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

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Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Environment clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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‘In terms of practicality and technicality’, clients rate Burges Salmon LLP’s environment group as ‘one of the top practices in the nation’. The firm is most active in industry sectors with considerable environmental risks, such as energy and real estate development and transportation, and the environment team has developed formidable regulatory expertise to service the firm’s varied client-base. Department head Michael Barlow represented Geo Specialty Chemicals in an unprecedented appeal regarding the company’s obligations under a climate change agreement. The highly recommended Simon Tilling helped advise The European Commission in evaluating the adequacy of its REACH regulations in addressing microplastic pollution in the cosmetic industry. Acting alongside Ross Fairley, Tilling also assisted a major energy company with the decommissioning of a coal-fired power plant. The group has also been increasingly involved in corporate noise pollution claims. Other key figures include Ian Salter and James Phillips.

Working across a range of industry sectors, Osborne Clarke regularly advises its clients on environmental concerns relating to renewables and housing development, distribution and supply chain agreements and climate change regulation. Matthew Germain is instructed by a number of corporate utility providers and waste management groups and is acting for those clients on the environmental aspects of various infrastructure projects. Germain also represented a recycling company in a major investigation by the Environment Agency. Moreover, the department has a dedicated contentious environmental practice led by senior associate Georgia Lythgoe, who specialises in health and safety and environmental crime. Alan John heads the environment department and senior associate Caroline Bush is another active member of the team. Key clients include Churngold Recycling, Northacre Renewable Energy and Barratt London.

‘Responsive, pragmatic and technically sound’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides a range of contentious and non-contentious environmental advice to clients in the oil and gas, waste, minerals and transport sectors. Managing associate Stephen Panton represented a major client of the team in an Environment Agency prosecution relating to a chemical spill allegedly responsible for the death of a large fish population. In the non-contentious space, the team often handles the environmental aspects of infrastructure development. Indeed, legal director Sarah Holmes advised a consortium of local authorities on the environmental assessments related to the reopening of passenger train services from Bristol to Portishead. Holmes is also noted for her ‘extensive knowledge of waste-related legislation’. Group head Jon Cooper has defended corporates in matters ranging from an oil spill to noise pollution. The Crown Estate, Network Rail Infrastructure and Shell UK are among the team’s key clients.

With strengths in the waste, agriculture and construction sectors, the environment team at Ashfords LLP is best known for defending corporates in Environment Agency investigations and enforcement actions. Recognised for his ‘pragmatic approach to regulatory negotiations’, senior associate Jeremy Asher  has represented agricultural groups, large utilities providers, haulage companies and individuals against the Environment Agency in various matters including pollution and breach of environmental permits. Asher also assisted a harbour company with a private prosecution concerning an oil spill in the client’s harbour. Further, Jack Baumgardt is defending an individual in connection with a chemical spill and subsequent ground water contamination. On the non-contentious side, Voke is advising a major transportation company on a strategic plan to address traffic pollution in a large domestic metropolitan area. CCC Construction is among the departments clients.

Clarke Willmott LLP advises on environmental issues associated with planning and infrastructure development mandates and is also well-known for its experience in the agricultural industry. The team also assists individuals in non-regulatory environmental contentious claims. Indeed, senior associate Daniel Gill successfully represented a car wash owner against Bristol City Council regarding a series of complaints made by local residents concerning noise emanating from the client’s business. Department head Neil Baker advised a property developer on a threatened enforcement claim regarding the company’s alleged failure to complete relevant environmental surveys in relation to a particular site. Further, Karen Howe advised Crematoria Management on the need for a scoping opinion request in connection with the re-determination of a planning request for a new crematorium. Howe has also advised significant public and private sector clients on contaminated land liability concerns. Tim Hayden is another key contact.

Noted for its ‘commitment to outstanding service’, DAC Beachcroft LLP provides environmental advice in the context of property development, regulatory investigations and public and private sector corporate and commercial transactions. Practice head Anne Harrison is a qualified barrister and was promoted to legal director in 2017. Harrison is acting for a UK building materials company in relation to claims by a household-name multinational corporate regarding alleged emissions emanating from the client’s neighbouring site. On the non-contentious side, Harrison has assisted clients such as Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Sheffield with environmental due diligence in connection with property sale and transfer transactions. The team also advises Wainhomes North West on compliance matters, and recently counselled the client on a threatened enforcement action by the Environment Agency. Neil Scott is an ‘extremely professional’ consultant in the department.

TLT’s ‘highly specialised department’ is ‘more than capable of dealing with most serious environmental concerns’. Headed by Katherine Evans, the team regularly advises its enviable corporate client-base on compliance and environmental due diligence in connection with corporate and real estate transactions. Additionally, Evans is counselling an energy company on its liabilities in connection with a headline national energy project. The highly regarded Kerry Gwyther acts for Punch Taverns in relation to its statutory nuisance proceedings, and is also advises a major UK festival on compliance and risk mitigation. Similarly, legal director Duncan Reed is advising a prominent UK educational institution on a matter regarding an alleged asbestos exposure. The Bristol team regularly works alongside the firm’s specialist environment lawyers in Manchester and Belfast.

The team at Michelmores LLP possesses ‘a breadth of expertise’ that makes it ‘a serious contender in the regional environmental law market’. The highly regarded Mark Howard has particular expertise in planning and waste-related environmental issues. Indeed, Howard has assisted local authorities with waste disposal contracts and landowner agreements governing mineral extraction; he has also advised a prominent house builder on a business-critical environmental concern. The team also handles environmental due diligence for corporate and real estate transactions and has experience in contaminated land and flood plane analyses. On the contentious side, Howard represented a farmer in negotiations with the Environment Agency concerning the breach of an environmental permit.

Well known for its formidable mining and mineral practice, Stephens Scown LLP regularly advises on myriad complex environmental issues facing the mining industry. Following success at first instance, the ‘approachable, but professional’ department head, Christopher Tofts, defended a quarry operator in an appeal concerning a statutory nuisance claim brought by a local authority. Further, Tofts provides ongoing non-contentious environmental advice to clients such as Strongbow Exploration and Imerys Minerals. In addition to its mining-sector work, the team has advised Ixora Energy on various planning and environmental issues concerning its anaerobic digestion sites throughout the South West. Additional clients include Portland Stone Firms and Mulciber.

Thrings LLP has particular experience with environmental matters in the energy, waste and agricultural sectors. Of particular note, department head Alex Madden acted for PB Gelatins UK in negotiations with Natural Resources Wales in relation to a pollution incident on the River Taff. Additionally, Madden is representing a landowner in an investigation by the Environment Agency regarding water discharge activities. The team also advised WZ Packaging on an alleged environmental permitting regulations offence and continues to act for the client in relation to potential claims brought by the local authority. In the non-contentious space, the group regularly handles environmental due diligence projects and advises on the environmental aspects of planning permits. Associate Matt Gilks joined from Dutton Gregory LLP.

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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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