Over recent decades we have witnessed a growth in understanding of the fragility of our earth. Issues such as climate change, the destruction of the ozone layer, acid rain, toxic waste and rising waste production, not known about 30 years ago, have become the focus of policy and decision making at national, European and international level.
Businesses (as well as Directors and other officers) can no longer afford to ignore these issues as non-compliance with existing and emerging environmental laws could lead to financial ruin, loss of reputation, and in the case of individuals, imprisonment.
Team and Reputation
Our enthusiastic and pro-active environmental team, described by the Legal 500 (2007 ed) as “one to watch at the moment”, understands that businesses seeking the highest quality of legal advice require environmental lawyers with technical national and international legal expertise, regulatory experience, commercial awareness, an international perspective in addition to an appreciation of scientific, political and economic processes.
The team, headed by Caroline May, aims to fulfil these high expectations and to provide clients with tailor made advice and assistance specific to their individual needs.
Scope of Work
We advise on a wide range of stand-alone contentious and non-contentious environmental issues including:
- the interpretation and application of the developing UK and European environmental code;
- legal requirements for reporting to external authorities;
- operational consents, compliance and liability;
- land contamination and potential liability;
- waste management licences;
- civil and criminal prosecutions (including those instigated by the Environment Agency) and judicial review proceedings; and
- data protection issues regarding auditing and compliance.
Our environmental experience on transactional matters includes carrying out due diligence and advising on risk allocation and lender liability issues.
The team’s clients range from banks to energy companies, and fall into two broad categories:
- stand-alone clients, the list of which is substantial and includes energy companies and industrial clients; and
- companies for whom we act as a service group to support our corporate and banking practices, including leading corporates as well as banking clients.