LINK’s Planning Group works to ensure that the Scottish land use planning system contributes to a more environmentally sustainable society.

LINK’s Planning Group works to ensure that the Scottish land use planning system contributes to a more environmentally sustainable society.

The Planning Group has a number of active members, a full list is shown below.


Clare Symonds


Charles Nathan (RSPB)

Staff liaison


The Group contributed to the Independent Panel’s review of the planning system and engaged with the Planning Bill. It supports Planning Democracy’s campaign for an Equal Right of Appeal for communities.




LINK also does work aligned with the Planning Group, on Hilltracks.

At present tracks that are for agricultural and forestry purposes do not require a full planning application. Instead, they benefit from what are known as “Permitted Development Rights” (PDRs). LINK members have campaigned for many years for tracks like these to be brought fully into the planning system. Some examples can be seen in our photo gallery

In 2014 the law was changed to require landowners to give what is known as “Prior Notification” to planning authorities that they intend to build or modify a track. We published a report “Changing Tracks” in September 2018 which considered how effective these changes have been in stopping the building of damaging tracks. You can read the report and its recommendation that PDRs be removed from agricultural tracks here

Please contact Beryl Leatherland or Helen Todd for more information.

Latest News

Ten Thousand Years of Cities. Time to get them right.

11 Nov 2021

A blog by Professor James Curran MBE, Honorary Fellow of Scottish Environment LINK.    To mark the COP26 Presidency Theme ‘Cities, regions and built environments’, James shares his vision of revitalised towns and cities which emphasise the health, social and cultural benefits of living in sustainable places which are connected to nature.   Patrick Geddes, […]

National Planning Framework needs ‘teeth’ to deliver for nature, climate and communities warn charities

10 Nov 2021

Today’s publication of the 10-year National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) is a missed opportunity to futureproof our natural environment in the face of the climate and nature crisis, says Scottish Environment LINK. While the focus of the draft NPF4 on meeting Scotland’s net zero by 2045 target is hugely welcome, its ambition does not go far enough to set out how its policies will deliver the restoration of Scotland’s nature […]

Scotland’s environment community urge Scottish Government to take a transformative approach to planning

22 Feb 2021

Scotland’s new National Planning Framework (NPF4) needs to take us to net-zero and support nature’s recovery – but transformative change is lacking in the Scottish Government’s Position Statement   Scottish Environment LINK members are calling on the Scottish Government to develop a NPF4 that truly delivers the transformative change needed for Scotland to secure its […]

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