Environmental Law

“It is in a league of its own across the board from junior barrister to senior QC.”

Legal 500 2020

“Hailed as a “first-class chambers for regulatory work,” Six Pump Court possesses a deep bench of eminent silks and juniors active in environmental disputes…Their environmental expertise spans a variety of topics including emissions trading, waste management, flooding and habitat protection. Statutory nuisance cases are a particular strength. Clients note that the chambers “stands out for its specialism in environmental crime.”

Chambers UK Bar Guide 2019 (Band 1 – Environment)

“High-calibre set with a fantastic track record of representing local authorities, developers and regulators in environmental cases.”

Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018 (Band 1 – Environment)

“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 (Tier 1 – Environment)

 

Barristers at Six Pump Court are acknowledged to be at the forefront of environmental law, particularly in the field of prosecuting and defending environmental cases in the criminal courts and cases involving statutory and nuisance.  The combined experience of our environmental law barristers cover every aspect of this highly specialist, complex and ever-changing area of practice, at all levels of seniority and experience.

Our specialist experience covers every aspect of the European and domestic law concerning the regulation of the environment, which includes environmental permitting and regulation of waste, wastewater, pollution prevention and control, water resources, water quality, fisheries, contaminated land, nuclear installations and hazardous substances.  Members of our environmental law team are instructed regularly to advise and appear in cases involving environmental assessment, energy and resources, statutory and common law nuisance, utilities and access to environmental information.

Our environmental law barristers continue to act in leading cases in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court, whilst also representing industry and regulators at public inquiries and statutory appeals.   Members appear regularly in the criminal courts and are involved in the more complex cases, acting for major developers, the waste industry and regulators.  A large number of members were appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Environmental Law, five to the “A” List, please click here to view the full list.

Please use the links below to view the full range of our expertise in the areas of Environmental Law:

 

Environmental Regulation

Environmental Assessment

Energy and Natural Resources

Utilities

Statutory and Common Law Nuisance

Access to Environmental Information

 

Environmental Regulation

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 investigation, outstanding skilled advocacy in Court or tactical intelligent representation in judicial review proceedings.

Notable recent environmental regulation work includes:

  • R (Environment Agency) v Walker & Son (Hauliers) Ltd [2014] EWCA Crim 100 – Appeal against conviction to the Court of Appeal confirming that it is no defence for the offender to say that he genuinely believed that a permit existed.
  • Environment Agency v Thames Water Utilities Ltd  [2013] 1 WLR 3641 – Test case concerning the deposit of sewage on land and the scope of the criminal liability for depositing waste on land.
  • Environment Agency v Moy Park Ltd [2013] Trial relating to breach of permit conditions in the agricultural sector.
  • R (on the application of Peel Investments (North) Limited) v Health and Safety Executive [2013] EWHC 1012 (Admin); [2013] Env LR D6 – Judicial review of a decision made pursuant to the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999.

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Environmental Assessment

Members of the Planning and Environmental team are widely acknowledged for their expertise and experience in European and domestic law relating to environmental assessment.  This includes cases involving Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of development projects and proposes, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans and programmes and Habitats Regulation Assessments.

A significant proportion of environmental assessment work arises in the context of planning law and practice, both in respect of development management decisions, plan making and the delivery of infrastructure.

Notable recent environmental assessment work includes:

  • R (Mouring) v West Berkshire District Council [2014] EWHC 203 (Admin) -Challenge to approach to the application of the EIA Regulations in an urban development project.
  • R (Padden) v Maidstone Borough Council [2014] EWHC 51 (Admin) – Judicial review of part-retrospective planning permission for EIA development and exceptional circumstances requirement.
  • Heard v Broadland District Council [2012] EWHC 344 (Admin) – strategic environmental assessment of a joint cores strategy; requirement to examine of reasonable alternatives

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Energy and Natural Resources

Members of Six Pump Court have experience of working for and against developers of power stations, wind turbines and various other energy providers.

Notable recent work includes:

  • The existence of nuclear particles on a beach adjacent to the former Dounreay Nuclear facility: Magnohard Limited v United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.
  • Numerous renewable energy projects including wind farms in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Cumbria.

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Utilities

The de-nationalisation of utilities has led to the creation of a raft of industry-specific measures, quite independent from safety and competition regulation, to protect consumers from potential misuses of monopolies and near-monopolies.  Members of 6 Pump Court have extensive experience of construing legislation of this type and dealing with enforcement bodies.  Several members of chambers have recently acted for OFGEM in separate proceedings against SSE and Scottish Power for mis-selling.  These proceedings have resulted in a fine of £10.5m against SSE and an agreed settlement figure of £8.5m in the case of Scottish Power.  These cases involved numerous and complex issues concerning the interpretation of the applicable licence conditions, issues of attribution, whistleblower evidence, matters relating to disclosure and the appropriate approach to penalty in cases of widespread and systemic mis-selling.

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Statutory and Common Law Nuisance

The Environmental Law team at Six Pump Court chambers boasts particular expertise in the field of nuisance law with members of chambers having played a pivotal role in some of the leading recent authorities on nuisance.

Common law nuisance

  • Coventry v Lawrence [2014] UKSC 13 Seminal case on the relationship between planning permission and nuisance. The judgment in this case redefined the law of nuisance.
  • Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited [2003] UKHL 66; [2004] AC 42 – The leading case on the liability of public authorities for the tort of nuisance.
  • Dobson v Thames Water A ground-breaking group nuisance action in which resulted in a judgment for damages in favour of those adversely affected by a huge sewage treatment works.

Statutory nuisance

Members of the Environmental Law team are highly experienced in cases involving the service of abatement notices in respect of the statutory nuisances under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 covering a wide range of statutory nuisances.  We are regularly instructed by local authorities, appellants and defendants in appeals against abatements notices and the prosecution of the offences for contravening or failing to comply with the requirement.

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Access to Environmental Information

Statutory rights of access to environmental information are an important consideration for many participants in planning or environmental cases. Similarly, responding to requests for information in a lawful and appropriate manner is an important role for all local authorities with responsibility for regulating the environment and land-use planning.

Members of our Planning and Environmental team have significant expertise and experience in the complex legislative provisions relating to access to environmental information and the related freedom of information provisions. Members of chambers advise and appear on behalf of both parties on a regular basis on these matters.

Recent notable work includes:

  • Re: Aarhus Convention (2013) – Representing local residents before the Aarhus Compliance Committee (UN Economic Commission for Europe) in Geneva, alleging that the UK was not in compliance with the Aarhus Convention owing to the failure to offer residents effective participation in planning decisions.

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Environmental Law Barristers

Six Pump Court is acknowledged to be at the forefront of environmental law, particularly in the field of prosecuting and defending environmental cases in the criminal courts and cases involving statutory and nuisance.