Planning in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP is best known for its extensive public sector client roster though is also frequently instructed by notable developers and other private sector clients in high-profile projects, some of which involve environmentally sensitive locations, such as Loch Hourn. Aberdeen-based Elaine Farquharson-Black has a particular focus on the housebuilding sector, and handles a mixture of housing and mixed-use developments; she heads up the practice alongside the Edinburgh-based Neil Collar, whose strength lies in renewable energy projects. Karen Hamilton (Glasgow) assists local authorities promoting various infrastructure projects, with a focus on compulsory purchase orders and compensation matters.

Practice head(s):

Neil Collar; Elaine Farquharson-Black

Other key lawyers:

Karen Hamilton; Niall McLean


‘Their attention to detail is exemplary and they are on top of everything that’s going on in the planning world. They adapt and inform immediately of any changes to planning laws or potential issues. Can’t recommend them highly enough.’

‘Neil Collar is a consummate professional and leader in his field. He has worked with us on a very challenging planning application and has achieved excellent results. He is thorough, calm and has a wonderful ability to explain very complex legal jargon in layman’s terms.’

‘High level of expertise across all planning issues.’

‘Karen Hamilton understands the needs of her client and offers considered and concise advice in tight timescales.’

‘Elaine Farquharson-Black is an exceptional solicitor in the planning and compulsory purchase field. Her connections and understanding of the area along with the ability to create and find solutions make her our go-to planning lawyer.’

‘Elaine Farquharson-Black is an exceedingly knowledgeable and driven solicitor who continually exceeds expectations in the delivery solutions.’

‘Very knowledgeable, personable, experienced and professional team who can navigate the planning system both from a legal and practical perspective in a very user friendly and timely manner.’

‘We consider Neil Collar to be the finest legal mind with regards to onshore renewables in Scotland. We find his experience, insight and strategic approach invaluable to delivering our work.’

Key clients

Scotia Homes

Stewart Milne Homes

First Endeavour

CALA Homes

KR Developments


Thomson Quarries

Banks Renewables


Mowi Scotland Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised KR Developments on an appeal to the Scottish Ministers against refusal of a built-to-rent scheme by the Glasgow City Council.
  • Advising Mowi Scotland Limited on an appeal to the Scottish Ministers against refusal by the Highland Council of permission for installation of larger pens and an increase of 250 tonnes in permitted biomass at its existing fish farm at Loch Hourn.
  • Assisting Energiekontor with obtaining planning permission for four wind farm sites, totalling 190MW of electricity generation capacity.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn‘s dedicated planning lawyers are specialists in residential developments and energy sector infrastructure projects, with recent instructions including a number of planning appeals, section 75 agreements and transactions requiring the firm’s broader environmental expertise. Edinburgh-based duo Colin Innes and Ewan MacLeod head the practice, which also includes residential sector expert Fraser Mitchell, who re-joined from Shoosmiths in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Colin Innes; Ewan MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Scott McCallum; Fraser Mitchell; Moray Thomson


‘We have always been very impressed with the service Fraser Mitchell provides.’

‘Very capable and experienced team of pragmatic individuals.’

‘Moray Thomson has been a strong guiding light to our planning endeavours for over two decades.’

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

Miller Homes


ScottishPower Group of Companies

Crosswind Developments Limited


Hallam Land Management Limited

Aldi Stores


West Craigs

Work highlights

  • Advised Taylor Wimpey on the property development of a new town in East Lothian, a significant residential development in Scotland.
  • Advising Statkraft on the refusal of planning permission for their Greener Grid Project at Neilston in Renfrewshire.
  • Advising Ørsted Power UK Limited on the interfaces with the Net Zero Teeside Carbon Capture and Storage Project, including an objection to the Net Zero Teeside DCO.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP‘s planning team is led by the Edinburgh-based Craig Whelton, an expert in the consenting of major infrastructure, residential and energy projects; it is a regular port of call to housebuilders, energy sector and strategic land clients on a range of matters, including planning applications, appeals and judicial reviews. The team also includes newly promoted senior associates Lynsey Reid, who acts on major developments across the UK, and Patrick Munro, an expert in offshore wind consenting matters.

Practice head(s):

Craig Whelton

Other key lawyers:

Lynsey Reid; Patrick Munro


‘The team dealt with a planning appeal very professionally.’

‘Craig Whelton and Lynsey Reid were attentive and reassuring when dealing with complex matters pertaining to a planning appeal.’

‘Key practice in the Scottish field that punches well above their weight in terms of numbers.’

‘Great expertise and business acumen.’

‘Craig Whelton has an exceptional ability to find right angle in cases.’

Patrick Munro and Lynsey Reid are highly capable and rising stars.’

Key clients


CALA Management Limited

West Craigs Limited


Avant Homes (Scotland) Limited

Northbank Farm Development Limited

National Highways

Loch Long Salmon Limited

Canal & River Trust

Wind 2 Limited

Kellas Midstream Limited

Glen Turner Limited

Gladman Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising Drax on the Cruachan 2 pumped storage hydro Scheme, which is a 400MW extension to the iconic Cruachan “Hollow Mountain” hydro scheme in Argyll, Scotland.
  • Continues to advise West Craigs Limited on the 1,400 house scheme in West Edinburgh, as well as a new primary school, healthcare centre and retail development.
  • Advising Harbour Energy on the Viking CCS carbon capture and storage project.


With Robin Hutchison (Edinburgh) and Mark McMurray (Glasgow) at the helm, CMS’s team in Scotland is a regular advisor to developers, energy companies and local authorities; it has particular expertise in the energy and infrastructure sectors but is also geared to handle major regeneration developments, including compulsory purchase orders, compensation and heritage planning issues. Elsewhere, the group handles judicial reviews, public inquiries and other contentious matters. Senior associate Keith Campbell is an essential contact in this space.

Practice head(s):

Robin Hutchison; Mark McMurray

Other key lawyers:

Keith Campbell; June Gilles


‘A strong planning team with complementary skills and access to a wider range of related skills including in depth knowledge and experience of commercial conveyancing in Scotland. There is also strong in-house support from the litigation department.’

‘Robin Hutchison has considerable expertise in the environmental aspects of planning law. His knowledge, skills and thoroughness of preparation can enable him to achieve successful outcomes that others might fail to do.’

‘Mark McMurray has the ability to draw out the best from a multidisciplinary team which is often necessary in complex planning and related cases.’

Key clients

Nuveen Real Estate

SSE plc


City of Edinburgh Council

EDF Energy Renewables


Community Windpower Limited

Electricity Supply Board (ESB)

Hargreaves Land

ScottishPower Renewables


Inch Cape Offshore Limited/Red Rock Power

Stirling Council

Kincardine Offshore Wind Limited

National Grid

North Lanarkshire Council

Renfrewshire Council


Trump International

Falkirk Council

Resources Unlimited LLP

Copenhagen Offshore Partners

Scottish Enterprise

East Dunbartonshire Council

AMP Energy

Work highlights

  • Lead planning advisor to SSE on over 5.6GW of onshore and offshore wind, including Strathy South, Seagreen 1A, and the Dogger Bank Zone.
  • Acting for Nuveen Real Estate on all planning, compulsory purchase and roads matters for the £1bn redevelopment of the St James Quarter.
  • Advising Falkirk Council on the Grangemouth Flood Protection Scheme.

Morton Fraser MacRoberts

Morton Fraser MacRoberts‘s planning expertise in the contentious sphere includes public local inquiries, most of which concern the construction of major road schemes, as well as compulsory purchase orders and judicial reviews. Team head and litigation expert Douglas Milne is an essential contact in this space alongside commercial litigator Kenneth Carruthers, both of whom are often supported by senior associate Cameron Greig. Also integral to the practice is Rory Alexander, namely for his experience in housing and regeneration projects, including planning agreements and appeals, compulsory purchase orders, and consenting work.

Practice head(s):

Douglas Milne

Other key lawyers:

Kenneth Carruthers; Rory Alexander; Cameron Greig


‘Knowledgeable and easy to contact, offering sound advice in a manner that’s easily understood and managed.’

‘Rory Alexander and the wider team are always proactive and focused on delivering the service required.’

Key clients

Transport Scotland

Wildland Limited

Tesco Stores Limited

Ministry of Defence

Historic Environment Scotland

Moray Council


City of Edinburgh Council


Persimmon Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Transport Scotland in the public local inquiries held for the £3bn dualling of the A9 trunk road from Perth to Inverness.
  • Acting for the City of Edinburgh Council on a £1bn residential development at East of Millburn Tower, Edinburgh.
  • Acting for Parabola Limited on the development of Edinburgh Park, securing planning consent for over 1m square feet of office development, over 2000 housing units, extensive parking, hotel, retail and related land uses.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Working in close collaboration with the firm’s other UK offices, Pinsent Masons LLP‘s team in Scotland is renowned for handling renewable energy consenting projects, many of which involve a cross-border element. Property and consenting expert Jennifer Ballantyne (Glasgow) heads the practice, which also acts for housebuilders and developers on planning applications, appeals and agreements for strategic land sites. Other recommended individuals include Gordon McCreath (Glasgow) and Gary McGovern (Edinburgh) for their energy, infrastructure and housing specialism.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Ballantyne

Other key lawyers:

Gordon McCreath; Gary McGovern; James Gibson; Amy Stirling


‘Exceptionally thorough, with highly specialist knowledge of the renewable energy sector.’

‘Extremely adept at analysing complex issues and finding appropriate solutions.’

‘Gordon McCreath and Amy Stirling are both very impressive, having an eye for detail but also the bigger picture.’

Key clients

Berwick Bank Wind Limited

Morven Offshore Wind Ltd

Thistle Wind Partners

Ossian Offshore Wind Limited

Buchan Offshore Wind Limited


Glenmucklock Pumped Storage Hydro Ltd

RWE Renewables UK Onshore Wind Ltd

Affinity Water

Cambridge Water

Seagreen Wind Energy Limited

CALA Group

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd

Barratt Homes/David Wilson Homes


The Pilkington Trust

Robertson Homes Limited

GreenPower Ltd


Forth Ports

Work highlights

  • Advice to SSE Renewables on the Berwick Bank offshore wind farm, a 4.1GW project in the outer Firth of Forth.
  • Advising Forth Ports on planning and marine licensing for the Port of Leith Renewable Energy Hub, a riverside marine berth capable of accommodating offshore wind installation vessels.
  • Providing consenting advice to multiple offshore wind developers on various ScotWind sites, with a combined capacity approaching 10GW.

Addleshaw Goddard

The Glasgow-based Sarah Baillie heads up Addleshaw Goddard‘s planning and infrastructure team; she is also an essential contact within the firm’s power sector work, which reflects her strong profile in energy consenting matters. The team, which also includes the Edinburgh-based legal director Fiona Gordon, acts for private and public sector clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious planning matters, including retail, housing, mixed-use and regeneration developments.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Baillie

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Gordon


‘Sarah Baillie is widely experienced in planning law. She works effectively and in a relaxed manner to produce desired outcomes and inspire client confidence.’ 

‘Astute and commercially minded individuals with a broad range of experience and expertise across planning and development specialisms.’

‘Pragmatic, straight-talking and solution focused.’

‘I am regularly impressed by the desire to cut through unnecessary procedures to find the most appropriate, robust and easiest solution to challenges.’

‘Fiona Gordon provides excellent assistance where appropriate, and is proactive, client-focused and driven to find the best solution.’

Key clients

SSEN Transmission plc

SSE Renewables

Scotland Gas Networks plc

Alcemi Storage Developments UK Group of Companies

Scottish National Investment Bank

Aldi Stores Limited

Robertson Property

Redrock Power


Clackmannanshire Council

Strawson Holdings

Legal & General

Highlands & Islands Airports Limited

Murray Group

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Alcemi Storage Developments UK Limited on consenting matters across a £5bn portfolio of commercial energy storage developments, with a mission to facilitate a zero-carbon power system.
  • Assisting Aldi Stores Ltd with the development of new stores, including advising on judicial reviews and drafting planning agreements and appeals to the Scottish Ministers.
  • Ongoing advice to Strawson Holdings Limited / Omnivale Limited on all Scottish sites, including a long-running appeal against a refusal of permission for housing by Fife Council.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern is a regular advisor to public sector players, developers, utility providers and private clients on a range of planning matters across the housing, retail, leisure, transport and energy sectors. Practice head Alastair McKie‘s expertise can be seen in compulsory purchase orders and compensation matters, as well as public inquiries, judicial reviews and planning appeals; the team’s contentious work is often handled in collaboration with the firm’s property litigation group. Legal director Chris Devlin is noted for his housing and renewable energy specialism.

Practice head(s):

Alastair McKie

Other key lawyers:

Chris Devlin


‘Detailed planning knowledge with a positive approach to matters. The friendly and accommodating attitude of the team continues to deliver against client expectations.’

‘A practice that solve problems and go above and beyond to help deliver a project.’

‘Chris Devlin is exceptional with detailed planning knowledge and attention to detail.’

Key clients

Shetland Space Centre Ltd

Edinburgh Airport Limited

East Lothian Council

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

Eurowind A/S

Walker Group

Springfield Properties


The City of Edinburgh Council

Buccleuch Estates

The Coal Authority

Chemring Energetics UK Ltd

Victoria Square Woking Limited

Livos Energy

Ross Estates Company

Pow of Inchaffray Commissioners

Dundas Estates


Work highlights

  • Advice to Fife Council on their contested compulsory purchase order regarding the Glenwood Centre in Glenrothes, Fife.
  • Advising Edinburgh Airport Ltd on a major planning appeal relating to the refusal by the City of Edinburgh Council for a new primary vehicular and active travel route access to the airport.
  • Acting for the National Park Authority (NPA) in respect of a judicial review brought by Gartmore House, seeking to quash the adoption by the NPA of its core paths plan.

Burness Paull LLP

Under the leadership of solicitor advocate Alasdair Sutherland, Burness Paull LLP has particular expertise in contentious planning matters; its workload ranges from planning appeals, including those against the refusal of planning permissions, to judicial reviews and SEPA objections. On the non-contentious side, the team provides assistance with residential and mixed-use developments as well as with infrastructure projects. Much of the team's recent work stems from the housebuilding and renewable energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Alasdair Sutherland

Other key lawyers:

Emma Dewar; Steven Stewart


‘Personable and knowledgeable team. They anticipate any issues before they arise and deal with them before they become a problem. Each discipline is represented well by articulate members. A joy to work with.’

‘Alastair Sutherland is straightforward and knowledgeable. He guides us through the many planning issues that we have.’ John Sinclair – the most commercially astute solicitor that i have worked with which makes our life easy!’

‘Accessible and available with sound advice given.’

‘Alasdair Sutherland is always on hand with trustworthy and reliable advice.’

‘Responsive service with excellent variety and depth of planning knowledge.’

‘Proactive and willing to provide informal views where necessary.’

‘Emma Dewar works diligently and offers sound professional planning advice.’

‘Alistair Sutherland is outstanding. He has considerable experience and knowledge of both planning law but also how the systems work and how to interact with the planning officers of various planning authorities.’

Key clients

Robertson Group

DDR (UK) Limited

Carmichael Homes

Destiny Scotland Limited

TJ Morris Limited

Ogilvie Homes Limited

Ashley Vintners (Strathclyde) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ogilvie Homes Limited in a successful Court of Session appeal by West Lothian Council against the Scottish Ministers’ decision to grant planning permission to Ogilvie for a housing development at Hens Nest Road, East Whitburn.
  • Advised DDR (UK) Limited on a planning appeal against Fife Council’s refusal of permission for a mixed-use development at the Prestonhill Quarry site near Inverkeithing, Fife.
  • Advised TJ Morris Limited on their appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the erection of a Home Bargains retail unit with an outdoor garden centre at Dunlin Drive, Dunfermline.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP is a regular advisor to landowners, public sector clients, and energy and infrastructure providers. The team is led by the Edinburgh-based Colin Hamilton, whose planning and environmental expertise ranges from planning applications to appeals and judicial reviews. Elsewhere, Sandy Telfer (Glasgow) is equipped to guide large-scale housing developments through relevant planning processes.

Practice head(s):

Colin Hamilton

Other key lawyers:

Sandy Telfer; Nadia White


‘A connected and experienced team providing clear advice.’

‘Colin Hamilton provided excellent commercial advice and was backed up by an efficient team.’

Key clients


Viking Energy Wind Farm

SSE Renewables

Berwick Bank Wind Farm Limited

Dundee City Council

Crematoria Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Viking Wind Farm on all aspects of the £1bn 450MW windfarm development.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

With the Edinburgh-based director Jacqueline Cook at the helm, Davidson Chalmers Stewart is capable within both the non-contentious and contentious planning spheres. The team is geared to support on renewable energy projects, including those pertaining to onshore wind, as well as residential and mixed-use developments, which often involve planning agreements, obligations and appeals, among other contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Cook

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Court; Stephanie Mackenzie


‘Jacqueline Cook is always very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She is not afraid to provide honest advice, even if this does not meet what the client hoped to hear.’

‘Responsive and engaged.

‘This is a firm that has a strong reputation in the planning field, and rightly so.’

‘I found working with Jacqueline Cook to be a fantastic experience. She is informed, supportive, businesslike but approachable.’

Key clients

Peel NRE

Tartan Leisure Ltd

Chris Stewart Group



JW Muir Group PLC (incl Muir Homes Ltd, Hermiston Securities Ltd)

Lochay Homes Ltd

M & J Ballantyne

RT Overseas Settlement

Ogilvie Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Ogilvie on its successful appeal to the Court of Session against the Scottish Ministers’ repeated refusal of their housing proposals.
  • Advice to Peel Group on all its renewable energy projects in Scotland, including contract negotiation with third parties to ensure the satisfaction of pre-commencement planning conditions to enable development to begin.
  • Continuing to advise Tartan Leisure Limited on its leisure scheme that will deliver Scotland’s first artificial, inland surfing lagoon. This includes planning advice on consenting strategy, applications, EIA and planning obligations.

Harper Macleod LLP

Although best known for its extensive public sector client roster, Harper Macleod LLP‘s planning and environment team is a go-to for housebuilders and energy sector players across various planning matters. Peter Ferguson (Glasgow) anchors the group’s non-contentious offering, which has included a number of renewable energy projects, while Jennifer Jack (Edinburgh) is an essential contact for contentious matters, such as judicial reviews, planning appeals and inquiries into the decisions of public authorities, regulators, courts and other tribunals.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ferguson; Jennifer Jack

Other key lawyers:

Calum Gee


‘Strong background in advising public sector clients, offering cost-effective advice and representation.’

‘Jennifer Jack and Peter Ferguson are very experienced with sound judgement and a personable manner.’

‘Jennifer Jack is a very prominent public law specialist who has recently appeared in many high-profile planning inquiries. She quite correctly has received many professional accolades in the past.’

‘Peter Ferguson is always keen to help out.’

‘Very experienced and capable team.’

‘Peter Fergusson offers excellent pragmatic advice.’

‘Jennifer Jack is a very good public lawyer.’

‘Calum Gee is a rising star.’

Key clients


Marine Scotland

Forestry and Land Scotland

Cairngorms National Park Authority

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Moray Council

The Highland Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Orkney Islands Council

Fife Council

Glasgow City Council

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Greenpeace UK

Fred Olsen Renewables


Capital Dynamics

Octopus Energy


Maple Power Limited

Metka EGN Ltd

Statkraft UK

Green Power

Advance Grid Solutions

St Andrews University

MCR Property Group

Scotia Homes

Capper Developments

Persimmon Homes

Halfords Group

Hillhouse Quarry Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners on the planning and environmental aspects of the acquisition of a consented 210MW pumped storage hydro and 33.6MW renewable energy scheme at Glenmuckloch.|
  • Represented NatureScot at a public local inquiry regarding the proposed Clauchrie Wind Farm.
  • Advised Centrica on the acquisition of a 30MW energy storage system in Dyce, Aberdeenshire.


Drawing on its close collaboration with the firm’s wider real estate practice, Shoosmiths’ strength lies in advising national housebuilders on residential developments. Practice head Geraint Hughes, who was promoted to principal associate in September 2022, handles both contentious and non-contentious planning matters; his client roster further includes strategic landowners, national retailers, financers, and leisure and tourism operators.

Practice head(s):

Geraint Hughes


‘Shoosmiths strike a good balance between providing legal advice and providing a commercial view on risks involved. They are very proactive in providing such advice and helping with decisions that need to be made around land purchase and building contracts.’

Key clients

Graham’s the Family Dairy Limited

Welsh Power

Watkin Jones

Bellway Homes

Dunbar Golf Club

Coppergreen Developments

Boots UK Limited

Revolution Bars Group

Robertson Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Welsh Power in connection with planning agreements to secure the release of planning permissions for two Synchronous Condenser developments at Thurso and Neilston.
  • Advised Bellway Homes on the negotiation and conclusion of planning agreements, playing a key role in the delivery of 2,238 homes across Scotland.
  • Advised Coppergreen Investments Limited, owners of 4 holiday lodge parks, on the £91m sale of the Coppergreen brand and property to a UK holiday resort operator backed by CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII.