APRS Board

APRS Board

President of APRS

Patricia Macdonald

BSc PhD FRSE FSA(Scot) FRSA HonFRSGS HonFICS

Patricia is an environmental/cultural-landscape researcher, writer and academic (Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh) and an award-winning artist-photographer whose powerful, boundary-crossing environmental aerial imagery is commissioned, exhibited and published, and held in public and private collections, internationally in both fine-art and editorial contexts. She has authored/co-authored more than ten books and her work is widely discussed in other publications. She also has considerable experience in the museum/gallery and natural-heritage sectors, both as a staff member and at board level (Main Board and Scientific Advisory Committee, Scottish Natural Heritage; Trustee, John Muir Trust; Board Member, Stills Gallery).

Our Board

John Thomson (Chairman)

MA MSc FRSA

John studied history at Cambridge and economics at Bristol University. His long-standing interest in the environment and rural life took him from an early career in HM Treasury to senior posts in the Planning Inspectorate of the Department of the Environment and the Countryside Commission (England & Wales). After a spell as Head of the Town & Country Planning Policy Division in the then Scottish Office, he spent almost twenty years as a Director in Scottish Natural Heritage, leading its work in the fields of landscape, land and freshwater use, and planning and development. For much of this time he also led on recreation and access issues and oversaw SNH’s operations in the west of Scotland. He was for several years chair of the UK Countryside Recreation Network and the UK environmental agencies’ Land Use Policy Group. He also served as a Council member of Europarc, the Europe-wide network of National and Nature Parks. He is also Chairman of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks. He and his wife also run a small farm near Kirkcudbright, breeding and rearing black Galloway cattle. John is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Rebecca Hughes (Vice-Chair)

BSc MPhil CMLI FLI

Rebecca is a Chartered Landscape Architect who has worked as a landscape and environmental consultant and botanist across the UK and abroad. She spent 14 years as Head of Landscape and Restoration at Scottish Natural Heritage, leading its national landscape team and landscape character assessment programme. She acted as landscape expert witness for various public inquiries, including the proposed Harris superquarry. She graduated from Durham University in Botany and Geography and from Newcastle University in Landscape Design. She worked for The National Trust in Northumberland, the Lake District National Park and the Nature Conservancy Council, then set up a landscape consultancy, forestry and furniture making business in the Borders. She spent five years as Senior Lecturer in Environmental Design at Newcastle University. She has developed landscape and visual impact assessment methodology for various developments including the renewable energy industry, and has recently worked on biodiversity management planning and landscape restoration both in the UK and New Zealand.

Iain (Treasurer)

Iain was born and educated in Glasgow attending Hillhead Primary School and Hillhead High School before joining Royal Bank of Scotland in 1974. He qualified as a Chartered Banker (MCIBS) at Glasgow Caledonian University and in 1981 was transferred to Head Office working in the Bank’s Inspection and Fraud Department. and subsequently the Sponsorship and PR Department, where he was responsible for setting up the Bank’s Community Fund, heading up Internal Communications, responsibility for RBS’s commemorative banknotes and managing a multi million pound budget.

After early retirement Iain once again joined RBS for a further 2 years as a Senior Manager before finally retiring to enjoy more golf. He is currently Finance Convenor of Linlithgow Golf Club as well as an NTS volunteer and has been a member of APRS since 1994.

John Esslemont

BSc MPhil PG Dip UPA MRTPI

John grew up in rural Aberdeenshire and Angus before attaining a geography degree at Aberdeen University and a post graduate degree in regional planning at Glasgow University. He spent almost 40 years in local government as a strategic planner in the West of Scotland actively involved in strategic land use policy development within the Strathclyde area and latterly within Ayrshire where he managed the Ayrshire Joint Planning Unit. John is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a past convener of RTPI Scotland. He is married and lives in Rutherglen. He enjoys hill walking and skiing. John is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a past convener of RTPI Scotland. He is married and lives in Rutherglen. He enjoys hill walking and skiing.

Bob Reid

Bob Reid has been a Town and Country Planner for 45 years. He has studied and worked in all aspects of planning, from new towns, through Glasgow’s East End to its bustling City Centre. He has experience at planning directorate level with Grampian Region and then with Aberdeen City Council where he was Director of Planning.  He moved to the private sector in 2004 as Director of Planning at Halliday Fraser Munro.  He has been involved in a wide range of consultancy work across the whole of Scotland, in England and Northern Ireland. He was Convenor of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland 2012. Since 2016 Bob has taken on the role as Development Director for Wildland Limited, managing development projects across 11 Estates in Scotland ranging from Braeroy in the west to Kyle of Tongue in the far north. He retired from professional practice in 2022 – but continues to be involved in landscape and conservation work across Scotland.

Victoria Presly

Victoria grew up in the countryside of Aberdeenshire before heading to Aberdeen University to study Law. An avid long-distance trail runner, she spends most of her free time running around Scotland’s beautiful landscape with her two springer spaniels. Trail running has allowed Victoria to experience some of Scotland’s wildest and remotest trails, and as result she has a keen interest in APRS’s Scottish National Parks Strategy Project. She currently works as a lawyer in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.

Andy Dorin

Andy is an ecologist who has worked across Scotland. He began his career as an Area Officer for the Nature Conservancy Council and then Scottish Natural Heritage in the Cairngorms and Orkney. He was the first Sustainable Development Officer for The Highland Council, promoting Agenda 21, and led a community budgeting project across Ross-shire. Andy also has an MBA gained at Napier University and has employed this working for SNH on policy and business strategy before holding a number of more operational roles in the last few years. He was Area Manager for Forth, the Programme Manager for People and Nature and finally as Head of Protected Areas and Surveillance. Andy retired in January 2020 and has been finishing a house renovation, near Cromarty in the Highlands, since then. He is passionate about more people enjoying Scotland’s countryside, improving the management of Scotland’s Protected Areas and about a more sustainable approach to land management. He is a keen canoeist and a kayak coach and he loves nothing better than a night spent under canvas.

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