Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Environment in Scotland

Pinsent Masons LLP

Embedded in the firm’s UK-wide environment practice, Pinsent Masons LLP handles the full remit of environmental law, with particular expertise in the areas of energy, infrastructure, housing and manufacturing. Legal director Ross McDowall heads up the Scottish practice and is a crucial member of Jennifer Ballantyne‘s UK-wide planning, environment, energy and infrastructure group. The workload ranges from permitting, transactional and planning matters to EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) compliance, litigation and regulatory enforcement. Head of the firm’s global water market group, Gordon McCreath, is also recommended for his contentious and non-contentious expertise in issues pertaining to the management of waste and water.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Ballantyne; Ross McDowall

Other key lawyers:

Gordon McCreath

Key clients


Diamond Transmission Corporation


Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Syngenta Limited

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.
  • Advising Unboxed on the environmental law issues associated with the use of a partially decommissioned North Sea gas rig.
  • Representing SEPA in a number of appeals taken against its permitting decisions, including following its decision to refuse two conjoined environmental permitting applications.

Brodies LLP

With Philip Hunter heading up Brodies LLP‘ environment practice, work at the transactional intersection constitutes a significant area of strength; his expertise is a reflection of the team’s workload, which includes issues pertaining to the management of waste, water pollution and contaminated land, as well as environmental impact assessments, decommissioning projects and low emission zones. Niall McLean is an essential contact for contentious instructions, although is also well-placed to handle environmental due diligence exercises in the non-contentious space.

Practice head(s):

Philip Hunter

Other key lawyers:

Neil Collar; Niall McLean; Sarah-Jane McArthur; George Sismey-Durrant


‘The practice has an exemplary ESG service and are always willing to get involved.’

‘They are always open to exploring potential synergies to make client interactions more effective.’

‘Philip Hunter is committed to environmental and climate law and is an expert voice in this area.’

‘Brodies have proved responsive, client-focused and extremely knowledgeable. They show a real strength in depth with respect to Scots law matters, and we have had an excellent experience working with their strong lawyers.’

‘Philip Hunter shows great calmness and composure in managing rapidly changing transactions, and is someone who you would always trust in challenging moments.’

‘George Sismey-Durrant has excelled in challenging situations a number of times. Someone with a bright future.’

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

Orbital Marine Power

Ikigai Energy


Cooke Aquaculture

Orkney Island Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Clyde Gateway on a geothermal project for low carbon heating.
  • Advising Edinburgh City Council on the implementation of low emission zones.
  • Advised Indaver UK on the acquisition of BIP Chemical Holdings Limited and BIP Environmental Limited.


CMS‘s expertise in the energy and infrastructure sectors translates into regular instructions at various intersections, including environmental impact assessments and habitats regulations appraisals alongside waste and recycling issues, permitting and planning matters, and environmental enforcement actions. Senior associate Joanna Waddell has particular experience in the latter space having handled a number of investigations by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The Edinburgh-based Robin Hutchison heads up the team and is an experienced planning partner with a specialism in renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Robin Hutchison

Other key lawyers:

Mark McMurray; Rosalind Morgan; Joanna Waddell


‘Ability to quickly understand the technical detail and nuances related to the specific sector that we work in. Understanding of risk related to our operations as a result of any issue arising. Ability to react quickly to any issue that arises. Their service gives me confidence in action that we take.’

‘Joanna Waddell – Technical expertise excellent, advice excellent, willingness to utilise colleagues expertise if required to ensure we get the best service, incredibly approachable, empathetic, understands risks and rewards of various strategies, easy to speak to, clear communicator, always able to accommodate tasks at short notice.’

Key clients

Bakkafrost Scotland Limited

Barr Environmental Limited

Brockwell Energy

Cadent Gas

Curlew Property LP

EDF Energy

EDF Renewables


Green Investment Group

Hargreaves Land Limited

Lhyfe SA

National Grid

North Lanarkshire Council

Northern Ireland Water

Red Rock Power

Renfrewshire Council

Repsol Sinopec

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Water


SSE plc

Tarmac Trading Limited

Tarmac Limited

Trump International Golf

University of Glasgow

University of St Andrews

Wind 2 Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised SSE on EIA and HRA for onshore wind projects and hydro schemes, as well as on marine licensing for offshore wind projects.
  • Advised National Grid on the environmental liability issues posed by industrial sites that had been owned by them.
  • Advising Falkirk Council on the development of the Grangemouth Flood Protection Scheme.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Handling waste management issues constitutes a core strength of Davidson Chalmers Stewart‘s team, not least due to the expertise of practice head Laura Tainsh. Recent contentious instructions include Scottish Landfill Tax tribunal cases and enforcement actions, whereas in the non-contentious sphere, the group provides advice on contaminated land in addition to transactional, regulatory, compliance and contractual matters.

Practice head(s):

Laura Tainsh

Other key lawyers:

Laura Irvine


‘An experienced, knowledgeable and friendly team. They work together well to scope out the project brief and take onboard client input.’

‘Where issues do occur they will discuss promptly with the client and agree a way forward. Where required this may involve gaining input from other members of the team.’

‘We value Laura Tainsh for her environmental and waste management expertise.’

Key clients

Saica Natur UK

W.H. Malcolm Limited

Suez Group

Tartan Leisure Limited

Pelagia UK


Scottish Water

Brewster Bros Ltd

Patersons of Greenoakhill

Renewable Power Systems Ltd

Work highlights

  • 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 Brewster Bros. Limited on a transaction involving the lease of sites to be developed for quarrying and aggregates, including all permitting requirements.
  • Advised the Malcolm group on all regulatory and environmental matters, including negotiation with the regulator.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn is noted for its expertise in environmental impact assessments and habitats regulations appraisals, with a particular focus on energy, fish farm and forestry projects, although regulatory matters and transactional work are also areas of strength for the team. Practice head Scott McCallum, an expert in the renewable energy space, is recommended alongside consultant Patricia Hawthorn, who deals with various regulatory and compliance matters in the non-contentious sphere.

Practice head(s):

Scott McCallum

Other key lawyers:

Colin Innes; Patricia Hawthorn


‘Our go-to team for any queries on environmental permitting – they have great experience and are aware of our business needs.’

‘Approachable, friendly and very competent.’

‘Their work is of high quality and they deliver advice under challenging time constraints, which is essential for a business like ours which needs quick feedback on risks.’

Key clients

Orsted Power UK Limited

Moray Offshore Windfarm (West) Limited

Optimus Wind Limited

Scottish Water

Work highlights

  • Advising Ørsted Power UK Limited on the Net Zero Teeside Carbon Capture and Storage Project, including an objection to the Net Zero Teeside DCO.
  • Advising Moray Offshore Windfarm (West) Limited on environmental management plans and ensuring consent compliance.
  • Advising Optimus Wind Limited on a range of matters relating to the Hornsea Project Two.


Glasgow-based senior associate Pamela Coulthard heads up Dentons‘ environment team in Scotland, which sits within the firm’s UK-wide environment practice; she is a regular port of call in regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters pertaining to waste management, pollution prevention, and contaminated land, and often provides transactional support to the firm’s corporate and property groups. Recent work involves clients operating in the retail, oil and gas, manufacturing, financial services, and food and drink sectors.

Practice head(s):

Pamela Coulthard

Key clients

Marks and Spencer

Ministry of Defence

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited


Amazon EU Sarl

Top Golf

Lidl Stiftung & Co

John Lewis Plc

Slip Holdings Pty Ltd

Baxters Food Group Limited

SDI Property Limited/Sports Direct

TK Maxx


The Restaurant Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Lidl Stiftung & Co on the incoming mandatory Scottish Deposit Return Scheme.
  • Advising Premier Foods on the acquisition of The Spice Tailor for an initial consideration of £43.8m.
  • Advising the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on all environmental aspects of its £10bn re-procurement of its maritime services contracts.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP is a regular adviser to public sector bodies, environmental campaign groups and renewable energy developers, with transaction-related environmental due diligence and regulatory matters a typical instruction from the latter. Glasgow-based Peter Ferguson anchors the team’s non-contentious offering, heading up the practice alongside the Edinburgh-based Jennifer Jack, an expert in environmental disputes, such as judicial reviews and public inquiries.

Practice head(s):

Peter Ferguson; Jennifer Jack


‘Jennifer Jack is a very prominent public law specialist who has an excellent grasp of the issues at hand. She quite correctly has received many professional accolades in the past.’

‘Friendly and helpful.’

‘Peter Ferguson is always eager to help.’

Key clients


Marine Scotland

Environmental Standards Scotland

Scottish Forestry

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

Green Power International



Maple Power Limited

Metka EGN Ltd

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.
  • Assisting NatureScot with an opposing appeal to the Scottish Land Court against NatureScot’s refusal of an application for consent to undertake operations within a site of special scientific interest.
  • Advising Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners on the acquisition of a 210mw pumped storage hydro and 33.6mw wind scheme at Glenmuckloch.