Environmental Enforcement

“Six Pump Court is ‘the best regulatory chambers in the UK and remains the professionals’ choice’.

Members continue to be at the forefront of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases and also act for major developers, waste industry clients and regulators, as well as appearing on Attorney General’s lists.”

Legal 500 (2017)

“Members here are known for their expert handling of investigations and prosecutions of environmental criminal matters. They are also recognised for their knowledge of regulatory matters, with one source saying: “They are true regulatory lawyers and they do it day in, day out.” Other matters handled include judicial reviews, and pollution and nuisance cases. Sources say: “This is a high-calibre set right from the junior members through to QCs.”

Chambers & Partners (2014)

 

Six Pump Court is highly regarded as a specialist chambers in environmental regulation, due to the recognised knowledge and abilities of its regulatory team. Led by Stephen Hockman QC, our team has the depth and expertise necessary to handle any and all environmental cases, whether that be coherent, clear advice during the early stages of a criminal investigations, outstanding skilled advocacy in Court or tactical intelligent representation in judicial review proceedings.

Members of chambers routinely provide lectures and training to both solicitors and regulators, on such topics as “advising private equity on environmental liabilities”, “end of waste” and “the practical application of the new Definitive Environmental Sentencing Guideline”. We are contributors to Burnett Hall on Environmental Law and have no less than 12 members appointed to the Attorney General’s List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates, more than any other set of chambers.

For a list of our most recent seminar topics on environmental enforcement, please click here.

For details of our Planning Enforcement work please click here.

 

Specialist areas

 Waste (including Hazardous Waste)

Water Pollution

Export of Waste Abroad (Transfrontier Shipments of Waste)

Judicial Review and Environmental Regulation

Injunctions, Permit Appeals, Suspension and Enforcement Notices

Enforcement and Interpretation of Environmental Permits

Odour

Confiscation

Fisheries

 

Waste (including hazardous waste)

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Walker & Son (Hauliers) Ltd [2014] EWCA Crim 100
Instructed for the Environment Agency as Prosecutor in an appeal against conviction to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, which determined that it is no defence for a landowner to state that he genuinely believed an environmental permit legitimising the operations on site existed.

Environment Agency v Churngold Recycling Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 909
Civil claim arising out of the exercise by the Environment Agency of its powers of search and seizure against a business known as Churngold. Successfully argued in the Court of Appeal that the challenge to the environment agency’s use of its powers was unfounded. The case is a leading authority on the tort of conversion.

R (Environment Agency) v Bloom (Plant) Ltd & Others
Prosecution of several companies and individuals for numerous offences concerning multiple illegal waste sites across the Midlands region. The allegations included the mishandling and storage of asbestos waste generated from construction and demolition and repeated failures to follow environmental regulations.

R (Environment Agency) v Romani & Hire It Ltd
Representing defendant landowner and company in relation to deposit of vast quantity of waste on residential land. Secured acquittals for both defendants at trial following submissions in relation to the application of the Non-Waste Framework Directive exempt activities.

R (Environment Agency & HSE) v Alsagar Contractors
Significant joint EA and HSE investigation and environmental permit revocation appeal concerning the treatment of asbestos waste in waste transfer stations, where members of chambers acted both for the regulators and for the appellant company, . This case has already changed the way these waste transfer stations operate with regards to asbestos and successfully revoked the permit for the EA to operate their waste transfer stations and required all of their sites to be cleaned up.

R (Environment Agency) v Powerday PLC
Members of chambers represent both the prosecution and the defendant waste company for offences concerning the acceptance of huge quantities of hazardous waste at a central London waste transfer station. Complex case currently proceeding to trial via preparatory hearing procedure.

Environment Agency v Land Network Ltd & another
Members of chambers represented the prosecution and both defendant companies in a large scale hazardous waste case concerning the deposit of waste on land for remediation.

R v Greenwood and Others
Members of chambers both prosecuted and defended in a multi-defendant prosecution concerning the illegal storage and treatment of hazardous wastes at various sites on Teesside.

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Water Pollution

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2013] 1 WLR 3641
Represented the Environment Agency in this long running prosecution of Thames Water following a flooding incident in south London in 2003. The case constituted a test case concerning the deposit of sewage on land. Following the appeal, the Crown Court rejected TWUL’s appeal, maintained the fines and increased the compensation orders paid to residents affected by the flooding which had led to escapes of raw sewerage over a period of 3 months in 2003. The case was referred to the European Court of Justice on a preliminary issue.

R (Environment Agency) v Anglian Water
Prosecution of Anglian Water in relation to Category 1 (i.e. most serious) environmental impact following discharge of raw sewage into river for approximately 12 hours from the overflow at a sewage pumping station controlled by AW. Case involved complex expert evidence concerning the operation of telemetry systems to enable the monitoring of remote operational sites. One of the first serious environmental cases to be sentenced under the new Environmental Sentencing Guideline.

R (Environment Agency) v South West Water
Prosecution of the utility company for breakdowns at three individual sites in Devon and Cornwall, resulting in sewage discharges into the watercourse.

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Export of Waste Abroad (Transfrontier Shipments of Waste)

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Ideal Waste Paper Co. Ltd and Newport International
The case concerned the classification of so-called ‘Green List Waste’ and whether paper exported to China by the defendants could be correctly described as such. Representing the defendants in this Court of Appeal case. The case returned to trial in mid 2013 where the prosecution accepted the contentions of the defendant company and offered no evidence. The case has become very significant because of the points taken with regards to the levels of permitted contaminants in ‘Green List Waste’.

R (Environment Agency) v Worldwide Biorecyclables Ltd & Others
The largest prosecution of its kind to date for the illegal export of household waste to Brazil in which 89 shipping containers of waste were repatriated to the UK, together with a complaint from the Brazilian government. Members of chambers were instructed in respect of two companies and their director.

R (Environment Agency) v Packcare Ltd & Others
Members of chambers both prosecuted and defended in this multi-handed prosecution of 4 companies and 8 individuals concerned in the illegal processing and export of contaminated plastic waste to Pakistan, India and Hong Kong.

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Judicial Review and Environmental Regulation

Recent cases include:

Sydenham Scrap Metal Ltd –v- Environment Agency and DEFRA
Acted for the Environment Agency in a judicial review against the regulator’s decision to de-register an exemption used by a company to operate its scrap metal business. The challenge concerned lawfulness of the decision to de-register and wider arguments concerning the transposition of the Waste Framework Directive and interpretation of the Permitting Regulations 2010.

Re: The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme
Statutory Appeal under the Greenhouse Gas Trading Scheme Regulations 2005 against the service by the EA of a civil penalty notice in the amount of £1million. The appeal to the Welsh Ministers (because the refinery is situated in Wales) was heard in September 2012. The person appointed to hear the appeal (David Hart QC) found in favour of the EA on one ground of Murco’s appeal but accepted that the other grounds were matters for the High Court by way of judicial review proceedings. Murco joined the Welsh Ministers as co defendants to the judicial review proceedings commenced in January 2012 against DECC and the EA. The proceedings were ultimately settled.

U v Environment Agency
Judicial review proceedings and urgent interim injunction proceedings brought against the Environment Agency following the issue of a Suspension Notice for alleged breaches of relevant guidance on the storage of wood waste storage leading to a risk of serious pollution.

Costs recovery under COMAH Regulations 1999

Instructed by the Environment Agency in judicial review proceedings that challenged the legitimacy of costs recovery by the HSE for investigations into major accidents and the relevant factors to be taken into account.

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Injunctions, Permit Appeals, Suspension and Enforcement Notices

Recent cases include:

Environment Agency –v- Waste4Fuel Limited and Bryan Hughes
High Court civil action on behalf of the Environment Agency for an injunction to enforce the terms of a Suspension Notice issued under the Permitting Regulations 2010. Highly controversial site involving the meetings between the Secretary of State and the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency. Likely to lead to further proceedings for the committal of the Second Defendant for contempt of Court.

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Enforcement and Interpretation of Environmental Permits

Recent cases include:

Environment Agency -v- Moy Park, Heale Farm
Defending at trial a major poultry producer accuse of breaching its environmental permit in a case which involved complex issues of fact and as to the proper construction of permit conditions.

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Odour

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Global Renewables Operations Lancashire Ltd
Instructed on behalf of the Environment Agency following significant and prolonged odour pollution by a multi-billion pound waste treatment facility.

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Confiscation

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Johal
Instructed by the Environment Agency in the trial and subsequent confiscation proceedings of Amrik Johal. Following his conviction for illegal waste operations, his benefit figure was assessed at £3.88 million and available assets valued at £881,000, one of the largest confiscation orders obtained by the Environment Agency to date.

R (Environment Agency) v Loveridge, Loveridge & Smith
Instructed for the Environment Agency in the prosecution of the highest risk site in the country, an unauthorised and highly contaminated end-of-life vehicle operation, in the face of direct threats to the safety of Environment Agency Officers and a threat of arson to their offices. Successful confiscation proceedings followed.

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Fisheries

Recent cases include:

R (Environment Agency) v Phillips
The Environment Agency’s first criminal prosecution brought under the Import of Live Fish Act 1981. Politically sensitive, due to the potential negative impact on the eco-system were non-native fish to escape to the wild.

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Recent Seminars

  • The new Environmental Sentencing Guideline in practice
  • Sentencing in regulatory cases
  • End of waste
  • Environmental liabilities for private equity
  • Common law liabilities and responsibilities for flood damage
  • POCA and environmental enforcement
  • A practical guide to confiscation
  • Confiscation after a regulatory conviction
  • Disclosure in environmental cases
  • Regulation 44 remediation orders
  • Costs recovery in COMAH cases

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