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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

John Houlden

Work 0117 902 2796
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Projects/procurement/state aid.


Advises on procurement, state aid, projects, competition and regulatory issues. Advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on a number of major projects. Other clients include the Home Office, Department for Transport, Eurostar, FirstGroup, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ofcom, the Welsh Government, Department for Education, Environment Agency and Babcock.


Trained Burges Salmon; qualified 1999; partner 2008.




Chair of various Procurement Lawyers Association working groups; member of UK State Aid Lawyers Association.


Educated at University of Leeds (BA Hons); College of Law (Dip Law; 8+ years PQE).


Enjoys sports and theatre.

London: Public sector

Administrative and public law

Within: Administrative and public law

Cross-disciplinary teams at Burges Salmon LLP handle mandates from the public and private sector, especially in the transport, energy and waste arenas. Gary Solomon and John Houlden co-head the work that includes advising OFWAT on its Water 2020 Programme for the future regulation of the sector. It continues to advise the Welsh Government/Transport for Wales which includes discussions between Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State for Transport on the  transfer rail franchising powers to Wales.

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South West: Corporate and commercial

EU and competition

Within: EU and competition

Burges Salmon LLP provides comprehensive advice on merger control issues, regulatory investigations and competition litigation, and is especially active in the food and drink sector, as well as highly regulated industries such as rail transportation. The department was significantly strengthened in 2017 by the arrival of Chris Worall from Clifford Chance. Since joining, Worrall has taken on a number of high-profile instructions, which has included advising Abellio, as member of a tripartite joint venture, on the merger control aspects of the joint venture’s acquisition of the West Midlands rail franchise. Additionally, Worrall and Laura Claydon represented The Co-operative Group in pre-notification negotiations with the CMA in connection with the client’s proposed £143m acquisition of Nisa Retail. Further, Claydon is acting for The Co-operative Group and Somerfield Stores in a multimillion-pound claim against the CMA regarding an historical fine concerning the retail pricing of tobacco products. John Houlden specialises in state aid and procurement law and Noel Beale has ‘particular expertise in competition issues facing the water industry’.

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South West: Public sector

Local government

Within: Local government

‘Professional and easy to work with’, Burges Salmon LLP advises local authorites on various legal issues including statutory powers, constitutional issues and schemes of delegation, cprocurement, planning and compulsory purchase and compensation. Gary Soloman heads the team and specialises in regeneration and compulsory purchase work. John Houlden deals with regulated procurement, state aid and European funding projects. Marcus Harling focuses on procurement issues in relation to infrastructure and built environment sectors. Matthew Ramus is adept at handling commercial projects, alternative delivery models (ADMs), PPP and PFI projects. Tom Dunn deals with local government pension schemes. Ross Polkinghorne led on advising Stevenage Borough Council on the selection of a development partner for a mixed use redevelopment of Stevenage town centre. Other highlights for the practice included advising Isle of Anglesey County Council on the proposed development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa and new 400kv grid connection.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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