy for nearly 20 years and was previously a Senior Policy Officer with WWF Scotland, specialising in climate change, sustainable development and sustainability leadership.

  • Carolyn Wilson

    Carolyn Wilson

    Onshore Consents Team Manager, SSE Renewables

    Town planning professional with over 30 years’ experience in public and private sector. Experience in development management and enforcement within public sector across mixed development and infrastructure planning and consenting across the UK in the private sector, with a particular focus on the telecommunications and the energy industries. Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 1992. Experienced in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Project Management (APM Project Management Qualification). Significant planning appeal experience including acting as expert planning witness at Inquiry, Hearings and Development Plan Examinations. PAS volunteer and lead community engagement facilitator and trainer with over 20 years’ experience in delivering community and stakeholder engagement.

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