Burness Paull has appointed a new partner as it strives to capitalise on growing demand from specialist planning advice, particularly from the renewable energy and real estate sectors.

The Scottish law firm said Emma Paton brings “considerable” experience of contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental work, including consenting advisory, contract negotiation, planning aspects of due diligence, public inquiries and appeals.

With expertise in a range of sectors, Ms Paton has a “strong” focus on renewable energy, having advised on onshore renewable generation technologies and offshore wind developments across the UK. She has also spent time on secondment with the renewables arms of two major UK energy companies and the Scottish Government’s energy consent unit as its technical manager, delivering on strategic projects.

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Ms Paton, who was formerly a director at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “I am excited to be joining Burness Paull, which has a longstanding reputation for the quality of its work and strength of its culture. It’s an ambitious and growing firm, and I look forward to playing my part as we work to deliver for clients and pursue our strategic objectives.”

Alasdair Sutherland, partner and head of planning at Burness Paull, said: “Planning is a key stage at the outset of all major development projects and is vital to unlocking the much-needed new homes, commercial construction and renewable energy capacity required to grow the economy and meet net zero targets.

“We have seen a sharp increase in demand for planning advice, driven principally by rising investment in grid infrastructure and capacity across the full range of energy projects, including onshore and offshore wind, solar, energy storage, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage.

“Emma is a true market leader in energy consenting. She has enviable technical skills and experience that sets her apart and will greatly increase our ability to help clients deliver these exciting projects.”

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Peter Lawson, chair at Burness Paull, said: “As a full-service law firm, we are committed to supporting our clients during the entire life cycle of renewable energy and other infrastructure projects.

“Our expert planning team is a key part of that, working alongside colleagues in practice areas such as corporate finance, energy, construction, and real estate to advise clients on the full spectrum of commercial opportunities and risks to their businesses.

“We anticipate that demand for specialist planning advice is only going to grow as we tackle climate change and accelerate towards net zero deadlines. Emma will play a major role in the expansion and development of our offering.”