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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Developments Worldwide

Articles contributed by Burges Salmon LLP

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Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

December 2013 - Environment. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of ‚ā¨50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over ‚ā¨1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over ‚ā¨500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (‚ā¨150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly ‚ā¨2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than ‚ā¨6.5m. ‚Ä©

Climate change from science to business: the game changing report from 
the IPCC

November 2013 - Environment. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Some are hailing it as a ‚Äėlandmark' report. Other prominent figures in the business world are saying it is the ‚Äėtipping point' on climate change - they are talking about the Summary for Policymakers of the fifth assessment report, which was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the end of September. This report has caused ‚Ä®front-page headlines, countless articles ‚Ä®in trade journals across industry sectors and a range of commentary from various ‚Ä®political figures.

The proposed Water Bill: the key issues

October 2013 - Environment. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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The Water Bill (the Bill) has been 
long awaited. While it is not as ambitious as some may have hoped, the proposals set out in the Bill will have implications for current water and sewerage companies, current and potential licensees and customers. The proposals are at their core intended both to drive efficiency and increase competition, while being mindful of environmental pressures. They will bring the most significant changes to affect the sector since privatisation in the 1980s. While the Bill's predominant focus is on the water industry, the Bill does also cover wider water/environmental issues such as potential changes to the environmental permitting regime which could have implications for a number of organisations and businesses. 


The government has described the Bill as:‚Ä©

‚Äė... [taking] forward those areas where legislative change is needed, by reforming the water industry to improve resilience, drive growth and give businesses more choice and flexibility - while protecting the environment'. ‚Ä©

While this article cannot address all of the changes proposed by the Bill, some of the key proposals set out in the Bill which are likely to be of most interest to readers are discussed below. ‚Ä©

Greening 
your gas

September 2013 - Environment. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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A combination of government policy and consumer and shareholder pressure over recent years has led to many UK companies developing and implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, which for some are becoming an integral part of their brand. A common aspect of many CSR programmes is a commitment to reduce energy usage, increase energy efficiency and procure at least some energy from renewable sources. Many of these commitments focus on ‚Ä®the procurement of ‚Äėgreen' electricity or explore the use of on-site combined heat and power (CHP) plants. ‚Ä©

Paying for environmental incidents

July 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here

The Sentencing Council (the Council), an independent body that develops sentencing guidelines for the English courts, has just closed a consultation on proposals for new guidelines (the Guidelines) for the sentencing of environmental offences. There is no doubt that the Guidelines set out in the consultation, even if only partially implemented, will materially increase the level of fines for companies, businesses and individuals who breach environmental laws. This article examines the Guidelines and focuses on corporate penalties rather than individual offenders, although directors and officers of companies should be mindful that they can be liable for the same penalties as a company if it can be shown that the offence was committed with their consent, connivance or neglect.‚Ä© 

Industrial heat use and the Heat Strategy

July 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here

   The issues of efficient heat and reducing emissions from the generation of heat are rapidly moving up the political agenda. Industry needs to watch these developments closely and be prepared. Six industry sectors, including chemicals, oil refining, food and drink, basic metals, pulp and paper and non-metallic minerals (including ceramics, cement and glass) are singled out as target sectors by the government‚Äôs heat strategy, The Future of Heating: Meeting the Challenge (the Heat Strategy) published in March 2013, but other industry sectors should also be concerned.

 

International shipment of waste: transporters beware

May 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here

As European society has grown wealthier, it has created more and more resource management challenges and opportunities. Each year in the EU alone we produce three billion tonnes of waste ‚Äď some 90 million tonnes of it hazardous. This amounts to about six tonnes of solid waste for every man, woman and child1. The processing of waste is a Europe-wide issue with the Waste Framework Directive (WFD)2 providing the overarching legislative framework for the collection, transport, recovery and disposal of waste across ‚Ä®the EU in a way that does not have a negative impact on the environment ‚Ä®or on human health.‚Ä©

Climate change: 
the top five trends 
to watch

April 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here

While countries are struggling to reach an agreement on appropriate emissions reduction targets, from a corporate risk and compliance perspective the issues businesses face related to climate change are substantial. The impacts of increased sea levels, extreme weather events like heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts and wildfires reach companies in all corners of the world, impacting supply chains, disrupting commodity prices and creating exposure to both costly regulatory changes and political risk. Governments all over the globe are grappling with climate change issues differently and there are layers of regional and international actions being taken. ‚Ä©

Knowledge is power: the tension between commercially sensitive material and access to environmental

March 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here.

It is accepted wisdom that, in the field of the environment, improved access to information and public participation in decision making enhances the quality and the implementation of decisions, contributes to public awareness of environmental issues and gives the public the opportunity to express its concerns and take part in the debate. That wisdom is enshrined in the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters1 to which both the EU and the UK are signatories.‚Ä©

An analysis of electricity market reform: the future for low-carbon energy

February 2013 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here.

The revised Energy Bill was published on 29 November 2012 after extensive consultation following publication of the government's electricity market reform (EMR) proposals in December 2010. The Bill will push through fundamental reforms to the UK electricity market that will affect the entire sector in one shape or form.‚Ä©

Shale gas: the 
energy saviour?

December 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here.

Shale gas is a naturally occurring gas, consisting mainly of methane, that is found in thin layers of sedimentary rock known as shale. It is termed ‚Äėunconventional' natural gas because it is found in shale, which is less permeable than rock in which natural gas has historically been found and, as such, additional procedures are required to extract the gas. The procedure by which shale gas is extracted is called hydraulic fracturing or ‚Äėfracking' and involves the injection of a fluid mixture of water, sand or ceramic beads and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to create fractures through which shale gas is forced into the well bore for collection. Some of the largest deposits are estimated to hold as much as 500 million cubic metres of gas reserves.‚Ä© 

Offshore transmission: the enduring OFTO regime

November 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here.

A new offshore transmission licensing regime (the regime) was introduced in 2009 that set out to radically change the way in which offshore transmission assets (ie those assets connecting offshore generating assets to the onshore electricity networks) were designed, built, funded and operated. Three years on, while many of the underlying mechanics of the regime remain broadly unchanged, there have been fundamental shifts in government policy that have led to huge practical changes in the regime's impact on developers and investors.

The green deal: legal and commercial issues

October 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Burges Salmon LLP currently authors the Environment and Energy section of The In-House Lawyer magazine. For more information and articles from this author click here.

This month is expected to see the launch of the coalition's flagship energy efficiency policy: the Green Deal. ‚Ä©

Site closure and decommissioning of industrial plants

September 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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As the prolonged downturn in the Eurozone drags on, there continues to be a steady stream of site closures and rationalisation of manufacturing plants around the EU including in the UK. Many businesses are looking closely at their plants across the world for cost savings and some of those facilities will inevitably close.

The law of nuisance: the Court of Appeal revisits longstanding principles

July 2012 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Burges Salmon LLP.

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Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal handed down two important judgments on the environmental impacts of commercial enterprises on their neighbours. The first case, Coventry (t/a RDC Promotions) & anor v Lawrence & ors [2012], concerned noise from a racing circuit and the second case, Barr & ors v Biffa Waste Services Ltd [2012], concerned odours from a landfill. ‚Ä©