Minimise your risk through understanding
As the scope of environmental regulation continues to expand, there is a need for businesses to recognise and comply with key requirements. Expert, practical and cost-effective guidance through the regulatory maze is not only invaluable but a fundamental necessity for many businesses. In this constantly evolving area of law, opportunities also arise, for example to take advantage of renewable energy technologies and capitalise on Corporate Social Responsibility openings. Successfully dealing with planning issues continues to be critical to the outcome of new development projects and expanding businesses. In fact, environmental considerations are often at the forefront of issues in securing development consent.
Our Environment and Planning Legal Department is at the forefront of developments in these complex areas of law. In conjunction with other departments in the firm, our team advises on a wide range of issues as they arise in commercial property transactions, mergers and acquisitions, development projects, renewable energy schemes and court challenges. We are also experienced in providing commercially focused advice on regulatory and compliance issues and risk minimisation. Businesses that prepare for new environmental regulation rather than waiting to react to it will often secure a commercial advantage. We take a proactive approach to leading the vanguard on future challenges and opportunities, enabling businesses to make informed decisions on the impact of new legislation.
What we do
- Mergers, acquisitions and commercial property transactions
The team conducts detailed due diligence on compliance with environment and planning legislation as it applies to the acquisition or sale of businesses. Where risks are identified, effective solutions are offered on how these can best be managed, for example through contractual protections, or engaging consultants to quantify risks and provide remedial strategies. The team has experience advising on numerous major transactions across the UK, often involving the management of significant potential liabilities.
- Brownfield development: regeneration projects advice
Risks arising from contaminated land can lead to significant costs or delays in both property transactions and securing development consent for sites. Our team’s experience in dealing with regeneration projects and handling sites with major environmental liabilities equips us to provide exceptional legal advice on how best to manage those risks.
- Waste Management and other regulated industries
The waste management sector is one of the most heavily regulated industries; obtaining and complying with the required licences and permits has the potential to raise complex legal and technical issues. Similarly, other regulated industries frequently face challenges in obtaining and complying with permit requirements. Enforcement and licensing appeals are becoming increasingly common, as the commercial viability of such businesses relies upon adequacy of their consents. Increasingly sophisticated challenges by the public, for example in alleged nuisance claims, must also be appropriately managed. Our team regularly acts for waste management and other regulated businesses and has established a core expertise in these sectors.
- Environmental Impact Assessment- Legal Requirements
The success of major planning applications is often dependent on the requirement of an Environmental Statement. Numerous projects have suffered extensive delays or been successfully challenged in the courts as a result of inadequate environmental assessment. An understanding of the legal requirements of environmental assessment, and the vast array of case law that accompanies it, can minimise these risks and contribute to the timely success of planning applications. Our extensive experience in acting for both developers and commercial objectors to planning applications, qualifies us to thoroughly understand the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.
- Renewable and other Energy Projects
The Government has set challenging targets and aspirations for the development of renewable energy, with Northern Ireland particularly well placed for established and emerging technologies such as wind, energy from waste and tidal power. Such projects can benefit from significant financial support mechanisms, but obtaining development consent can be a major source of delay. Often, environmental concerns need to be effectively handled to minimise such delays. We work closely in conjunction with our Energy legal practice
, to advise on planning applications and appeals, other operational consents and fiscal incentives for renewable and energy infrastructure projects.
Environment & Planning: Our Service
Expert and timely advice on environment and planning issues can be critical to the success of a transaction, the avoidance of regulatory action or even the commercial viability of a business. We have established a unique practice in these areas of law because we recognise that potential emergent issues need a team of dedicated specialists. Not only is our team knowledgeable with the intricacies of the law, we are also experienced in the commercial environments within which our clients operate and familiar with the approach of the regulatory authorities. Andrew Ryan leads the team.
The relevance and critical nature of planning law has been recognised in Northern Ireland for many years; however, the emerging importance of environment law is likely to continue to expand. Our unique and dedicated environment and planning legal team
has the breadth of experience to assist you and your business through understanding and managing risk, securing development consent or capitalising on the opportunities that are available in these sectors.
"We keep returning because they are very responsive and get back to your enquiries no matter how small or how minor the question might be
." (Chambers UK 2014
"One of the top law firms in Northern Ireland," "focused, and commercially aware"
2010 “Who’s Who” Legal Directory of Environmental Lawyers “pragmatic” approach and “commercially focused advice”