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Speaker Biographies

George Baxter

Director of Development


George Baxter is Director of Development at renewable energy operator and developer GreenPower International, one of Scotland’s leading independent renewable energy companies with high growth ambitions in wind, solar, hydro and a range of emerging technologies. He joined GreenPower in 2019 after 12 years at SSE Renewables where he held the posts of Head of Development Strategy and Head of Strategic Relations playing a key role in SSE’s consents and construction pipeline of over 3.5GW of renewable energy and storage projects, working across the development portfolio in the areas of planning, policy development, consenting and strategy. Prior to this he was Head of Media and Communications with the Green Group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, and prior to that worked for WWF Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Neil Collar

Partner / 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.

Claire Mack

Chief Executive

Scottish Renewables

Claire has been Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, the representative voice of Scotland’s renewable energy industry, since October 2017. She is responsible for leading the organisation’s work to grow Scotland’s renewables sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.

Claire is a member of the First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board and the Renewables Industry Advisory Group, co-chaired by Scotland’s Energy Minister.

Before joining Scottish Renewables, Claire was Director of Policy and Place at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. She has previously worked in various roles at Ofcom in Scotland, focusing on economic regulation of telecoms, radio spectrum and the mail market while also looking at developing digital participation of individuals and businesses.

Prior to this Claire worked in retail and the construction industry as well as on regulation of regional broadcasting in the Borders and North East of England.

Jo Phillips


Optimised Environments

Jo Phillips is dual qualified as landscape architect and urban designer, and is an Associate of Optimised Environments Limited (OPEN). Prior to her joining the OPEN in early 2010 she was an Associate Director at AECOM Design + Planning (formerly EDAW). She has worked with other members of OPEN for over nine years through their transition from Lovejoy to EDAW and now as OPEN.

The past fourteen years of working experience have been spent covering a wide range of projects, including landscape and visual impact assessment, urban regeneration, townscape appraisals, design guidance and design training.

In respect of urban design projects, Jo’s role has been to manage and co-ordinate significant urban regeneration and masterplan proposals. This has required a thorough understanding of the role of urban design in respect of the planning and economic context and appreciation of the importance of process to secure successful implementation. Jo has developed an approach based on good communication and inclusion to engender a sense of ownership and ensure on-going success. Jo has also been involved in Design Awareness Training and the preparation of an Urban Design Distance Learning Course.

Jo has also been involved in the preparation and management of landscape and visual impact assessments (LVIA) as part of the ES process, for both wind farm developments and urban expansions, and townscape appraisals for city centre developments. She has also acted as a consultant to Scottish Natural Heritage in respect of wind farm developments.