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Environment in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

The ‘practical, cost-effective and very commercially orientated' Burges Salmon LLP covers environmental matters across sectors including energy, transport, chemicals, real estate, infrastructure and projects, as well as being active in the public sector. The team specialises in environmental regulatory work and provides ‘first-class lawyers’. Simon Tilling leads the team and advises on operational compliance, regulatory investigations, enforcement and environmental civil claims. Also notable are Michael Barlow, who has ‘long experience of this area and a keen eye for detail'; nuclear specialist Ian Salter; Ross Fairley, who is particularly well known for renewables work; and senior associate Joanne Attwood, who has expertise in contentious and non-contentious environmental and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Simon Tilling


‘Really strong case management and technical input, particularly on complex and high-pressure litigation’

‘Measured approach that understands the big picture whatever the short-term pressures’

‘A real pleasure to work with.  Reliable and trustworthy team members’

‘Great technical knowledge and always 100% behind the client’s best interests’

‘Very good at understanding the different dimensions and perspectives within complex litigation, and resourceful under pressure’

‘Adept at knowing when advice is needed and where to turn.  Not easily ruffled’

‘Stephen Lavington is a very talented lawyer with a calm and steady manner. He is an excellent team player, technically strong and great on paper too’

‘Strength in depth across all sectors of environmental law and willingness to engage in the development of this area beyond the normal demands of private practice’

‘Simon Tilling has a deep knowledge and love of the law and puts this to good practical use in delivering solutions for clients’

‘Michael Barlow is highly methodical in approach. His project management skills on large complex matters are outstanding’

Key clients

First Group, First Greater Western Ltd

Koch Industries


Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW)

ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez)

EDF Energy

Canal & River Trust

National Trust

Severnside Distribution Land Ltd



GYPC Ltd and Great Yarmouth Port Authority

University of Bristol

Affinity Water

Wessex Water

Georgia-Pacific LLC

Work highlights

  • Acting for FirstGroup in a high-profile and complex noise nuisance action. The outcome of the litigation will have implications for the entire transport infrastructure network.
  • Acting for RTF Ltd on the protection of its interests in a regulatory matter involving the European Chemicals Agency and the chemicals agencies of Finland and France relating to the appropriate regulatory control of chemical substances.
  • Acting for KMPG in a dispute concerning responsibilities for contaminated land in an insolvency, covering the question of who pays the significant clean-up costs.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Acting for developers, energy firms and public sector clients, Osborne Clarke covers the spectrum of environmental work, including site remediation and crisis response in contamination incidents. The firm has expertise in regulatory investigations and prosecutions brought by environmental regulators, as well as the more niche areas of climate change, carbon trading and waste law. Matthew Germain leads the practice and specialises in waste law and renewable energy projects. Also notable are Alan John, who advises on climate change, sustainability and low-carbon business, and senior associate Caroline Bush, who focuses on projects in sectors ranging from energy and renewables to retail and residential property.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Germain

Other key lawyers:

Alan John; Caroline Bush

Key clients

John Laing Environmental Assets Group (UK) Ltd

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd on all the environmental law aspects of the development of a £80m energy-from-waste plant in Westbury, Wiltshire, and its fuel needs.
  • Advising John Laing Environmental Assets Group (UK) Ltd on several acquisitions, including the client’s first foray into the hydropower project sector.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises on environmental impact and habitat regulations assessments, as well as providing expertise in enforcement and transactional support. The firm has experience in the retail, transport, minerals, waste, oil, gas and renewables sectors. Jon Cooper leads the practice and specialises in contentious and non-contentious health, safety and environment matters. Also notable in the team is legal director Sarah Holmes, who focuses on planning and environmental law work.

Practice head(s):

Jon Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Holmes

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

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Post Office Limited

Shell UK Limited

Carlsberg UK

Babcock International Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council on the reopening of the railway between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services.

Ashfords LLP

Acting for regional, national and international clients, Ashfords LLP provides expertise in contentious, enforcement-related matters, as well as issues relating to renewable energy and municipal energy-from-waste projects. In addition to a specialist regulatory practice, the firm has experience in commercial dispute resolution, regulatory defence and contentious civil proceedings. Brian Farrell focuses on energy generation and infrastructure projects, advising the public and private sectors. He co-leads the team with legal director Ben Derrington, who advises clients in the waste sector on permitting and defence matters, as well as developmental and policy issues.

Practice head(s):

Brian Farrell; Ben Derrington


‘Ben Derrington’s intense and insightful client focus is what makes Ashfords the go-to firm in this region’

‘Careful attention to detail, coupled with complete understanding of the position of key witnesses’

‘The Ashfords team translates its genuine concern into highly effective action’

‘Ben Derrington’s careful analysis of the case in hand, coupled with his genuine concern for clients’ wellbeing, is what makes him unique’

Key clients

Ixora Energy Limited

Urbaser Limited

Lakeside Energy From Waste Limited

Wichelstowe LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising Lakeside Energy From Waste Limited, the owner of an energy-from-waste facility, on the procurement of a new construction contractor for the like-for-like replacement of the 440ktpa energy-from-waste facility near Heathrow Airport.
  • Advising Wichelstowe LLP, a housing developer, in respect of its letting of a concession for the installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of electric vehicle charging points in a multi-phase housing development.
  • Advising Ixora Energy Limited on the negotiation of a lease for a new digestate lagoon, including advice on the interplay with existing contractual commitments and planning requirements.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Advising on a range of contentious and non-contentious environmental work, Clarke Willmott LLP acts for clients ranging from listed companies to individual landowners. The firm has particular experience in the agriculture and waste sectors, as well as in defending environmental prosecutions and other enforcement actions. Neil Baker leads the team and advises developers and landowners on environmental issues relating to development schemes. Also notable is Joann Bainton, who joined in 2019 from Sidley Austin LLP and brings expertise in environment, planning and related public law matters.

Practice head(s):

Neil Baker

Other key lawyers:

Tim Hayden

Key clients

Acorn Property Group

Anthony Rew

Barratt Homes Bristol

BDW South West

Bloor Homes

Bristol Water Plc

Ireosa Limited

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Persimmon Homes

Wessex Water Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Mactaggart and Mickel on objections raised by Natural England relating to protected bat species and their habitats in connection with a successful planning appeal relating to 450 dwellings at Youngwood Lane, Nailsea, Somerset.
  • Providing Ireosa Limited with sentencing mitigation in connection with an Environment Agency prosecution relating to a pollution incident involving the escape of slurry from a farm.
  • Advising Anthony Rew on environmental issues relating to ecology and air quality associated with a planning appeal for the proposed development of 1,275 houses within the district of Teignbridge.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP has experience in transactional and contentious environment and planning matters. The firm is active in environment-related claims in the insurance sector, as well as providing expertise in regulatory issues, commercial advice and environmental due diligence. Sally Roff specialises in the defence of corporate entities and individuals facing regulatory investigation and prosecution. She co-leads the team with legal director Anne Harrison, who advises private and public sector clients on regulatory environmental law matters in an operational and transactional context.

Practice head(s):

Sally Roff; Anne Harrison


I have worked with Anne Harrison, rather than the whole team. She is very highly regarded as an environmental/planning solicitor – working to a very high standard for top FTSE 100 companies.’

As above. You would do well to listen to advice that Anne Harrison gives in this sector.’


Key clients

Somerset County Council

Royal Mail

Crest Nicholson

South West Water

DFE TW Residential Ltd

Taylor Wimpey

Abacus Projects Limited

Deeley Freed Estates Limited

Keepmoat Homes Ltd


Work highlights

  • Advising Abacus on a 373 residential unit planning application, located within the ‘sustenance zone’ for bats connected to the South Hams Special Area of Conservation and on land used by cirl buntings.
  • Advised Blackpool Council on the acquisition of Houndshill Shopping Centre, which is located on a potentially contaminated site.
  • Defending Crest Nicholson in a prosecution brought by Thames Water alleging multiple standpipe connections to a public water main.

Thrings LLP

The ‘entirely professionalThrings LLP ‘goes the extra mile' and has experience advising on non-contentious and contentious environmental matters, primarily for businesses and landowners. The firm has a particular focus on the energy, waste and agricultural sectors, as well as advising on matters that arise in property transactions and development schemes. Alex Madden leads the team and specialises in contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental work.

Practice head(s):

Alex Madden


‘The team at Thrings are adept at dealing with a wide range of planning and environmental matters’

‘Members of the team have a deep knowledge of the law which is combined with a practical, real world approach’

‘They often deal with unusual and complex matters and they are used to solving problems no matter how difficult’

‘Fred Quartermain has excellent legal knowledge, superb client skills and a dedication to getting the right result’

‘Very competent in their area’

‘Alex Madden is a partner who is always alert to do the best for his clients and will always try to think out of the box’

‘Rosalyn Trotman is able to absorb the detail but also does not lose sight of the wider picture’

Key clients

PB Gelatins UK  Limited

Alford Technologies Limited

Crown Waste Management Ltd

WZ Packaging

Hills Waste Solutions Limited

Laverstoke Park Farm Limited

Newland Homes Limited

Wight Farm Energy

Denhay Farms Limited

EU Plants Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided environmental impact assessment scoping advice to Wasdell Properties Limited in respect of a hybrid application for a proposed science park in Swindon.
  • Advising Newland Homes, a regional housebuilder, on environmental liabilities and clauses for the proposed acquisition of a site.
  • Acted for Adames (Flansham) Ltd in relation to a flood remediation notice issued by the Environment Agency.


TLT is known for its environmental crime and regulatory compliance expertise. The firm is particularly strong in investigations, prosecutions and other enforcement actions taken by the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and local authorities. The practice also advises on the environmental aspects of real estate and corporate transactions, notably contaminated land and regeneration schemes. Katherine Evans focuses on waste regulation and contaminated land matters, specialising in mining and minerals. She co-leads the team with Kerry Gwyther, who advises corporates and directors on regulatory compliance issues.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Evans; Kerry Gwyther

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Ryan; Duncan Reed

Key clients

Punch Taverns

Robinson Webster (Holdings) Limited (‘Jigsaw’)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Work highlights

  • Advising Punch Taverns in relation to complex environmental, planning and listed building proceedings brought by a local authority.
  • Acted on behalf of Jigsaw regarding alleged offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • Advising the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in connection with a number of strategic follow-up issues following the adoption of the model Assignment of Rights contract.