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  1. Environment
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In an illustration of Allen & Overy LLP’s corporate strength, the team is advising Saudi Aramco on a joint venture with Lanxess Deutschland for a synthetic rubber business. On the regulatory side, the team handles the full range of environmental, health and safety, human rights and carbon issues; in one highlight it is representing Total in multiple challenges against numerous member states’ implementation of the European Commission’s calculation of carbon allowances. The ‘very strategic’ Matthew Townsend heads the practice.

Thought by some to be the ‘best overall group in London’, CMS’ broad practice takes in transactional support, environmental liability and climate change advice. The team also handles a substantial number of regulatory enforcement matters, and is currently active in various large odour nuisance class actions. The waste sector is a particular area of strength, with key clients including FCC and Red Industries. Practice co-heads Paul Sheridan and Olivia Jamison are ‘a formidable team’.

Dentons’ focus on the oil and gas and waste sectors was again in evidence, with the team advising Total Lindsey Oil Refinery on a number of contentious matters brought by the Department for Transport and the Environment Agency. On the non-contentious side, Sam Boileau advised Hatfield Colliery Partnership on environmental issues arising from the closure of the Hatfield Colliery. Practice head Stephen Shergold is ‘commercially aware’ and senior associate Helen Bowdren is ‘very credible in the field of environmental litigation and risk’.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is particularly noted for its strength in the nuclear sector, where counsel Vanessa Jakovich is advising NuGeneration on environmental issues relating to its decision to acquire the Moorside nuclear new-build site. The practice is also well versed in assisting with transactional work in the energy space. Jonathan Isted is defending Equion Energia in a substantial environmental damage claim in the High Court. Other names to note are practice head John Blain and Paul Bowden.

Linklaters LLP has the ‘ability to cope with challenging situations and find solutions appropriate for multiple parties’. Chris Staples acted for Anglo American plc in the carve-out of five non-operational properties from Lafarge Tarmac Holdings, while, in the project sector, ‘superb’ practice head Vanessa Havard-Williams advised lenders on regulatory issues pertaining to various energy projects. Climate change and product liability are other streams of work. Managing associate Rachel Barrett is recommended.

At Baker McKenzie LLP, practice head Graham Stuart has been advising many corporate clients on environment-related EU product regulations. Another area of strength is climate change, with recent work encompassing the EU Emissions Trading System. Key clients include Google, Logitech and Dyson.

Nigel Howorth’s team at Clifford Chance provides ‘focused advice in a manner that is capable of being digested by a wide range of audience and skill set’. The team was particularly active in the energy projects sector, with Howorth and senior associate James Shepherd advising RWE Innogy UK and Galloper Wind Farm on the environmental aspects of the successful project financing of the Galloper offshore wind farm.

Hogan Lovells International LLP handles a good mix of contentious and non-contentious work, with recent highlights including advising SABMiller on the environmental aspects of its acquisition of Meantime and acting for Albany Homes in a prosecution by the Environment Agency relating to contaminated soil. Louise Moore heads the team following Christopher Norton’s departure to Baker Botts (UK) LLP.

Claimant specialist Leigh Day continued its involvement in major environmental litigation, with Martyn Day and Daniel Leader successfully acting for the Bodo community in a £55m settlement with Shell following an oil spill in Nigeria. Richard Stein is ‘excellent at high-profile environmental judicial reviews’, while Sean Humber has been active in cases relating to passive smoking.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Caroline May has ‘a wide understanding of implementation issues’ and advised Ecoworld Development Group Berhad on potential environmental liability relating to the development of three large London residential schemes. In another significant piece of work, May and consultant Jacqui O’Keeffe are assisting DP World London Gateway with issues arising from the site acquisition and implementation of the largest remediation and ecology programme in Europe.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, practice head Georgie Messent has substantial experience in the waste sector, both in relation to regulatory advice and nuisance cases. The team is also known for its expertise in environmental advice pertaining to energy projects and advised Levenseat on the financing of an energy-from-waste plant in Scotland. Paul Rice is recommended.

Phenomenal practice-builder’ Doug Bryden is in charge at Travers Smith LLP, where work ranges from transaction-related instructions referred by major US law firms to product-related regulatory advice for clients such as Nike. In one highlight, Bryden advised a leading agribusiness client on EU and UK controls in respect of genetically modified organisms. The team also has experience in advising on large solar projects.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s practice handles a steady flow of environmental compliance and liability instructions arising from contaminated land, water pollution and waste, in addition to which head of department Aidan Thomson is ‘a leading expert on environmental insurance issues’.

Burges Salmon LLP’s Bristol-based team includes the ‘hugely experienced’ Ian Salter and William Wilson, who is ‘a thought leader in the environmental and energy field’. Ross Fairley advised GDF Suez Shotton on all aspects of the closure and divestment of the 210MWe gas-fired combined heat and power

station at Shotton. Michael Barlow heads the practice.

DLA Piper’s six-partner practice takes in the ‘outstandingTeresa Hitchcock, who is based in Sheffield, and Birmingham-based Roy Tozer, who is regarded by some as being ‘the best regulatory criminal lawyer in the UK’. Leeds-based Stuart Ponting is assisting Newgen Recycling with an Environment Agency investigation following the ignition of 15,000 tonnes of tyres.

King & Wood Mallesons’ practice covers a range of areas including corporate and real estate transactions, and energy and infrastructure projects. The team is able to leverage the firm’s exposure to the Chinese market and, in one highlight, advised China General Nuclear Power Corporation on the environmental aspects of its potential investment in the UK’s new-build nuclear programme. Department head Angus Evers has ‘a very good grip on the detail of environmental law and takes a sensible, strategic approach’.

At Latham & Watkins, practice head Paul Davies has been particularly active assisting with environmental policy-making in China. Other recent mandates include acting for investors in relation to allegations concerning Volkswagen’s potential use of defeat devices. Recently promoted counsel Michael Green is the other name to note.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s team is led by Michael Hutchinson, who focuses on advising global players in the process industries and wider manufacturing sectors. As well as handling carbon litigation across five EU member states, Hutchinson was also active on the transactional side, advising Brookfield Property Partners on its acquisition of Center Parcs’ five holiday villages from Blackstone.

Bristol-based Alan John heads the practice at Osborne Clarke and has particular expertise in advising on power and heat purchase agreements, private wire arrangements and renewables incentives. The practice also handles regulatory investigations and contamination and climate change issues. Brian Greenwood joined Winckworth Sherwood LLP.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘result-driven’ practice is led by Nicholas Rock, who has ‘a very thoughtful and strategic approach’. As well as handling a broad non-contentious caseload including transactional support and regulatory advice, Rock is also well versed on the contentious side and is acting in relation to the Churngold waste prosecution. The team was enhanced by the hire of senior associate Adam Hedley from Bond Dickinson LLP.

Steven McNab is in charge at Simmons & Simmons, where highlights included advising Strategic Value Partners on its loan-to-own strategy in relation to Cory Environmental. On the contentious side, the team acted for a group of claimants in a large class action precipitated by the government’s removal of the exemption on the climate change levy to generators of renewable energy.

Ashurst’s practice is led by consultant Andrew Waite, whose expertise ranges from waste and contaminated land to climate change. Waite advised Macquarie on environmental issues relating to its acquisition of significant fuel storage facilities. The team enjoyed a number of client wins in the energy and mining sectors.

Michael Salau is ‘excellent on both the detail and overall strategy of a case’ at BLM, where the team is active on behalf of insurers and insureds in significant civil and criminal matters. Salau successfully acted for Saltbrook Motors in securing the withdrawal of a suspension notice issued by the Environment Agency on a vehicle scrap site in the West Midlands.

Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP’s practice is best known for its contaminated land and waste work, especially for clients in the manufacturing and chemical industries. On the transactional side, the team advised GKN on the acquisition of Fokker Technologies Group from Arle Capital Partners. The ‘commercial and pragmatic’ Cate Sharp heads the team.

At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, litigator John Ogilvie and senior associate Julie Vaughan are defending Vedanta Resources and Konkola Copper Mines in High Court proceedings relating to Konkola’s mining operations in Zambia. Vaughan also has been active advising in relation to UK fracking operations.

Jones Day was active on a sizeable number of corporate and real estate transactions, including advising LondonMetric Property on its acquisition of a distribution warehouse. Head of practice Christopher Papanicolaou gives ‘pragmatic advice’.

At K&L Gates LLP, Scott Megregian advises on a wide range of EU regulations, environmental liability matters, climate change related legislation, and matters pertaining to hazardous waste, transportation, and storage of dangerous substances. Sebastian Charles left to start up his own firm.

Consultant Nigel Price at Macfarlanes LLP is ‘extremely bright and hardworking, with excellent experience in corporate transactions’; he recently advised GHO Capital on the environmental aspects of its acquisition of Quotient Clinical. The team is ‘building experience in environmental nuisance cases’.

Sheffield-based Lukas Rootman and Christopher Bowes are in charge at Nabarro LLP, where areas of expertise include regulatory enforcement actions, environmental permitting and EU environmental law. The team advised Whitemoss Landfill on the environmental aspects of its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for a hazardous waste landfill site. Senior associate Alex Ibrahim works from the firm’s London office.

Slaughter and May’s practice is led by senior associate Samantha Brady, who focuses on transactional work. The team’s expertise in the energy sector extends to shale gas and Brady advised INEOS in connection with its proposed acquisition from IGas Energy of an interest in ten onshore licences across England and Scotland. David Waterfield retired.

Areas of expertise at Squire Patton Boggs include REACH, CRC Energy Efficiency, WEEE, environmental permitting, fracking and the contaminated land regime. The team is based in Birmingham and Manchester, with Manchester-based Rob Elvin leading the practice.

Stephenson Harwood’s team is led by the ‘excellentBen Stansfield, who specialises in low carbon energy projects and brownfield land development; Stansfield is advising North London Waste Authority on the environmental aspects relating to its application to build an energy recovery facility in north London.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s practice is led by Manchester-based director Michelle Headrige and draws on the expertise of consultant Claire Sheppard, who is based in London. The team enjoyed an uptick in transactional work and advised Foresight Group on an investment in an energy-from-waste project in Hull.

Bird & Bird LLP has ‘a high-quality practice with specialist expertise in energy and product-related environmental law’. Associate Joanna Ketteley is strong on climate change and emissions trading and provides ‘focused advice that is pitched at the right level’.

Clyde & Co LLP’s four-partner team, which is led by Manchester-based Chris Morrison, was active in a range of civil and criminal cases and is advising a major UK waste wood company in relation to the Environment Agency’s Fire Prevention Guidance. Former Environment Agent prosecutor Rod Hunt is ‘superb’; he is also based in Manchester,

Kennedys’ practice provides ‘concise, appropriate and commercial advice’ to a range of public and private sector clients in contentious regulatory defence matters. Key players include head of practice David Wright and Daniel McShee.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, counsel Mehran Massih handles a mix of regulatory and transactional work and has particular expertise in bespoke pollution insurance coverage in transactions involving industrial assets.

White & Case LLP’s practice regularly advises on environmental liabilities relating to major energy projects and is assisting Vale in connection with the development and financing of the Nacala Corridor project in Mozambique. Counsel Tallat Hussain ‘has excellent knowledge of environmental and social standards applicable to international trade and financing’.

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Legal Developments in London for Environment

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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