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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Real estate > Environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Brodies LLP's environmental law offering adds an important dimension to the firm's advice on corporate and real estate transactions, and energy and infrastructure projects, among other matters. In addition to providing transactional and project support, members of its team provide standalone advice on the full range of environmental law issues. Philip Hunter, who heads up the practice (and is also a real estate partner), is leading a team, which is advising Clyde Gateway Developments Limited on the Shawfield Phase Two redevelopment project as part of the redevelopment of the Clyde Gateway area; the project covers an area of land where large swathes have a legacy of environmental contamination, owing to previous use as a chemical works. Duncan MacLean and Hunter advised Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) on environmental and consenting issues associated with the arrival of the semi-submersible Buchan Alpha at LPA's newly-extended deep-water quay at Dales Voe decommissioning facility for decommissioning. Sarah-Jane McArthur and others are acting for Indaver NV as the proposed operating subcontractor for one of the bidding consortia of a waste management project in the north east of Scotland. Paul Marshall assists clients with regulatory compliance, and on the contentious side, he also handles environmental prosecutions and enforcement actions. Associate Niall McLean, who is a solicitor advocate with extended rights of audience at the Court of Session, is active in environmental litigation. Neil Collar, who heads up the planning practice, is another name to note. Associate Ewen Cairns recently joined from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Jennifer Ballantyne leads Pinsent Masons LLP's specialist team in Scotland, which is 'among the best in the field', and covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious environment law for clients UK-wide. Ballantyne, who has more than 20 years of experience in this area, is knowledgeable about contaminated land, waste management and permitting, among other matters. Another key figure is 'class act' Gordon McCreath, who acts for a wide range of clients, such as waste operators, water companies and developers. The group has particularly notable experience of advising major players in areas such as renewable energy, oil and gas, residential development, infrastructure and manufacturing. McCreath, Gary McGovern, legal director Ross McDowall and others recently advised E.ON on a number of matters, including its environmental incident response, a First Tier tribunal appeal concerning an information notice under the Environmental Information Regulations and environmental liability allocation in relation to new energy projects. McCreath is also providing ongoing assistance to Beatrice Offshore Wind Limited with environmental issues associated with the construction of the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth in the north east of Scotland. McDowall and Ian McCarlie advised Element Power on the environmental aspects of the sale of its 25MW battery-storage project in Newcastle to Italian electricity utility Enel. The firm's contentious work includes environmental litigation and regulatory enforcement proceedings.

Shepherd and Wedderburn, whose team operates on a cross-departmental basis, has a particularly strong capability in advising national and international developers on environmental law issues arising from energy sector projects, such as those related to onshore and offshore wind, wave, tidal, energy from waste and coal-fired power. In 2017, Ewan MacLeod and Chris Devlin advised Brown & Mason Limited on the planning and environmental issues associated with the demolition of Scottish Power's power station at Longannet in Fife; this was Scotland's last coal-fired power station. Colin Innes, Colin Robertson, Scott McCallum and others are acting for Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Limited in the planning, property and environmental aspects of the 1,116MW Moray East offshore wind development in the Moray Firth. With the firm having successfully represented Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Limited in high-profile judicial review proceedings against the RSPB, Patricia Hawthorn and others are assisting the client with a new consent application for the Neart na Gaoithe project. Hawthorn jointly leads the environment practice with Innes. In addition to acting for energy sector clients, Jamie Grant advises those from infrastructure, ports and harbours, and hotels and leisure. Richard Leslie is also recommended.

Anderson Strathern has a wide-ranging environment practice, which plays a key role in transactions, projects, permitting, and civil and criminal litigation. Its team, which is led by Alastair McKie, is also up to speed on environmental regulatory issues. Reflective of its first-rate reputation in this area, the firm has been appointed to the Scottish Ministers' panel for public inquiries, and it has also secured Chemring Energetics UK Limited and Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited as new clients. In the renewable energy sector, McKie and senior associate Kirsty Slee (who is a solicitor advocate) are representing Ross Estates Company at a public local inquiry in its opposition to a proposed waste to energy combined heat and power plant at Invergordon. Bruce Farquhar, Sheonagh Richards, McKie and senior solicitor Kirsty Jamieson assisted solar energy parks developer Elgin Energy with various matters recently, including the environmental aspects of the Milltown Airfield 10MW minimum solar development and of the Speyslaw 10MW minimum solar development. They also handled an environment impact assessment for the client in relation to a 99MW solar development at Wemyss Estate in Angus. Elsewhere, director Neil Amner is a leading expert on environmental issues in the transport sector. In the rural sector, Anne Chapman advises the owners of large estates on matters such as land slips and contamination.

Burness Paull LLP advises clients on contentious and non-contentious environmental issues across a wide range of industries, with particular strengths in the marine, oil and gas, and onshore and offshore renewable energy sectors. Craig Whelton undertakes environmental due diligence on corporate transactions and also provides standalone advice on soil contamination and remediation, and environmental permitting. Recent highlights included assisting Van Oord UK Limited with undertaking dredging works as part of its appointment on the new Aberdeen Harbour development, and advising Boralex on planning and environmental law issues relating to a proposed 36MW 12 turbine wind development at Fauch Hill in West Lothian.

CMS' Scotland-based group undertakes work on a standalone basis, and also operates as part of a UK-wide team. Although a part of the practice involves providing support on transactions and projects, the majority of the work is self-generated, covering regulatory compliance, consenting, governance issues and prosecutions, among various other areas. In Scotland, senior associate Joanna Waddell is experienced in representing clients in SEPA-led regulatory investigations. The firm's strong track record in handling complex contentious and non-contentious environmental issues sees it act for national and international clients in sectors that are particularly highly exposed to environmental issues, particularly energy, waste management and chemicals. Robin Hutchison, Waddell and others are advising Brockwell Energy on environmental impact assessements, Habitats Regulations and other environmental issues related to the energy from waste CHP development at Earl's Gate Energy Centre, and the Westfield mixed-use development. Hutchison also recently assisted Summit Power Caledonia UK Limited with the planning and environment, consenting and regulatory issues associated with the development of the Caledonia Clean Energy Project. Senior associate Mark McMurray also has vast environment law knowledge.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart's team head Laura Tainsh, who is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an environmental law specialist, has established a first-rate reputation among clients, which include landfill operators, recycling and waste management companies, and transport operators. Underlining her credentials in environmental law, in 2017, Tainsh was appointed to the Scottish Centre Council of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and also the national Scientific and Technical Committee. Tainsh's group advises clients on a broad cross-section of matters, such as enforcement actions, regulatory issues and legislative/policy changes, and environmental impact assessments. Tainsh and associate Louise Jones are acting for Dunrobin Highland Distillery in the development and construction of a new distillery, which includes associated environmental issues, such as those relating to the use of water, the planning process, construction process and specific environmental consent applications. Saica Natur UK, WH Malcolm and Suez Group are other notable clients. Tainsh and others are also assisting Brewster Brothers Limited with the environmental aspects of its acquisition of an old quarry.

At Dentons, associate Pamela Coulthard (who heads up the Scottish environment practice) has expertise in the regulatory aspects of oil and gas decommissioning and onshore hydraulic fracturing, waste, contaminated land and the interplay between insolvency law and environmental law. Coulthard is assisting Network Rail with air quality issues (including local air quality management) relating to a city centre train station. Coulthard is also advising Ian Craig Haulage Limited on the replacement of a historic environmental agreement, which it had with a waste management company, with  an environmental insurance policy. In addition, Coulthard and others advise on the environmental liability and compliance issues associated with corporate acquisitions and disposals.

Harper Macleod LLP is a well-known name among planning authorities (it acts for eight out of 34 in Scotland) and regulatory bodies, for whom it delivers advice on non-contentious environmental (including regulatory) issues. It also provides them with representation at public inquiries, many of which are high-profile and involve issues over sensitive landscapes, habitats and species. Jennifer Jack advised Perth & Kinross Council on a petitioner's appeal to a court judgment at a judicial review challenge, which had affirmed the client's decision to grant planning permission for the development of a wind farm at Tullymurdoch. The case involved issues about the protection of wildcat and osprey in the locality of the wind farm. Jack also acted for Scottish Natural Heritage at a public local inquiry, where the client objected to an application for consent for the erection of an 18 turbine wind farm at Upper Sonachan in Argyll & Bute. Other clients include Dumfries & Galloway Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Moray Council and Historic Environment Scotland. The firm also undertakes advisory and advocacy work for developers of renewable energy projects. Peter Ferguson heads up the team.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP garners a significant amount of environmental work from throughout Scotland, owing to its involvement in a number of sectors, such as forestry and fisheries, farming, renewable energy and oil and gas. Practice head Jim Drysdale is knowledgeable about a wide variety of matters, such as nature conservation, waste, contaminated land and fluvial/pluvial/diffuse pollution. Solicitor advocate John Chalmers has 26 years of Sheriff Court and Court of Session litigation experience, and represents insurance companies and local authorities in litigation involving environmental issues and in judicial review cases. Other key figures include planning head David Scott, commercial lawyer Peter Murray and commercial property partner John Smart. Sarah Stuart and Neil Anderson are also recommended.

MacRoberts LLP leverages the experience of its multidisciplinary team to provide a full range of services to clients. One facet of the practice covers the environmental aspects of real estate/finance/corporate transactions and projects. Consultant Martin Sales is knowledgeable about environmental risks (and their mitigation) in major projects, with a focus on sectors such as energy, transport, minerals and waste. Sales and senior associate Keith Campbell are assisting M-I Drilling Fluids UK Limited with the environmental aspects of the development of a deep barite mine in the Loch Tummel National Scenic Area in Perthshire. Their experience also includes planning appeals and judicial reviews of matters involving environmentally-sensitive issues. Elsewhere, another strength of the firm's practice is in representing clients in litigation involving allegations of environmental law breaches, such as contaminated land, water pollution and recycling offences, among others. Consultant John McGovern, who is a criminal solicitor advocate, heads up a corporate defence team which defends clients against criminal prosecutions arising from regulatory investigations. Senior associate Louise Gibson is another key figure in the team.

Clients of boutique firm Environmental Law Chambers Ltd note the expertise of Barry Love, who became the first lawyer in Scotland to be accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an accredited environmental law specialist in 2006, Love provides a broad scope of advice to Scottish and UK entities, spanning contract reviews, regulatory compliance and investigations, and criminal defence. Clients include local authorities, waste and recycling companies, food and drink companies and property developers.

Morton Fraser has a niche capability in assisting clients from the UK nuclear and defence industries with managing environmental concerns. Nick Atkins advises clients such as the UK Atomic Energy Authority and Dounreay Site Restoration Limited on issues associated with the decommissioning of radioactive contaminated land and disposal of radioactive waste, among others. A key defence industry client is the Ministry of Defence, who Atkins, Douglas Milne, senior associate Susan Leslie and others recently acted for in its objections to the Hill of Towie II wind farm in Morayshire and proposed Birneyknowe wind farm in the Scottish Borders. In the renewable energy sector, James Rust and senior associate Gail Watt recently advised Scottish Wildlife Trust on a number of renewable energy projects in extremely sensitive designated rural areas. Senior associate Lisa Dromgoole is another active team member.

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