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Environmental & planning law

If you are unhappy about development proposals that could harm your local environment, we can help you use the law to make sure your voice is heard. Leigh Day is widely regarded as one of the leading law firms specialising in claimant environmental work. Our "ground-breaking work" and “commitment to ensuring justice for clients” earn us top rankings for environmental work and public law cases in the legal directories.

You can take an environmental case against public bodies, either as an individual or group in through a process known as judicial review or appeals against statutory bodies under the Town and Country Planning Acts.

We have acted in a wide range of environmental cases, including:
  • Representing the local community at Balcombe in a challenge to planning permission for exploratory drilling 
  • Acting for protesters opposing fracking proposals at Barton Moss in Lancashire.
  • Challenging the decision to build and operate another nuclear power station, Hinckley C on the Bristol Channel.
  • Acted for Cornwall Waste Forum in its challenge to stop a waste incinerator adjacent to three Special Areas of Conservation at St Dennis in Cornwall.  
  • Successfully represented the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) in challenging the Government’s failure to compensate people for housing blight along the proposed route of HS2;
  • Represented residents in Dibden Bay, who helped stop the development of a huge new port on the coast of the New Forest;
  • Ccontinuing to represent Stop Stansted Expansion which strives to prevent unsustainable expansion of the Airport.
  • Successfully overturned planning permission for 500 houses on a greenfield site in Bicester on behalf of a local environmentalist;
  • Helping charities and local groups reduce harmful impacts on wildlife and natural habitats. The team successfully represented WWF-UK and the Avon Wildlife Trust in the European Court in a case concerning the boundary of a protected area under EU law. In another case, the team represented WWF in challenging unsustainable quotas for cod fishing set by the European Council.

Environmental judicial reviews are treated differently to other judicial reviews. The UK is a party to the Aarhus Convention, which requires it to make special provision for environmental cases, particularly when it comes to legal costs. Unsuccessful claimants are only required to pay a proportion of the defendants’ legal costs (as opposed to most or all of them in other cases) and the courts must act swiftly in order to protect the environment.

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