Participatory land use planning and the ecosystem approach: what, when and how

Participatory planning process in the Pentland Hills. Credit: Collingwood Environmental Planning

CPD-level training day

This event has been postponed until September 2017 and will take place in Glasgow. To register your interest, contact us at

Why this topic matters

In many countries around the world, participatory land use planning is a well-established approach to making descisions about the use and management of land, water and natural resources. The approach is intended to transform the way in which local communities and organisations are involved in these decisions. The aim is to achieve more ‘sustainable’ outcomes for everyone.

Forward-thinking public policies adopted by governments in the UK provide the mandate for increased application of participatory land use planning in the UK. Examples are the current Land Use Strategy for Scotland and the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Wales (Part 1 of the Environment Act - Wales, 2016), 

The ecosystem approach is a set of internationally-recognised principles for the holistic and inclusive management of the environment. It guides the application of the ecosystem service and natural capital concepts, both of which are increasingly popular and are beginning to be cited in local planning policies and management plans for special landscapes.

Participatory land use planning and the ecosystem approach focus on people, joined-up decisions and sustainable use and management of natural resources. As such, they are highly complementary. Professionals involved in land use planning and management need to know what these concepts mean in practice so they can work towards the best possible outcomes for the clients and local communities that they serve.

Date and venue

  • Glasgow, September 2017 - 10am - 4.30pm. 


Presentation and discussion of:

  • The context for participatory land use planning and the ecosystem approach
  • When might participatory land use planning be useful and why
  • Frameworks, tools and methods to put the approaches into practice
  • Case studies of participatory land use planning in rural and urban settings with group exercises tailored to participant interests

Who will the training benefit?

This training is designed to benefit professionals working in the following areas

  • Development planning and environmental planning
  • Urban design
  • Landscape management and design (e.g. national park authorities, AONB officers / planners, HLF Landscape Partnership managers / development officers)
  • River catchment management and flood risk management
  • Private estate management
  • Specific natural resource sectors (e.g. forestry, water resources)

Why participate?

  1. Land use issues in the UK often involve complex management issues, involving consideration of multiple public and private interests in land and water. These can only be fully understood and managed through dialogue and deliberation with the people and organisations who understand, depend on and care about those places.
  2. Economic drivers and regulatory / subsidy regimes often provide insufficient support, incentive or regulation to deliver an optimal mix of land uses that can meet wider societal needs or the needs of a given place.  'Bottom-up', participatory planning processes can help to identify shared values and objectives, leading to consensus on a desired land use strategy and better outcomes overall.  
  3. The ecosystem approach underpins public policy across the UK, including the Land Use Strategy for Scotland and the principles for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Wales.
  4. Involving local communities and interested parties in positive dialogue about land and water can lead to better outcomes for everyone.

Key learning outcomes

  • An appreciation of the key drivers for using participatory land use planning approaches
  • An understanding of the main situations and contexts where participatory land use planning and the ecosystem approach together can add value
  • An overview of key tools and frameworks for use in participatory land use planning based on the ecosystem approach

Course materials

All participants will receive copies of the presentations and other course materials for their own personal use after the event.


Dr Bill Sheate

Technical Director of Collingwood Environmental Planning and Reader in Environmental Assessment at Imperial College London. Bill has worked, lectured and published widely on environmental assessment and policy for over 30 years. He has been an expert advisor to the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, various national governments, WWF, RSPB, CPRE, the National Trust and many others.

Dr Peter Phillips

Associate RTPI, Senior Consultant at Collingwood Environmental Planning and guest lecturer in environmental planning and research methods at the University of Strathclyde.  Peter has been involved in research, practice and policy-development for all aspects of sustainable land use for many years.  He has developed new methodological frameworks for ecosystems approach based urban land use planning, designed and delivered tools and techniques for participatory land use planning, evaluated UK and Scottish Government land use policies and assessed EU datasets and tools for use in strategic ecosystem assessment. 

Continuing Professional Development

The course, involving five hours of tuition time may be used towards CPD credits. Certificates of attendance will be available on request.

Prices and booking

Bookings for the September event will open soon.

Early bird bookings:

  • Special rate ticket (public sector and third sector organisations) - £195
  • Regular ticket (open to all organisations) - £265

Regular bookings:

  • Special rate ticket (public sector and third sector organisations) - £215
  • Regular ticket (open to all organisations) - £285

Booking terms and conditions

Refunds will be given for bookings cancelled up to 20 working days before either event, less an administration fee of £50.  After this date, no refunds will be given.

Names of delegates within any one organisation can be changed free of charge up to five working days before the course date.

In the event of one or other trainer not being available, an appropriate subsitute will be provided.