MacKay Hannah

Understanding Scotland's New Planning Act: What do you need to know about the new planning system?


Stefano Smith FRTPI

Planning Director, WYG

Stefano is a commercial and pragmatic development planner with a strong customer focus. Stefano has nearly 30 years of UK professional experience of managing multi-disciplinary teams within a planning, environmental, design and engineering consultancy.

He has extensive experience in providing development planning and project management services in the environment, infrastructure, energy, commercial, industrial, housing and mixed-use sectors. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (FRTPI) with experience in statutory planning (including approvals & consents and expert witness), sustainability, regeneration, master planning & urban design, consultation & engagement strategies and tools & development economics. He is a seasoned practitioner in stakeholder engagement and the development of communication strategies, as well as the use of appraisal and assessment tools.

Stefano has successfully advised, negotiated, and delivered complex land development and infrastructure projects of ranging sizes. He has worked in both the private and public sectors, particularly pertaining to the principles and practice of the economics of urban regeneration, land development, sustainability, urban design, complex environmental assessment, and project management.

WYGGroup StefanoSmith15

Petra Biberbach

Chief Executive, PAS

Petra Biberbach is Chief Executive of award-winning national charity, PAS. With a career spanning public, private and third sector, Petra brings a wealth of expertise to the post in the fields of planning, sustainable development, renewable energy, community engagement and research.

Petra is serving her second term as a board member of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority and was elected as Convenor of the Planning Committee. She is the Vice Chair of LINK Group and a non-executive director at Zero Waste Scotland. Petra served on the Independent Review of the Scottish Planning System.

Petra has one daughter and one son. She enjoys golf, gardening, cycling, art and still singing along to Leonard Cohen!

PAStweets  Biberbach

Anne Donaghy

Chief Executive, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Anne Donaghy was appointed Chief Executive of the newly formed Mid & East Antrim Borough Council in 2015, having been Chief Executive of the former Ballymena Borough Council since 2009.

With over 15 years’ experience in leadership roles in local government, Anne leads the strategic direction of the Council, working closely with elected members to ensure the highly efficient and effective running of council business.

Since its formation in 2015 following local government reform in Northern Ireland, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council has won numerous awards and has consistently led the way in Northern Ireland for its delivery of services – including planning, recycling, the protection and enhancement of the natural environment, and a wide range of other frontline provisions.

Anne is passionate and ambitious about growing the economy in the Borough and wider Northern Ireland, with planning processes prioritised as a key factor in attracting inward investment and business development. She is a key figure and Board Member of The Gallaher Trust – a charitable fund to support job creation and skills development in Mid & East Antrim.

Anne sits on a number of regional and UK steering bodies and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Institute of Public Health and the Institute of Directors (IoD). She was appointed the first female Chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) in 2016-2017 and is the lead on disability strategy. She is also a mentor on the Chief Executives’ Forum in Northern Ireland.

As the mother of a child with special needs, Anne is a strong advocate and campaigner for children and adults living with disability and/or complex needs in Northern Ireland. She is a Governor at Castle Tower School in Ballymena and is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Niamh Louise Foundation, a charity which provides prevention, intervention and postvention services to anyone affected by mental illness, self-harm and/or suicide.


Ross Martin

Adviser on Regional Economies, Scottish Government

Strengthening Scotland's economic narrative and offer through the enablement and encouragement of Regional Economic Partnerships to design, develop and deliver Inclusive Growth, by better aligning their fiscal, legislative and regulatory contexts, e.g. through the fusion of the capital based interventions of City & other Growth Deals with the reforming revenue potential now being realised through implementation of the Enterprise & Skills Review and the promise of Planning Reform.


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The conference had a wide range of speakers covering different aspects of likely new planning legislative procedures. I took something from all the speakers. It was a very interesting conference - both beneficial and informative. All speakers spoke well and contributed to a whole range of matters from different perspectives with their specific fields of expertise. My main interests were presented and debated well.

Charles Johnston, Scottish Borders Council,
Delegate at Planning in Scotland Conference 2017

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