Planning decisions impact the lives of every person, every day.


Town and country planning is fundamental to creating high-quality places. It plays a key role in achieving sustainable communities and a sustainable economy.

Burness Paull's planning team comprises specialist planning and environmental lawyers. With extensive public and private sector experience in all aspects of planning law, policy and practice, we advise from project inception through to implementation. We regularly advise on some of the largest and most controversial developments in the country, and have a broad range of clients from multinationals to individuals.

The team is widely recognised for its expertise in major infrastructure and energy developments (particularly in the oil and gas and renewables sectors), housebuilding, retail, compulsory purchase and negotiation of planning obligations. We are regularly brought in as key members of the development team at the outset of a project, to provide tactical planning advice to clients and other professional advisers.

The firm's planning lawyers also have specialist experience and knowledge of environmental law, policy and practice. This includes advising developers, private individuals and public bodies on contaminated land, waste disposal, PPC Permits, CAR licences, hazardous substances and invasive species issues. We also evaluate environmental risks and issues arising from development proposals ahead of purchase of a site in addition to reviewing and compiling environmental statement information in support of planning applications for development.

Our planning lawyers advise on:

  • Strategic and local development plan process (LDP)
  • Making representations to planning authorities on the content of emerging development plans, including challenging the content and lawfulness of adopted plans
  • Submission of planning applications both directly and as part of a wider professional team
  • Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulation Assessment review
  • Reviewing the technical supporting survey report information to ensure compliance with the statutory regulations and compiling non-technical summaries
  • Planning and enforcement appeals and local reviews
  • Pursuing appeals to the Scottish Ministers and ‘Local Review Bodies’ against the refusal of planning permission and the service of enforcement notices
  • Judicial reviews and challenges
  • Pursuing and defending planning and environmental challenges in court
  • Compulsory purchase (both acquiring authorities and landowners)
  • Advising authorities on the promotion of compulsory purchase orders, and acting for landowners affected by such orders – objecting and obtaining compensation
  • Environmental licensing, including marine licences
  • Advising on the licensing of activities onshore and in the sea or on the sea bed for developments, including offshore renewable and ports and harbour projects
  • Negotiation of planning obligations and agreements
  • Considering the developer obligations requested by authorities in respect of a proposed development and robustly challenging it, to ensure the appropriateness of the requests and then documenting the agreed planning obligation
  • Influencing the national policy agenda
  • Participating in national consultations and advising and encouraging clients depending on sector interests
  • Roads, sewers and other infrastructure
  • Negotiating and advising on the content of legal agreements required to secure new infrastructure