Environment in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Covering a broad field of contentious and non-contentious environmental law work, Brodies LLP's 'attentive, knowledgeable and practical' team handles frequent contaminated land-related instructions alongside energy, mineral, chemicals and waste sector matters, including various regulatory issues, environmental impact assessments and risk management. Philip Hunter is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Philip Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Paul Marshall; Neil Collar; Sarah-Jane McArthur


Always looks at practicalities and the various ways of resolving a situation.’

Paul Marshall has a positive, realistic approach and genuinely cares about the matters referred to him.

The team has in-depth knowledge and knows how to use it to get results.

Key clients

Clyde Gateway Developments

Indaver N.V.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Falkirk Council

Scottish Natural Heritage

Historic Environment Scotland


Spirit Energy

Marine Harvest

Lerwick Port Authority

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic advice to Clyde Gateway on the environmental remediation of contaminated land.
  • Advising Indaver N.V. on the procurement and development of a new energy-from-waste plant in Aberdeen.
  • Advising Falkirk Council on restoration works at a former open-case coal mine.
  • Worked with Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland on the Environmental Impact Assessment Handbook.
  • Defending a class action of more than 35 claims from tenants and former tenants, who allege a variety of neurological and psychological symptoms arising from contaminated land.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Jennifer Ballantyne leads the 'proactive' Scottish environment team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which is a respected player in the market, handling a broad spectrum of environment law work in the energy, infrastructure, housing and manufacturing sectors. This includes, among other matters, regulatory advice and permitting assistance for energy and industrial installations, advice on projects and transactions, as well as litigation and regulatory enforcement support. Gordon McCreath and legal director Ross McDowall are recommended; both handle a wide range of sector-specific work.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Ballantyne

Other key lawyers:

Gordon McCreath; Ross McDowall


Efficiently deals with the client’s requirements.

Key clients






Kier Infrastructure and Overseas

Harworth Estates


Keepmoat Homes

Environment Agency

Work highlights

  • The team acts as sole environmental legal advisor for E.ON; in 2018, it advised the client on environmental incident response matters and a number of EIA submissions for various renewable energy projects, among other issues.
  • Provided assistance with the vendor due diligence report and title certification for Arcus European Infrastructure in respect of the sale of its majority stake in Forth Ports.
  • Provided environmental advice to Enva in the £15m acquisition of GP Properties (Scotland) and subsidiaries, including GP Green Recycling, which is one of Scotland’s largest recoverers of organic waste.
  • Providing ongoing advice in support of Enva’s application to SEPA for End of Waste status for processed air pollution control residues to be used in concrete products.
  • Providing strategic contaminated land-related advice to Keepmoat Homes.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Working in close co-operation with its planning team, Shepherd and Wedderburn has carved out a strong practice handling environmental law issues arising from energy sector projects, including impact assessments, various regulatory issues and permitting and planning-related matters. The team is also experienced in environmental noise-related work. Patricia Hawthorn and Colin Innes jointly head the team, which includes planning expert Moray Thomson, who joined the firm from DWF in October 2018.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Hawthorn; Colin Innes

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Grant; Scott McCallum; Ewan Macleod; Richard Leslie; Moray Thomson

Key clients

ACCIONA Industrial

Coul Links

Mainstream Renewable Power

Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind

Moray Offshore Windfarm (West)

Moray Offshore Windfarm (East)

SP Transmission


SIMEC Atlantis Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising Acciona Industrial on contaminated land risks pertaining to the development of an energy-from-waste facility on a former gasworks site south of Aberdeen.
  • Advising Coul Links on matters pertaining to its planning application for the construction of an 18-hole golf course with club house and ancillary development near Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands, which is opposed by a number of conservation groups.
  • Advising Mainstream Renewable Power on consenting and property aspects of its sale of Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm to EDF Energy Renewables.
  • Ongoing advice to Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind on applications for Section 36 consents and marine licences.
  • Advising EDP Renewables on onshore and offshore consent applications, including full environmental impact assessment.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern's client base includes funders and commercial developers alongside public bodies and landowning clients, who regularly instruct the team with various contentious and non-contentious matters. This includes regulatory and permitting issues, energy project-related work, sector-specific transactions and water matters, such as flooding and drainage. The 'very goodAlastair McKie and Neil Amner jointly head the 'knowledgeable, experienced and well organised' team, which includes consultant and renewable energy expert Alan Simpson, who joined the firm from Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP in April 2018.

Practice head(s):

Alastair McKie; Neil Amner

Other key lawyers:

Martin Whiteford; Alan Simpson


Always on top of issues.’

Very good legal knowledge and the ability to use it to get results in practice.

Key clients

Buccleuch Estates

Dundas Estates


The City of Edinburgh Council

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Livos Energy

Buchan Biogas

Ross Estates Company

Pow of Inchaffray Commissioners

Crown Estate Scotland

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority

Edinburgh Airport

Work highlights

  • Assisting INEOS with a £450m investment programme in the Grangemouth site, which includes a new storage facility and gas terminal providing for shale gas ethane import from the USA.
  • Advising the client, producer of energetic products for the civilian and defence market, on various matters, including product testing, pertaining to its Ardeer site.
  • Represented Crown Estate Scotland in granting project rights to Pale Blue Dot Energy and Acorn CCS for large-scale carbon capture infrastructure in the North Sea.
  • Support in securing statutory powers through a Private Bill in the Scottish Parliament to repair and improve a 13 mile drainage ditch in Perthshire.
  • Acting for Ross Estates Company, which owns Balnagown Estate, in opposing a proposed waste-to-energy CHP plant in Invergordon.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's contentious and non-contentious environmental practice works in close conjunction with its planning and health and safety teams and is best known for its corporate work. As a result, it frequently advises energy sector clients on environmental law aspects pertaining to transactions and project funding. Advising on regulatory and planning-related issues complements this offering.


With specialist expertise in the waste management, energy and chemicals sectors, CMS is well equipped to guide clients through environmental permitting, regulatory and enforcement issues alongside corporate transactions, SEPA investigations and planning matters arising from the development of energy projects. The 'highly experiencedRobin Hutchison heads the 'knowledgeable' team, which includes 'very experienced' senior associate and environment specialist Joanna Waddell.

Practice head(s):

Robin Hutchison

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Waddell


Effective coordination across departments which provides easy access to related but different areas of expertise, when needed.

Key clients

Brockwell Energy

Curlew Properties

EDF Renewables


Green Investment Group


National Grid

Orkney Islands Council

Scottish Water

The Scottish Salmon Company

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on various environmental matters, including impact assessments.
  • Represented Scottish Water in its first major corporate acquisition of four wastewater treatment works, which included assistance with environmental due diligence and negotiating environmental warranties and indemnities.
  • Advising the client on the proposed designation of a large area of Orkney’s waters as a Special Protection Area under the Wild Birds Directive.
  • Instructed to prepare an application for Hazardous Substances Consent for the National Grid gas terminal at St Fergus, Aberdeenshire.
  • Advising on the development of an energy-from-waste plant at Earls Gate Road in Grangemouth.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

With a strong profile for recycling and waste management work, Davidson Chalmers Stewart routinely assists waste companies and landfill operators with various environmental law and regulatory issues. The team is also well versed in handling environmental impact assessments and environmental matters arising from quarries. The 'fantasticLaura Tainsh heads the team, which includes key contact for contentious regulatory matters Laura Irvine (who joined the firm from BTO Solicitors LLP in November 2018). Director and planning law expert Jacqueline Cook joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in May 2018.

Practice head(s):

Laura Tainsh

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Cook; Laura Irvine


Laura Tainsh is superb. She is exceptionally helpful, forthcoming, communicative at all times and available any time the client needs her.’

Key clients


W. H. Malcolm

Suez Group

Armstrong Waste Management

Straid Farms

The British Millerain Company

Brewster Bros

C&M Property Management

Robertson Construction

Tartan Leisure

Work highlights

  • Advising the client on  environmental matters pertaining to the development of an inland, artificial surf wavegarden with associated leisure and accommodation facilities in an old quarry in West Lothian, the first of its kind in Scotland.
  • Providing assistance with permitting, compliance and enforcement issues arising from its waste management sites in Scotland, and providing general regulatory advice on environmental, waste, health and safety and landfill tax matters.
  • Provided a strategic audit and review of the environmental impact assessment forming part of the client’s planning application for a large onshore wind farm in Shetland.
  • Advising this new client on various environmental and regulatory issues relating to its business operations; this includes advice on existing permits and various disputes with customers regarding contaminated materials.
  • Ongoing advice on permitting, compliance and enforcement issues arising from a landfill site.


Senior associate Pamela Coulthard heads the Scottish environment practice at Dentons, which is experienced in providing regulatory and compliance advice alongside transactional support.

Practice head(s):

Pamela Coulthard

Key clients

Avis Budget Group


European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF)

Nynas UK

The Edrington Group

Ho Bee Land

Peel Gas and Oil

Hugh King & Co

Jinmyung FricTech

Work highlights

  • Advising Network Rail on potential environmental liabilities associated with a fire which occurred trackside on Network Rail land.
  • Advising the client on environmental compliance and fire safety matters.
  • Advised Nynas UK on potential environmental liabilities associated with its ongoing operations at a refinery in Dundee.
  • Advised the shareholders of Hugh King & Co, producer of dried mortar and render products and a supplier of sports sand, on the sale of the company to Scottish quarry firm Tillicoultry Quarries.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP has particular expertise in the waste management, minerals, water, energy and food production sectors and handles a wide range of environment work, most notably in relation to contaminated land, waste and operational permits. Senior associate Louise Gibson is the key contact; she regularly handles transactional and advisory work while the team also has notable contentious capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Louise Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Martin Sales; John McGovern

Key clients

Tillicoultry Quarries

Breedon Northern/ Breedon Group

The Scottish Salmon Company

Scottish Canals

The Scottish Government

GP Green Recycling

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of GP Properties (Scotland) on the environmental aspects pertaining to the sale of GP Green Recycling, a waste recycling business based in Lanark, to GWE UK Opco.
  • Advising Scottish Canals on historic surface water and waste water discharges into canals across its Scottish canal network.
  • Acted for the client in land contamination proceedings in the Court of Session following the inadequate disposal of waste products on farm land.
  • Acted in the public inquiry into the application for the Drum Hollistan wind farm, Caithness.
  • Acted in an application for periodic review of a minerals planning permission at Murrayshall Quarry in Stirlingshire, including various environmental matters.

Environmental Law Chambers Ltd

The team at Environmental Law Chambers Ltd is led by 'true specialist' Barry Love and handles the full remit of environment work. Typical instructions involve contaminated land, water pollution and waste management matters, industrial permits, green taxes as well as issues pertaining to dangerous substances and environmental planning.

Practice head(s):

Barry Love

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP's strength lies in dealing with matters at the intersection of environmental and planning law. Based on this, the practice frequently advises clients - many of which are from the public sector - on contentious and non-contentious issues arising from development work and planning appeal proceedings. Peter Ferguson is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ferguson

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Jack


Jennifer Jack has good knowledge and experience of environmental matters.’

Key clients

Scottish Natural Heritage

Historic Environment Scotland

Cairngorms National Park Authority

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Moray Council

West Lothian Council

The Highland Council

Glasgow City Council

Forestry Commission Scotland

Fred. Olsen Renewables

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the client in an appeal against its service of an enforcement notice under the Environmental Impact Assessment Forestry Regulations; this concerned the deforestation of an area of woodland near Monikie, Angus.
  • Represented HES at a public local inquiry concerning the Whitesands Flood Prevention Scheme promoted by Dumfries and Galloway Council.
  • Advising the client on its objection to a planning application for a proposed residential development adjacent to Edinburgh Zoo, which was considered likely to affect the zoo’s two giant pandas adversely.
  • Acted for the clients in negotiating planning agreements with quarry operators to secure the restoration and aftercare of a number of quarry sites.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP

Ledingham Chalmers LLP is best known for its expertise in the oil and gas, renewable energy, forestry, fisheries and farming sectors but the team also handles instructions involving other industries. Recent work includes oil leak, water supply and flooding issues alongside matters arising from renewable energy projects. The 'trustworthyJim Drysdale heads the team from Stirling.

Practice head(s):

Jim Drysdale

Other key lawyers:

David Scott


Good level of knowledge.