There are many laws and regulations aimed at the protection and enhancement of our environment. Criminal and civil sanctions await those who transgress and there is a maze of requirements to negotiate to ensure compliance.

At Birketts we have responded to that complexity by assembling an experienced multi-disciplinary group of lawyers to advise our clients on environmental matters.

Whether your query concerns land, air or water we are confident that we can help. Working individually or as a team, our lawyers can offer assistance in relation to compliance, civil claims and disputes and criminal investigations. We will be at your side every step of the way and will represent you in court or in a public inquiry when that is needed. Our team includes four experienced advocates, including two with higher rights of audience. We have significant experience in judicial review and other statutory challenges.

Some team members combine a deep understanding of planning law with their environmental expertise and this enables us to advise on complex planning/environmental issues such as EIA, SEA, ecology, habitat and heritage.

We have significant expertise in relation to rural environmental issues including odour, noise and other nuisance from farming enterprises, planning of intensive livestock and other sensitive agricultural developments. The firm has a strong rural practice and extensive landed client base and many of our team members have a really good understanding of how farming enterprises operate and of the pressure on and opportunities available to farmers and landowners.

The wide experience of waste management obtained by some of our team members means that we are well-equipped to advise on environmental permitting, and issues of contamination and pollution arising from waste management enterprises. In some cases the experience of waste is combined with a good understanding of mineral extraction which means we have an overview of the related areas of minerals planning and remediation.

We offer prompt and pragmatic advice based on a sound knowledge of law and practice. We will provide you with clear guidance as to costs and timescales and charge a fair price for the work done. Our in-house advocacy helps to keep costs down without compromising on quality.

Recent examples of our environmental experience include:

  • Acting for a large liquid gas supplier in relation to its application for planning permission and hazardous substances consent in connection with the re-development and commissioning of a major strategic gas storage facility. One of our lawyers, working with Counsel, successfully defended an application for permission to apply for judicial review.
  • Advising a corporate client in connection with the accidental pollution of a water course by run-off from stored potatoes. The client was very satisfied with the outcome which was that the civil remedy of an environmental undertaking was offered and accepted, so a prosecution was avoided.
  • Representing a pig farmer who was served with an abatement notice in respect of odour from his pig finishing unit. The matter was successfully concluded when the abatement notice was withdrawn and planning permission was granted to replace the pig unit with houses. In another similar case concerning a poultry unit and allegations of fly nuisance, the notice was withdrawn after the Council accepted that it was unlikely to succeed in defending its notice. In both cases an appeal was lodged and a Birketts Solicitor represented the pig farmer’s interests as advocate in court.

Birketts have a broad range of specialities with very competent people dealing with each area. The firm is very conscious of the commercial implications of matters.

Chambers [UK 2024]

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