Next Generation Partners

Environment in Scotland

Pinsent Masons LLP

Acclaimed for its proficiency in environmental law, Pinsent Masons LLP covers the full spectrum, from permitting and transactional matters to project planning, EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) compliance and litigation. Gordon McCreath is a key contact for contentious instructions but is equally well versed in the non-contentious space with a specialism in the energy, waste and water sectors. This sector specialism is shared by the wider team and extends to property development, leading to regular instructions on environmental law issues pertaining to the acquisition, sale, leasing and development of land. Legal director Ross McDowall leads the Scottish practice from Glasgow and is a key member of Jennifer Ballantyne‘s UK-wide planning, environment, energy and infrastructure team.

Other key lawyers:

Gordon McCreath


‘Their approach was comprehensive and diligent.’

‘Pinsent Masons was willing to extensively discuss its advice and the options available in setting a strategy. This allowed opportunities and risks to be comprehensively explored with the result that the proposed strategy could be presented with a series of alternative fallback positions that were stress tested and costed in detail.’

‘While no doubt there was a much wider team working on the project it was hugely appreciated that those with the knowledge and experience had complete oversight and were coordinating the outputs to align with the wider project requirements.’

‘I was very grateful to have their advice as the project was navigated.’

Key clients


Diamond Transmission Corporation


Scottish Environment Protection Agency

National Westminster Bank plc

Enva Scotland

Greencoat Capital LLP


Harworth Estates Investments Ltd

Kier Infrastructure

Environment Agency

Scottish & Southern Energy

Motor Fuel Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of clients across a range of sectors on climate change and sustainability, net zero and ESG projects.
  • Representing the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in a number of appeals taken against its permitting decisions, including following its decision to refuse two conjoined environmental permitting applications.
  • Advising multinational oil and gas companies on the sale, purchase and operation of offshore and onshore oil and gas assets both in the UK and internationally and on environmental incident response and litigation.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern has recently been particularly active advising public and private sector clients on transactional, commercial and environmental liability issues pertaining to the management of waste, contaminated land and water as well as on project-related environmental impact assessments. Glasgow-based director Neil Amner complements this offering with expertise in the transport sector, leading to instructions concerning the transition to net zero; he jointly heads the practice with the Edinburgh-based Alastair McKie, who is particularly well versed in handling contentious issues and matters at the intersection with planning law.

Practice head(s):

Neil Amner; Alastair McKie

Other key lawyers:

Martin Whiteford

Key clients

Scottish Water

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

Shetlands Island Council

Crown Estate Scotland

Queen’s & Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer

Buccleuch Estates


Chemring Energetics UK Ltd

Edinburgh Airport

Shetland Space Centre

Work highlights

  • Acted as the business community representative on the Scottish Government’s oversight board for the development of the updated National Transport Strategy (NTS2), which includes tackling climate change in its priorities.
  • Advising Shetland Space Centre Ltd (SSC) on the necessary consents for a vertical launch space port at Lamba Ness, Unst, Shetland, with first launch planned for 2022.
  • Advising Chemring Energetics UK Limited in relation to the existing area used for kinetic material product testing and the necessary consents for the construction of a new facility on its Ardeer site.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP‘s multidisciplinary approach translates into regular instructions at various interfaces, such as transaction-related environmental due diligence and environmental risk assessments alongside permitting, licensing and leasing matters pertaining to energy projects. Its energy sector expertise has recently also been called upon in the context of decommissioning projects, while public sector clients received assistance with the implementation of low emission zones and waste management issues, among others. Philip Hunter heads the practice and has recently been mostly active in the transactional space.

Practice head(s):

Philip Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Neil Collar; Sarah-Jane McArthur


‘The team were very responsive and provided prompt legal advice.’

‘Phil Hunter has his finger on the pulse of environmental law both in Scotland and the wider UK.’

Key clients

Clyde Gateway Developments Limited

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

City of Edinburgh Council

Shockingly Fresh

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Falkirk Council

Indaver NV/ Indaver Ness Services Limited

Frostkrone Food Group

James Jones

Orbital Marine Power

Work highlights

  • Acted for James Jones & Sons on the acquisition of GT Timber Ltd, including advising on environmental due diligence, regulatory compliance and legacy land issues.
  • Advised City of Edinburgh Council on the implementation of low emission zones, which will be one of the first in Scotland.
  • Provided environmental law support for the acquisition of Abergavenny Fine Foods by the Frostkrone Food Group.


Handling environmental matters in the energy and infrastructure sectors, such as environmental impact assessments and habitats regulations appraisals alongside environmental liability and contamination issues, constitutes a core strength of CMS‘ team and is not least due to Robin Hutchison‘s expertise in this space. As an experienced planning partner, he routinely acts at this intersection and is supported by senior associate Joanna Waddell, whose wide-ranging environmental law expertise extends to enforcement and nature conservation. Due to this broad expertise the team is an attractive partner for clients across the energy, waste, food and drink, aquaculture and public sectors. Expertise in environmental due diligence pertaining to the sale, purchase and lease of property portfolios complements this offering.

Practice head(s):

Robin HutchisonJoanna Waddell

Other key lawyers:

Mark McMurray


‘The team has a wealth of knowledge across the field of environmental law. It is comforting to know that CMS have legal experts in very specific matters of environmental law.’

‘Responsive and understanding and offer the ability to give practical and sensible advice and not tie everyone up in legal jargon.’

‘The CMS team have an uncanny ability to simplify complex situations/scenarios, and present well-reasoned arguments based on fundamentals and facts.’

‘The CMS team also have the ability not to overcomplicate simple tasks, which I find other firms struggle with.’

‘We’ve been listened to, our problems understood and sound, structured advice given with explanations of why it was given in relation to each issue. We have always felt that we had the answers we needed to make decisions.’

‘Joanna Waddell & Robin Hutchison are two very professional people that have provided very good advice when needed and have always responded on time. Great and easy to deal with as they have a down-to-earth attitude that is very refreshing.’

‘Joanna Waddell has a depth of knowledge in this field which, combined with her considerable practical experience, allows one to plan accordingly and make fully informed decisions.’

‘I worked with Joanna Waddell. Really impressive. Clearly knows her stuff and able to offer industry wide views.’

Key clients

Brockwell Energy

Cadent Gas

Curlew Property LP

EDF Energy

EDF Renewables


Forth Rivers Trust

Green Investment Group

Hargreaves Land Limited

National Grid

North Lanarkshire Council

Northern Ireland Water

Orkney Islands Council

Red Rock Power

Renfrewshire Council

Repsol Sinopec

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Water


SSE plc

Tarmac Trading Limited

Tarmac Limited

The Scottish Salmon Company Limited

Trump International Golf

Wind 2 Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise the Scottish Salmon Company on a range of specialist matters across environmental law, EIA, habitats and consenting which involve direct interaction with SEPA, NatureScot and Marine Scotland.
  • Long-time advisor to SSE; recent advice included environmental matters pertaining to new wind farm developments and conservation obligations regarding wild salmon.
  • Continuing to advise Tarmac on regulatory matters, particularly concerning waste.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart, and team head Laura Tainsh in particular, stands out for its expertise in waste management and consequently receives regular instructions from waste operators and commercial entities. These include enforcement actions and Scottish Landfill Tax tribunal cases on the contentious side, and advice on contaminated land alongside various regulatory, compliance and contractual issues in the non-contentious sphere. Due to the firm’s broad commercial property offering, the environmental team is also routinely called upon to assist with environmental due diligence exercises pertaining to project consents and property transactions.

Practice head(s):

Laura Tainsh


‘The team is very knowledgeable, highly motivated and experienced.’

‘The individuals are knowledgeable in their field of expertise. The size of the firm means that there is sufficient breadth of knowledge to handle all aspects.’

‘All individuals I have encountered have been extremely knowledgeable and patient in dealing with us.’

‘Their handling of our contract negotiations with a third party was extremely firm which ultimately resulted in a final agreed contract which was perfectly suited to our needs.’

‘A very well connected environmental practice that can provide practical, “hands-on” advice in addressing environmental matters.’

‘Laura Tainsh is exceptional in the knowledge she has and keeping up to date on various topics.’

‘Laura Tainsh – practical advice and good knowledge of current market practices and trends.’

Key clients

W. H. Malcolm Ltd

SUEZ Group

Pelagia UK

Armstrong Waste Management Limited

Brewster Bros. Ltd

Resource Management Association Scotland (RMAS)

Levenseat Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Suez Group in connection with its operational landfill gas (LFG) facility which is operated by Viridis and the various rights granted to neighbouring biogas schemes to utilise the export connection.
  • Advised Pelagia UK on the interpretation of complex regulatory issues relating to emissions to air from industrial processes in relation to the company’s processing operation at its plant in Aberdeen.
  • Advised the Malcolm group on all regulatory and environmental matters, including negotiation with the regulator.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn's workload is a reflection of team head Scott McCallum's strength in dealing with matters at the intersection between planning and environmental law, which leads to regular instructions on environmental impact assessments, habitats regulations appraisals and other regulatory matters pertaining to energy - most notably offshore wind - projects. Consultant Patricia Hawthorn is another key contact in this space, while work at the transactional and property intersection constitutes another key area of expertise for the team.

Practice head(s):

Scott McCallum

Other key lawyers:

Colin Innes; Patricia Hawthorn


‘The individuals I work with are interested, understanding and welcome the engagement and dialogue we have with them.’

‘They operate with us as an extension of our team.’

Key clients

Scottish Sea Farms Limited

Ocean Winds

Simec Uskmouth Power Limited

Carbon Plantations

ScottishPower Renewables



Green Investment Group

Fred Olsen Renewables


Work highlights

  • Supporting Scottish Sea Farms Limited in its £164m purchase of the UK fish farming interests of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK, including conducting environmental diligence on a number of onshore and offshore facilities; also advised the client on an appeal to the Scottish Government against conditions imposed on controlled activities regulations licence from SEPA for discharges from an offshore fish farm.
  • Advising Carbon Plantations Limited in relation to an application for an environmental impact assessment consent from the Forestry Commission for a major new woodland involving non-native species.
  • Advising Ocean Winds on all onshore and offshore consents and environmental mitigations for a nationally significant offshore wind development in the Moray Firth known as Moray West offshore wind farm.


Embedded in the firm's UK-wide environment practice, Glasgow-based senior associate Pamela Coulthard is Dentons' main contact in Scotland, handling the full spectrum of environmental law. Most of its recent work took place at the property and transactional intersecion but also included regulatory and ESG matters. Its clients are typically drawn from the retail, energy, manufacturing, financial and food and drink sectors.

Practice head(s):

Pamela Coulthard


‘Good specialist knowledge of regulatory and environmental compliance.’

‘Practical advice and solutions driven.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Lidl Stiftung & Co on the incoming mandatory Scottish Deposit Return Scheme.
  • Managing environmental aspects of a large scale multi-jurisdictional acquisition for Granite Holdings Global Limited, which will see its addressable markets increase by $1bn.
  • Advising the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on all environmental aspects of its £10bn re-procurement of its maritime services contracts.

Harper Macleod LLP

At Harper Macleod LLP, the Glasgow-based Peter Ferguson is the main contact for transactional and other non-contentious matters, while the Edinburgh-based Jennifer Jack is best known for her litigation expertise. This skill set is mostly called upon by clients - including public sector bodies, environmental campaigning groups and renewable energy developers - requiring assistance with matters at the intersection with planning and public  law. Judicial reviews, public inquiries and advice on licensing regimes are typical examples of the latter.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ferguson; Jennifer Jack


‘They provided exceptional and comprehensive reporting and clear recommendations for action.’

‘Deadlines were exceptionally tight but they provided not only what we asked for but added value in addressing matters which we should have requested in our brief.’

‘Peter Ferguson has exceptional communication skills with both technical and non-technical recipients of his advice.’

Key clients

NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage)

Marine Scotland

Scottish Forestry (formerly Forestry Commission Scotland)

Cairngorms National Park Authority

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Moray Council

The Highland Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Orkney Islands Council

Fife Council

Glasgow City Council

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Greenpeace UK

Fred Olsen Renewables


Capital Dynamics

Octopus Energy


Maple Power Limited

Metka EGN Ltd

Statkraft UK

Maple Power Limited

Aberdeen Standard Investments

Hillhouse Quarry Group

St Andrews University

Work highlights

  • Representing Greenpeace in a legal challenge to the UK Government’s grant of consent which allows BP and Ithaca Energy to produce oil and gas from the Vorlich field in the North Sea.
  • Represented NatureScot at public local inquiries concerning proposed wind farm developments, which NatureScot objected to on the basis of significant adverse impacts on nationally important sensitive habitats.
  • Advised Orkney Islands Council (OIC) in connection with planning and environmental issues arising from a proposal by British Telecom to install a number of subsea telecommunication cables which would make landfall in the Orkney Islands.