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  1. Planning and environment
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Carson McDowell LLP’s ‘top-notch practice’ ‘provides clear and consistent advice’ to a client base that includes the Lagan Group, Northstone and Elgin Energy. The practice covers the full range of planning and environmental matters, including enforcement notices and planning applications and their related judicial reviews for major residential, office, energy and shopping centre developments. Highlights included advising Elgin Energy on the planning law aspects of a 50MW solar farm. Gary McGhee leads the team.

For many clients the ‘highly professional team’ at Cleaver Fulton Rankin is ‘in the top echelon for planning and environmental law’. The team advises on the full range of planning applications, judicial reviews, and environmental issues, and is currently advising Gaelectirc on the proposal for a novel air energy storage scheme. It is also assisting Dalradian Gold on its Northern Ireland projects. Practice head Karen Blair is at the ‘very top of the profession’.

Recent highlights for Arthur Cox Belfast’s planning practice include assisting the department of Culture, Arts & Leisure with the planning aspects of the redevelopment of Northern Ireland’s three main stadiums. Other clients include universities, energy companies, housing associations and developers in the region. Alastair Todd leads the team.

Tughans advised Translink on the planning aspects of its redevelopment of a 20-acre site on Great Victoria Street. The practice also advises on retail planning matters for Obroc. Maria O’Loan is they key contact.

Mark Blair heads the practice at A&L Goodbody, which has a strong profile acting for local authorities including Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough council and Lisburn & Castlereagh city council. Energy is another key sector for the firm; highlights have included advising on planning matters relating to waste-to-energy plants.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP’s contentious planning practice recently represented energy companies in judicial reviews concerning planning matters. David Kirkpatrick is the key name.

TLT acted for Renewable Energy Systems in amending its planning position to increase the size of turbines at Ora Moor. Andrew Ryan has ‘excellent technical knowledge and sound judgement’.

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