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

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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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    Interesting Environmental Permit Refusal
    In April 2017 the Environment Agency refused an environmental permit application in respect of a proposed facility at Avonmouth Docks. The facility would treat incinerator bottom ash (“IBA” – this is waste) to make incinerator bottom ash aggregates (“IBAA”.
    The future of fracking?
    Cuadrilla get the green light in Lancashire We previously wrote about the contentious decision made by the Secretary of State for Local Authorities and Government to call-in and grant Cuadrilla’s appeal against Lancashire County Council to drill and frack.
    On the road to autonomous vehicles
    Connected and autonomous vehicle (“CAV”) technologies are set to have a profound social and economic impact worldwide and continue to accumulate a great weight of expectation. Advocates argue that CAV technologies will improve road safety, ease congestion and.
    Environment: £20 million fine and costs
    On 2 February 2017 Thames Water Utilities Limited (“Thames Water”) was warned by a Crown Court Judge, when considering sentencing for water related environment offences that “The fine is going to be very substantial and the shareholders have got to get the.
    Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – new guidance issued
    As many readers will already be aware we are approaching the implementation of the prohibition on letting “F” and “G” rated properties in the private sector (subject to a few exemptions and exceptions).
    Proposed Changes to the Permitting Regime in Scotland
    The Scottish Government and SEPA have launched into 2017 with a major public consultation on environmental permits. Their plan is to streamline the existing permitting and licensing systems in Scotland into one integrated authorisation framework which will.
    Review of Recommendation 2014/70/EU on minimum principles for the...
    The Commission to the European Parliament and the Council (the “Commission”) has recently reviewed Recommendation 2014/70/EU, adopted by the Commission in 2014, which looked at exploration and production of hydrocarbons using high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
    Government consults on penalties for non-compliance with EU ship...
    On 1 January 2018, subject to a few exclusions, ships over 5000 gross tonnage (“Relevant Ships”) will be subject to monitoring and reporting requirements on carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), fuel consumption and cargo carried.
    One step closer to re-commencing the UK unconventional industry
    A decision has been reached in the appeal to prevent Third Energy from further exploring its existing well at Kirby Misperton using hydraulic fracturing methods. This latest success for Third Energy came as the High Court rejected a judicial review claim, instigated.
    Environment fines – still on the increase
    2016 appears to be a year which opened and closed with record fines for environment offences in England and Wales. In January 2016 Thames Water incurred what was then the highest fine for environment offences namely £1,000,000.
    Mexico publishes environmental Safeguard Zones
    One of the key areas of the Mexican Energy Reform is the environmental reform. The Mexican Government has changed its philosophy in relation to this area and is set to improve current regulation. As part of such Reform, the Hydrocarbons Law was enacted on.
    Are we witnessing the rise of super level economic environment ri...
    In a few years’ time we may look back and say that it was in 2015/2016 when legal proceedings and recent policy changes combined to produce manifest serious transfrontier and trans-sector commercial and economic environment risk.
    Inspector calls checklist
    An Inspector Calls – main powers of regulatory authorities in carrying out unexpected inspections Whether it is bribery, cartels or breach of health and safety legislation, UK corporates now face an array of prosecutorial and regulatory agencies, able to act.
    ABS Regulation - Draft Biotech Sector Stakeholder Guidance
    Views are being sought from interested stakeholders on European guidance for the biotechnology sector concerning the EU’s access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits from utilisation legislation – namely the ABS Regulation.
    Tribunal leaves door open for full protection and security to enc...
    In its Award dated 27 June 2016, the Tribunal dismissed the Claimant’s claim in Peter A. Allard v The Government of Barbados (PCA Case No. 2012-06) relating to the Respondent’s alleged breach of its international obligations under the bilateral investment treaty.
    Count down to prohibition on letting "F" and "G" properties
    Subject to a few exemptions and exceptions, “F” and “G” rated properties in the private sector (residential and commercial) in England and Wales will start to become unlettable in 18 months’ time (1st April 2018).
    What future for environment taxes?
    On 6th September 2016 the European Environment Agency, an agency of the European Union tasked to provide “sound, independent information on the environment” published a report on Environmental taxation and EU environmental policies.
    EPC Action Plans: New energy efficiency obligations for landlords...
    A reminder that the Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016 imposing new obligations on owners of non-domestic buildings to assess and improve energy performance efficiency are now, as of 1 September 2016, in force.