Environment in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP fields a ‘large team of environmental experts‘, which covers the full range of environmental matters. Areas of expertise are nuisance proceedings, environmental liability, damage claims and chemicals. The client portfolio includes national and International, public and private energy companies and organisations. Ross Fairley and Ian Salter both have long-standing experience in the field. Michael Barlow specialises in the energy sector. Senior associate Joanne Attwood is another highlighted key practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Michael Barlow

Other key lawyers:

Ian Salter; Ross Fairley; Joanne Attwood; Tom Gillett


‘Legal advice for UK chemicals regulations is becoming increasingly important since the UK left the EU and developed its own regimes. The team at Burges Salmon have quickly identified a need to develop expertise in this area to support and advise their clients and associates.’

‘I have worked with Tom Gillett and have found him to be diligent and knowledgeable in this developing area. As well as providing clear advice on a one to one basis, I also find his contributions in seminars and panel discussions useful and valuable. ’

‘Very good and engaged. Proactive in informing clients of latest developments.’

‘Large team of environmental experts that ensures a wide range of perspectives to be taken into consideration.’

‘Deep subject matter expertise (environment, product chemistry, safety), diverse perspectives, very sensible rates.’

‘On an esoteric safety issue, Ann Metherall has exercised deep expertise, a command of the locations and content of source information, ready familiarity with the applicable legal process, and objective legal counsel.’

‘The team works efficient, swift/fast and practical advices. Their knowledge is really good.’

Key clients

First Group, First Greater Western Ltd

Koch Industries (U.S. headquartered global business)


Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW)

ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez)

EDF Energy

Canal & River Trust

National Trust

Ingenious (investment fund with renewable energy projects portfolios)

GYPC Ltd and Great Yarmouth Port Authority

University of Bristol

Affinity Water

Wessex Water

Georgia-Pacific LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing First Group, First Greater Western Ltd and its directors in its defence of statutory noise nuisance proceedings arising from its operations at its Reading Depot.
  • Acting for GYPC Ltd and Great Yarmouth Port Authority regarding a £37m compensation claim relating to coastal erosion near Great Yarmouth.
  • Representing The Treatment Hub in an appeal against a decision of the environment regulator Natural Resources Wales to suspend the company’s licence to operate.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP has an established practice which is regularly sought after by developers, energy companies and public sector clients. The team covers the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters, including environmental due diligence, site remediation and contaminations. Practice head Matthew Germain is well versed in waste law and senior associate Caroline Bush specialises in questions regarding sustainability and climate change.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Germain

Other key lawyers:

Alan John; Caroline Bush


‘They work well with other teams within OC, easy to work with, constructive approach.’

‘Osborne Clarke provided the independent, professional advice that we needed in a timely and useful manner.’

‘Very approachable and easily understood complex issues that we were facing. Specific stand-out: Caroline Bush.’

‘Due to their openness, ease of contact and knowledge of our business the OC Environmental Team are practically an extension of our internal team. Their knowledge of our sector, our responsibilities and changes in compliance and regulatory responsibilities are invaluable and make them irreplaceable without a lot of time and effort. A move to online meetings during COVID has made us all more efficient and reduced our environmental impact due to the reduction in travel. This has also lead to closer communication and a more flexible working partnership.’

‘As outlined above Caroline Bush and Matt Germain at OC are invaluable to our work and we’d be lost without them. It’s very hard too imagine how a working partnership could be any better. They strike a perfect balance of informality and professionalism, of an easygoing partnership but with a laser focused targeting of anything of which we should be made aware. They understand our business, not only objectively but also as far as its culture and risk appetite goes.’


Key clients

John Laing Environmental Assets Group (UK) Ltd

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd

Vistry Plc

BDW Trading Limited

Stericycle Inc


Western Power Distribution

Biffa Waste Services Ltd

St Modwen Developments Ltd

Clydesdale Bank


Taylor Wimpey






Work highlights

  • Advising John Laing Environmental Assets Group (UK) Ltd on the acquisition of the 5 MWth Peacehill Farm anaerobic digestion plant in Wormit, Fife.
  • Acted for Vistry Group Plc on the acquisition from Enfield Borough Council of land for the regeneration project at Meridian Water.
  • Providing the Stericycle with general environmental support on issues such as waste management contracts, transfrontier shipment of waste and Brexit.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has experience in representing clients in investigations and prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and local authorities. It also covers regulatory compliance and transactional support. Practice head Jon Cooper's know-how spans health, safety and environment law. Legal director Sarah Holmes covers the interface with consenting and other regimes.

Practice head(s):

Jon Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Panton; Sarah Holmes


‘The team has a depth and breadth of working knowledge and experience that they bring together collaboratively to provide practical solutions that have the client’s needs and success in mind.’

‘Sarah Holmes has incredible expertise and is able to convey complex issues in simple plain English that allows decision making that supports our strategic goals. I have used her to speak at public events on a number of occassions as I know she is eloquent, helpful and a safe pair of hands. I frequently recommend her and her work.’

‘Dedicated team with real expertise in environmental matters, particularly litigation. ’

‘Jon Cooper: great strategic brain and excellent with clients.’

‘Stephen Panton: always on top of the detail and excellent knowledge of the law.’

‘Personable interaction and diversity of knowledge, immediate response to request of help and advise.’

‘Approachable with in depth knowledge in a variety of subjects and willing to discuss and advise at all times including out of hours. Do not force their opinion but offer good sound advice to be able to form a resolution to a situation.’

Key clients

North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, West of England Combined Authority

The Crown Estate Commissioners

Ambition Community Energy

Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (NRIL)

Work highlights

  • Advising the councils on the environmental impact assessment and Habitats Regulations aspects of the reopening of the railway between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services.
  • Advised The Crown Estate on this exciting project to grant the first offshore exploration rights in the UK to explore for Lithium.
  • Assisting an multinational energy and waste business with overseeing the delivery of the environmental law content of a HighQ Publisher platform through which a legislation tracker with helpline support is provided to our client to ensure that their business can best navigate changes as a result of Brexit.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP supports its clients in the whole life cycle of a project, and covers here contentious as well as non-contentious environmental matters. The members have particular strong expertise in the waste sector and advises food producers, energy companies, developers and funders. Development-specialist Brian Farrell and Ben Derrington, who combines environment, health and safety expertise, jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ben Derrington; Brian Farrell

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Croley


‘Regulatory and Information Governance. This small team has excellent all round in-depth knowledge in this field. This combined with good client care skills and ability to explain highly technical matters to the lay client make this team a noteworthy addition for this firm.’

‘They are able to make complicated/ technical matters seem straightforward and easy to understand and they are able to demonstrate a pragmatic approach to all situations.’

‘The Ashfords team gets to know its clients in a comprehensive and unique fashion. Having got to grips with the client’s business, it is uniquely well-placed to steer the client through the difficulties the case may present.’

‘Once the client has experienced Ben Derrington’s attention to detail, they want no one else to fill those shoes.’

‘Ben Derrington is second to none. His knowledge of client businesses goes before him, both in legal circles and in the commercial community. He never ceases to work for his clients and with Ben, they rightly feel looked after in all respects and in the best possible way.’

Key clients

Urbaser Ltd

Pennon Group plc

Noble Foods Ltd

Somerset Drainage Board

Wandsworth Borough Council

Torbay Council

Assured Energy LLP

Framptons Ltd



Lakeside Energy from Waste Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising a multinational waste business on environmental risk mitigation in the acquisition of a multi-site landfill and municipal waste recycling business, including risks arising from landfill aftercare, permit surrenders and variations, contaminated land remediation and management of enforcement risk in respect of permit breaches.
  • Advising Framptons on its energy savings agreement with Pure World Energy for the design, installation, maintenance and operation of a gas-powered turbine to deliver heat and electricity to Framptons under an ESCo-style arrangement.
  • Advising the Council as principal sponsor, lender, shareholder in the Fareham Battery Storage project.

Clarke Willmott LLP

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP is regularly instructed by companies, landowners and farmers, and it has special know-how in the agriculture and waste sectors. The members of the practice often defend clients in environmental prosecutions and environmental litigation claims. Neil Baker leads the team and has experience in development schemes. Joann Bainton provides 'excellent transactional support for environmental matters.'

Practice head(s):

Neil Baker

Other key lawyers:

Joann Bainton; Daniel Gill


‘Joann Bainton offers excellent transactional support for environmental matters and is my go to for these aspects across all clients and industry sectors. She offers a great blend of technical expertise, cost effective and pragmatic advice delivered with responsiveness and approachability throughout.’


Key clients

Acorn Property Group

Anthony Rew

Barratt Homes Bristol

BDW South West

Bloor Homes

Bristol Water Plc

Cove Communities

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Persimmon Homes

Wessex Water Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Cove Communities on environmental issues associated with the purchase of the UK ‘s largest residential park at Kings Park Village, Essex.
  • Advising a landowner on environmental issues (predominately ecology and air quality) associated with a planning appeal in connection with the proposed residential development of land within Teignbridge District for 1,275 new homes.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP's main areas of activity are contaminated land and other environmental liabilities, regulatory law and environmental due diligence. The team advises insurance, real estate, health, commercial and investment clients and is led by the 'thorough' legal director Anne Harrison, regulatory specialist Ian Manners and contentious expert Neil ScottSally Roff moved to the Newport-office.

Practice head(s):

Anne Harrison; Ian Manners; Neil Scott


‘The key individual in Bristol is Consultant Neil Scott with over 30 years’ experience in the defence of environmental investigations and prosecutions with major trial experience and successes. Neil applies an attention to detail combined with excellent client skills. The team is on the rise with environmental regulatory work being expanded both in the South west and nationally by Bristol based partner Ian Manners.’

‘Anne Harrison is amongst the best environmental lawyers in the region. Thorough in approach, combined with a real understanding of environmental litigation.’

‘Key capabilities include the criminal law background within the team and its application to investigation, analysis of evidence and criminal procedure with attention to detail. The team has significant trial experience and achieves the best outcomes for clients utilising specialist Counsel and experts.’

Key clients

Royal Mail

Crest Nicholson

South West Water

Keepmoat Homes Ltd

NFU Mutual

Zurich Insurance

Abacus Projects Limited

Taylor Wimpey plc

Deeley Freed Estates Limited

DFE TW Residential Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising South West Water on multiple Environment Agency Investigations from initial investigation, regulatory investigation and enforcement action.
  • Advising Abacus Projects Limited on environmental impact assessment and habitats regulation assessments, biodiversity net gain and comprehensive ecological mitigation package to safeguard greater horseshow bats and cirl buntings.
  • Advising NFU Mutual on multiple policyholder incidents involving permitting and pollution offences.

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP is noted for its 'excellent expertise in planning and environmental work'. Instructed by landowners and businesses, the group acts in contentious and non-contentious matters, in particular in the energy, waste and rural and agricultural sector. Practice head Alex Madden is well versed in agricultural development and renewables. Rosalyn Trotman  has experience in urban planning.

Practice head(s):

Alex Madden

Other key lawyers:

Fred Quartermain; Fred Quartermain


‘The Thrings environmental team is led by Alex Madden who has many years’ experience in environmental and planning matters, often dealing with highly contentious cases. He has a good tactical sense together with advice tempered by realism – a good combination when litigation is afoot. ’

‘The planning and environmental team collaborate effectively across instructions. I have dealt with various matters for different members of the team, when discussing a particular case it is clear that the team as a whole, rather than just the Partner / file handler, are aware of how matters are proceeding. In particular it allows for successful strategies to be shared and replicated across cases where appropriate.’

‘Fred Quartermain – deep planning knowledge, not afraid to get into the legal nitty gritty even in the most obscure of cases, capable, organised and always puts the work in for his clients.

‘Alex Madden – very personable, good client care, provides practical and realistic advice often on matters no well trodden, always takes a strategic view to securing desired outcomes.’

‘They are a medium sized practice in Bristol with a good range of clients and are, perhaps for that reason, very approachable and informal. They have an excellent expertise in planning and environmental work which they have built up over the years. Their size is important because it makes them flexible and much less rigid than the larger firms.’

‘Alex Madden and Ros Trotman: I would speak highly of them both. They are extremely capable and conscientious. From counsel’s point of view you know they are completely reliable. Anything you do will be thought about and not taken for granted. That is priceless because you know an intelligent interest is being taken and they are not behaving as a sort of ‘post box’ between you and the lay client. Administratively extremely efficient; they do not miss deadlines; you know that bundles of documents and anything to do with the court will work and will not be skimped or missed.’


Key clients

PB Leiner UK Limited

Alford Technologies Limited

Crown Waste Management Ltd

Vastern Timber Company Limited

Hills Waste Solutions Limited

Laverstoke Park Farm Limited

Newland Homes Limited

Wight Farm Energy

Denhay Farms Limited

Longwood Water Company

BAM Nuttall

Work highlights

  • Assisted Vastern Timber Company Limited with a Statutory Nuisance in relation to one of the largest hardwood sawmills in the Country.
  • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review challenge into the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the development consent order for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm.
  • Advising Newland Homes, a regional housebuilder, on environmental liabilities and clauses for the proposed acquisition of a site.


The key names for environmental matters in TLT's Bristol office include planning head Katherine Evans, commercial regulatory head Kerry Gwyther and solicitor advocate Duncan Reed. Recent work of note has included a range of transactional and contentious matters, including representing clients in defence of proceedings brought by local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Evans; Kerry Gwyther

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Reed

Key clients

Punch Taverns

Gresham House

Innova Energy

McCarthy Marland

Work highlights

  • Advised Gresham House on its investment into an alternative fuel pelleting facility being developed by Waste Knot Energy.
  • Advised Innova Energy on the acquisition of a 5MW operating solar plant which supplies the largest soft drink bottling facility in Europe operated by Coca-Cola European Partners.
  • Represented South West recycling and waste management company McCarthy Marland Limited in relation to a complex claim for breach of share purchase agreement.