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.


Esmé Clelland, RSPB Scotland


Rosie Simpson, John Muir Trust

Staff liaison

Dan Paris


Juliet Caldwell


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


Reflecting on the National Planning Framework 4

28 Nov 2022

The Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4): revised draft was published 8 November 2022 and sets out a plan for Scotland to create sustainable, liveable and productive places to improve people’s lives.  Bruce Wilson, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Scottish Wildlife Trust, represented LINK when giving evidence to the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee […]


Last chance for planning reform to tackle the nature crisis

18 Aug 2022

A coalition of leading environmental charities has called on the Scottish Government to ensure imminent reforms to the planning system respond to the climate and nature emergencies. Scottish Environment LINK has said that the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) falls short of the action required to reverse the crisis of nature loss. 1 in […]


NPF4: can it transform our transport systems?

21 Mar 2022

By Malachy Clarke, Public Affairs Manager for Friends of the Earth Scotland and a member of LINK’s Planning Group. Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of climate emission, accounting for over one-third of all emissions. It will be impossible for the Scottish Government to meet their proposed 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 without taking radical […]

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