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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 > South West > Real estate > Environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Clients of Burges Salmon LLP praise the firm’s ‘unparalleled service, which is on par with London firms’. The firm fields ‘market-leading environmental lawyers who provide tenacious support and integrate seamlessly with the rest of the firm’s practice areas. The team, which is led by ‘tough’ environmental disputes practitioner Michael Barlow, has deep regulatory experience; Barlow is representing Great Yarmouth Port Company in relation to a £15m claim brought by a holiday village operator alleging losses as a result of the environmental impact of the construction of an outer harbour at Great Yarmouth. The practice also advised Canal and River Trust on the environmental aspects of its objection to the proposed CPO by the Greater London Authority for the Southall Gasworks site. In an example of the department’s decommissioning work, Ross Fairley assisted a global energy group with the decommissioning and potential development options for the former coal-fired power station at Rugeley. Simon Tilling is ‘among the best advocates in the market’ and is assisting a US-based multinational with regulatory and commercial aspects of a project aimed at turning waste into a fuel pellet product. Ian Salter and James Phillips handle decommissioning and regulatory issues in the nuclear and oil and gas sectors, respectively.

Osborne Clarke regularly acts for corporates in a variety of industry areas including utilities and infrastructure, waste, property development and energy and renewables. The department’s expertise covers traditional environmental law matters, including remediation, consenting, and regulatory investigations and prosecutions, as well as advising on climate change concerns and commercial contract work. Matthew Germain acts for numerous household name clients on matters such as pollution investigations, regulatory compliance and commercial and environmental regulatory aspects concerning large energy projects. Germain also provides environmental indemnity, remediation and due diligence advice to national housebuilders such as Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Linden Homes related to land transactions. Other recent work includes advising a Plc client on its potential environmental liability following a large accident, and the environmental due diligence in connection with its proposed acquisition of hydropower land and assets in Scotland. Alan John heads the practice, which includes senior associates Duncan Parker and Georgia Lythgoe. Other key clients include Suez Recycling & Recovery, Western Power Distribution, Wessex Water and Hills Waste Solutions.

Ashfords LLP’s business risk and regulation department is praised for its track record in environmental crime prosecutions and, with clients considering its expertise to be ‘comparable to that of any regional firm in England’. The team also advises on environmental compliance and regularly acts for agricultural clients and public and quasi-public bodies. Department head Richard Voke has a ‘strong technical background in environmental science as well as environmental law’; he has been involved in multiple pollution and contamination prosecutions for clients in the energy and care sectors, in addition to advising on regulatory due diligence issues related to various transactions in the oil and gas sector. Senior associate Jeremy Asher (‘as good as any lawyer in the field’) acted on behalf of various public bodies in Environment Agency prosecutions regarding pollution and breach of environmental permits.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s environment practice acts for a sizeable list of clients in the retail, transport, minerals and conventional and renewable energy sectors. The group provides strategic and regulatory advice, with particular emphasis on environmental impact and habitat regulation assessments, and also advises on environmental issues arising from real estate transactions. Sarah Holmes is acting alongside the planning and infrastructure team on the environmental aspects of a passenger train project between Bristol and Portishead. Holmes is also acting for a well-known national real estate developer in relation to its liability regarding waste disposal on land and sea and related habitat protection issues. Stephen Panton has particular experience defending corporates and company officers in environmental investigations and prosecutions; his key work included several Environment Agency prosecutions. The practice’s client base includes corporates such as Network Rail Infrastructure, The Crown Estate and Shell UK, as well as a number of local authorities.

Clarke Willmott LLP has a highly experienced environment department handling contentious and non-contentious matters in the waste, minerals and agriculture sectors. On the contentious side, the department has expertise in defending against environmental prosecutions and other Environment Agency enforcement matters. Tim Hayden and ‘hardworking’ senior associate Daniel Gill have recently been involved in several Environment Agency prosecutions, and department head Neil Baker and Karen Howe are both deeply experienced in contentious environmental work. in an example of non-contentious highlights, Baker advised Mactaggart and Mickel Homes Limited on the environmental aspects of two planning applications for multimillion-pound housing developments in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Additional clients include corporates such as Bristol Water, property groups including Acorn Property Group and Persimmon Homes, and local authorities such as the Isle of Wight Council.

Noted for its ‘very real expertise in environmental law’, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice ‘combines practical experience with practitioners who work to support their clients’. The team is known for advising property developers on environmental liabilities, assisting with regulatory compliance and handling due diligence in relation to public and private sector transactions. Additionally, Neil Scott has experience of environmental crime cases and was involved in multiple Environment Agency investigations and prosecutions in 2016. Anne Harrison (who is ‘excellent at dealing with regulatory bodies’) was recently promoted to legal director and is advising Wainhomes North West on flood risk management regulation and related potential enforcement action by the Environment Agency. Harrison performed a due diligence audit concerning Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s compliance with waste management regulations. The team also acted for Hanson Quarry Products Europe and Chelverton Deeley Freed on an appeal against environmental tax charges totalling £1.8m.

TLT’s environment team specialises in domestic and EU regulatory compliance, property-related issues concerning waste regulation and contamination, and renewable energy related issues. The regulatory practice is spearheaded by Kerry Gwyther, who represented Glastonbury Festival 2014 Limited in relation to a negligence claim brought by the Environment Agency. Gwyther also acted for a former director of Churngold Waste and Recycling regarding an investigation and prosecution by the Environment Agency’s national environmental crime team. Katherine Evans has experience of environmental issues arising out of property and planning and also has expertise in mining and mineral work. Associate Fergus Charlton assists clients with the environmental aspects of planning projects and acts for clients in the renewables and minerals sectors. Duncan Reed, who has experience of environmental prosecutions and regulatory compliance, is also recommended. Notable clients include Grid Battery Storage, InfraRed Capital Partners and WELink Energy Investments UK.

The Michelmores LLP environment department routinely assists the projects team with environmental due diligence in relation to energy projects; handles public procurement issues; and is experienced in Environment Agency investigations. The practice is led by Mark Howard, who handles non-contentious issues for clients such as Dorset County Council, and acted for a major aggregates company in relation to a pollution investigation undertaken by the Environment Agency. Andrew Oldland QC, who splits his time between the firm’s London and Exeter office, has extensive experience of procurement and contentious environmental matters.

Stephens Scown LLP has wide-ranging experience of environmental prosecutions and investigations. The practice also provides compliance advice and environmental due diligence to clients in the mining and minerals sector. Christopher Tofts’s clients include Wolf Minerals (UK) and Imerys Minerals, which he advises on the environmental aspects of their landholdings and project developments. Tofts also acted for Burcombe Haulage on the purchase of a landfill site, which at the time was going through the Environment Agency closure process. Brian Dolan is an experienced environmental litigator and successfully settled a multimillion-pound compensation claim for Portland Stone Firms brought against Dorset County Council in relation to stone extraction on the Jurassic Coast.

The planning and environment department at Thrings LLP provides regulatory compliance advice to clients in the public and private sectors and also handles Environment Agency prosecutions. Alex Madden has been acting for a UK manufacturer in relation to a potential prosecution regarding water pollution, and advised a client involved in the waste management sector on the environmental restrictions and obligations in connection with a water supply development. The team is also acting for Bereleigh Estate in relation to potential proceedings being brought under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 regarding noise pollution from game and clay pigeon shooting. Associate Rosalyn Trotman is also recommended.

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Legal Developments in South West 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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