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Get advice on environmental law

Our specialist environmental law solicitors provide market-leading experience and in-depth knowledge to solve your environment-related problems.

Our team of environmental lawyers has unparalleled experience and knowledge across all areas of international, EU and UK based environmental law.

Working closely with government agencies and industry associations, we have key insights into a range of current industry concerns.

The team, which is highly recommended by independent legal directories Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, provides:

  • Round-the-clock support on environmental incidents, litigation, and compliance, wherever and whenever you need it through our unique 24/7 Environmental Defence and Advice Service; and
  • Transactional support across a diverse range of sectors, including manufacturing, construction, utilities, transport and logistics, local government, education, and social housing.

Environmental incidents

Being properly prepared for environmental incidents is crucial, as decisions taken in the early post-incident stages can significantly affect later outcomes, in terms of both reputation and liabilities. We can help you put procedures in place to prepare for any potential incidents. And thanks to EDAS, we're on hand 24/7 to protect your business when things go wrong.

Environmental litigation

We are here to help you 24-hours a day, seven days a week, whether you are:

  • Subject to
    • a post-incident investigation by the environmental regulators — such as local authority EHOs, the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Management Organisation; or
    • a third-party claim.
  • Bringing an appeal against an environmental notice or permit, or pursuing another form of regulatory challenge.

Our dedicated team of specialist environmental lawyers can guide you through the often-complex process, working with you to protect your interests and achieve a positive outcome.

Environmental compliance advice

Our environmental lawyers can help you resolve the full range of day-to-day compliance issues, such as waste disposal, waste duty of care, emissions, and emissions trading, SECR, ESOS and MEES, water and water pollution, permits and consents, EIA and environmental statements, producer responsibility and REACH, contaminated land, or any other environmental compliance matter.
Members of the team are working closely with clients to help them understand their key ESG risks (with a focus on the E) and to help them develop and implement ESG action plans.

Transaction support

Environmental issues can arise on any deal or project, often with serious potential consequences for timescales and costs. Working with colleagues across Weightmans in areas such as local government, manufacturing, construction, energy/utilities, transport and logistics, education, and social housing, we can take care of any environmental matters that arise and help to keep transactions on track and on budget.

We achieve this not only through our advice on the correct application of environmental controls and requirements, but also by implementing appropriate risk-sharing strategies, such as indemnities and environmental insurance policies.

Our work

We've recently worked with our clients on the following matters:

  • Representing clients in relation to major environmental incidents, including water pollution, odour emissions, waste-related offences, chemical spills and leaks, and noise pollution issues.
  • Agreeing and negotiating civil sanctions (Enforcement Undertaking) e.g. for water pollution offences as an alternative to prosecution.
  • Advising operators on-site closures, permit surrenders, residual contamination, and remediation strategies.
  • Advising on the planning and environment consents required for nationally significant renewable energy and energy from waste projects.
  • Advising on the application of REACH controls post-Brexit to the export of recycled plastic raw materials.
  • Advising on the application of waste transfer controls to the import and export of materials to/from the UK.
  • Advising on the application of EPC and MEES controls to real estate portfolios.

Our environmental defence and advice service is free to subscribe to and provides you with access to a market-leading team of environmental experts whenever you need support and assistance.

Boardroom training and online environmental compliance modules

The team frequently deliver bespoke interactive boardroom training sessions focusing on key risks — the sessions are suitable for boardrooms and senior management teams. The team also delivers online webinar-based training programmes that cover recent and ongoing developments in environmental law, as well as specific compliance-based topics such as the waste duty of care. Please contact the team to find out how we can support you and your business with your training and development needs.

Case studies

Circular economy and reversing the supply chain

We advised a large pharmaceutical company on the regulatory controls that applied to an inhaler recycling pilot scheme. Inhalers can be considered clinical/hazardous waste due to their use/properties. We worked with the client and their supply chain to ensure a regulatory compliant approach to the collection, transport, and recovery of the inhalers.

Environmental permits

We advised an operator on the interpretation of their environmental permit/related guidance concerning the storage of mixed WEEE. The regulator required the internal storage of mixed WEEE following a significant fire at the site, but we believed this requirement conflicted with the conditions of the environmental permit. We made representations to the regulator and helped to persuade them that the permit did not enable them to require storage under cover.

EPCs/MEES

We advised a household name client on the application of the EPC/MEES controls to their 2,000+ property real estate portfolio. We helped the client to risk rank their estate from a MEES compliance perspective and then advised on the application of the public access requirements in the context of the display of EPCs and display EPCs (DECs).

Waste duty of care

Advice to a contractor relating to the extraction/creation, transport, and disposal (both on and offsite) of waste materials. The advice extended to the onsite/offsite disposal considerations, including the conditions of the existing environmental permit, the relevance of both exemptions relating to the storage of waste and the CL:AIRE protocol, the transport requirements in terms of the waste carrier obligations, and the application of the waste duty of care/need for transfer/consignment notes. Our advice enabled the client to avoid any enforcement action for its role in the project.

Environmental harm and damage

Advising a water utility company on the application of the environmental damage regime in relation to an escape of sewage and the subsequent agreement with the environmental regulators relating to the remediation of any lasting impact pursuant to a long-term monitoring and remediation agreement.

Natural capital

Working with colleagues to advise on the establishment of a natural capital investment programme to facilitate private equity-backed investment into natural capital projects.

Working with colleagues to advise on the terms of a brokering agreement relating to the development of a forestry scheme to deliver a carbon offset solution for a large corporate and a revenue stream for stately homeowner.

ESG

Advising quasi-public sector bodies and industry associations on the development of ESG strategies and programmes for themselves and their members, including initial materiality assessments, followed by reviews of key ESG related risks and the assessment related horizon scanning tools and development programmes.

Guides and support

Simon Colvin
Simon Colvin

Partner

+44 (0)161 233 7356 Email Simon

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