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United Kingdom

Companies face increasing regulatory, governance and public pressure to manage and minimise the impact of their business operations on the environment. At the same time the environment agenda is opening up significant opportunities to new and evolving businesses.

For over 25 years, CMS has consistently been a leader in the UK and Europe in specialist environment legal advice. Peers and clients have continuously rated us in the top tiers, due to our depth of knowledge, experience and application across most sectors.

We undertake advisory work on current and new regulations, together with a wide variety of transactional work where environment issues are dominant, including cutting edge development of contractual language. We advise on disputes work involving prosecutions, regulatory enforcement, permitting appeals and variations, civil nuisances, claims under indemnities and warranties, insurance, D&O claims and professional negligence.

Multi-national and national organisations come to us for matters where environment issues, risks and opportunities are significant to the commercial success of their businesses. We work for clients in virtually all sectors, including chemicals, cleantech, construction, consumer products, energy, energy efficiency, energy from waste, environment consultancies, finance, infrastructure and projects, insurance, manufacturing, real estate and hotels, renewables, telecoms, transport, water and waste management. We are well-known for our horizon scanning and creative thinking.

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"They offer broad international coverage, with a comprehensive network of local offices. The range of international advice has been first-class."

Chambers 2019

"They're inventive and find ways to argue points that others haven't thought of. They're a dream to work with."

Chambers 2018

'excellent perception, strategic direction and client handling.'

Legal 500, 2017

a ‘first class service.’

Legal 500, 2017

CMS' 'outstanding' environment team achieves 'a highly professional standard in all its engagements', providing 'one-stop commercial legal support'.

Legal 500 UK

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    Cleantech encompasses technology and services that address environment issues or lessen the impact of current products or services on the environment. The COP21 Climate Change Agreement in Paris in December 2015 marked a new chapter in tackling climate change, and as a result, we expect this hugely important sector to continue to grow rapidly.

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    Ship­ping and Car­bon: UK ap­proach to EU MRV Reg­u­la­tion and IMO DCS
    As part of the European ship car­bon re­port­ing sys­tem gov­erned by the EU MRV Reg­u­la­tion (EU) 2015/757 (“EU MRV Reg­u­la­tion”) ship­ping com­pan­ies have un­til 30 April 2019 to sub­mit their ship emis­sions re­ports for rel­ev­ant ships for com­pli­ance year 1st Janu­ary.
    Law sides with cli­mate change against coal
    Min­ing com­pany, Gloucester Re­sources Lim­ited (GRL), ap­pealed to the Land and En­vir­on­ment Court of New South Wales, Aus­tralia, against a min­is­teri­al de­cision to re­ject its ap­plic­a­tion to de­vel­op and op­er­ate an open cut coal mine, Rocky Hill, near Gloucester,.
    Ship­ping and car­bon: EU and IMO sys­tems to align
    On 4 Feb­ru­ary 2019 the European Com­mis­sion (EC) tabled a pro­pos­al con­cern­ing the amend­ment of Reg­u­la­tion (EU) 2015/757 on the mon­it­or­ing, re­port­ing and veri­fic­a­tion of car­bon di­ox­ide emis­sions from mari­time trans­port (the “EU MRV Reg­u­la­tion”).
    Brexit win­dow open for REACH changes
    Many busi­nesses will have con­sidered the im­plic­a­tions of a “no deal” Brexit scen­ario on the sup­ply of reg­u­lated sub­stances between EU-27 and the UK. In the event that the UK were to with­draw from EU mem­ber­ship without an agree­ment on 29 March 2019 or at any.
    Off­shore Wind Sec­tor Deal aims for a third of UK en­ergy from off­shore...
    On 7 March 2019, Clean Growth Min­is­ter Claire Perry an­nounced the launch of the new joint gov­ern­ment-in­dustry Off­shore Wind Sec­tor Deal. Over­seen by the gov­ern­ment-in­dustry body, the Off­shore Wind In­dustry Coun­cil, the sec­tor deal forms part of the wider UK.
    Ob­struct­ing the reg­u­lat­or: a rare judg­ment
    This art­icle relates to ap­peals by a num­ber of em­ploy­ees fol­low­ing their con­vic­tions for ob­struct­ing En­vir­on­ment Agency of­ficers in the ex­er­cise of their stat­utory powers of in­vest­ig­a­tion. Judg­ment in the ap­peals was handed down at the end of Janu­ary 2019.
    Pack­aging, Plastics and Waste: Sig­ni­fic­ant UK Pro­pos­als An­nounced 
    On 18 Feb­ru­ary 2019, four con­sulta­tions re­lat­ing to pack­aging, plastic use and waste man­age­ment were launched with ma­jor im­plic­a­tions for pro­du­cers, man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­tail­ers, loc­al au­thor­it­ies, the waste man­age­ment sec­tor and con­sumers.
    Gov­ern­ment plans to crack down on il­leg­al trav­el­ler sites
    In good news for landown­ers, the Home Sec­ret­ary, Sajid Javid, has an­nounced draft meas­ures to make it easi­er to re­move trav­el­lers from land they should not be on.   This is par­tic­u­larly rel­ev­ant for those im­pacted by fly-tip­ping activ­it­ies (see our earli­er Law-Now.
    Com­mis­sion­ing a scrub­ber sys­tem by 31 Decem­ber 2019 is not suf­fi­cient...
    Ship own­ers, ship op­er­at­ors and ship man­agers who are busy pre­par­ing for the up­com­ing high sul­phur fuel oil (“HSFO”) ban which enters in­to force on 1 Janu­ary 2020 will be fa­mil­i­ar with the op­tion to in­stall Ex­haust Gas Clean­ing Sys­tems (EGC­Ss) oth­er­wise known.
    Flu­or­in­ated GHGs and Ozone De­plet­ing Sub­stances: if UK no deal Brexit
    For those in­volved in pro­duc­tion, sup­ply, im­port or ex­port of flu­or­in­ated green­house gases and ozone de­plet­ing sub­stances, and equip­ment con­tain­ing the same, the En­vir­on­ment Agency has is­sued a short and use­ful guid­ance to cov­er the even­tu­al­ity of a no-deal.
    First CCS Li­cence Awar­ded
    The Oil and Gas Au­thor­ity has an­nounced its first award of a car­bon di­ox­ide ap­prais­al and stor­age li­cence to Pale Blue Dot En­ergy for the Acorn Car­bon Cap­ture and Stor­age (CCS) Pro­ject. The OGA has been the li­cens­ing au­thor­ity for off­shore stor­age (ex­cept.
    Pro­posed seabed leas­ing times­cales is­sued by Crown Es­tate Scot­land
    Crown Es­tate Scot­land has pub­lished an up­date, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial time­frames, on its pro­posed new round of off­shore wind leas­ing in Scot­land ("ScotWind Leas­ing"). Fi­nal tim­ings for ScotWind Leas­ing will be linked to Mar­ine Scot­land's on­go­ing Sec­tor­al Mar­ine.