In each issue of Agricultural Brief we speak to one of our legal experts about their specific area of the law – and why it could be important to you. This month, Jane Haviland tells us about her work in environmental law.
How long have you been involved in environmental work?
I have been working in the environmental industry since the 1980s having completed an Environmental Science degree from the University of East Anglia and I went back to university to study law in 2014.I also followed up my first degree with two masters degrees – one in Integrated Pollution Management and the other in Environmental Law. It was this last qualification which drew me to changing career. I have worked in the private, public and voluntary sector during this time with my main focus being to adopt a pragmatic approach to identifying solutions to, often, complex situations for clients.
What interesting matters have you been involved in?
Whilst in my role as an Environmental Consultant and Project Manager I was involved in a variety of different issues. These range from being the Environmental Manager for Legoland Windsor through design to construction and working with the New Millennium Experience Company during the development of the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena) as the sustainability manager, through to undertaking an environmental impact assessment for the Lahore Ring Road, Pakistan – a project funded by the World Bank, In addition, I have worked with a number of ports and harbours on environmental impact assessments, and latterly with the offshore wind industry in managing the design and development of an innovative device for measuring wind and other weather criteria in an offshore environment.
More recently, having qualified as a Solicitor, I have been involved in a number of more targeted issues. These include advising landowners on topics such as removal of topsoil to facilitate development, how these activities can link into the Environmental Permitting framework and what landowners need to be aware of. Such situations can arise should land be contemplated for development. I have been involved in developing agreements regarding the translocation of protected species; these can be required when a development is likely to impact a species and translocation is an accepted aspect of the mitigation plan.
How can you help our farmers and landowners?
With the advent of the Environment Act 2021, there will be a growing interest and demand for conservation covenants and a developing understanding how landowners can assist developers in meeting their biodiversity net gain targets and/or carbon offsetting requirements. The Environmental Team at Birketts, working with our colleagues in the Agriculture and Estates Team can assist with exploring solutions to some of these new areas of law and benefit from having a technical as well as legal understanding.
In addition, we are able to advise on the Environmental Permitting regime which applies to flood risk activities as well as waste management arrangements. In addition, if landowners/farmers have been approached by individuals or businesses regarding using your land as a repository for “storing” materials prior to disposal, do contact us for advice with regard to the relevant documentation you should be requesting from them.
How could environmental legislation and regulation affect me?
This is a good question. For example, if you have a water course running through your land you may have riparian rights regarding fishing, or if you have woodland you may benefit from other rights such as for shooting. However, as well as rights there are usually responsibilities. You may need to maintain the river and its banks or you may need to undertake some tree felling from time to time.
Before undertaking any works you may need to obtain certain licences or permits – such a tree felling
licence, or environmental permit for flood risk works. In addition, you may be required to undertake protected species surveys (depending on the time of year) and obtain the necessary licence for undertaking works. Checking these points will assist in a smoother journey to trouble free maintenance. Good planning and associated consultation with the respective authority should benefit the shaping and implementation of your
How do they contact you?
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at June 2022.