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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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    Re­new­ables sub­sidies plum­met in the UK
    The second round of Con­tracts for Dif­fer­ence (“CfD”) al­loc­a­tions were an­nounced by the De­part­ment of Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­tri­al Strategy (“BEIS”) this morn­ing, Monday 11 Septem­ber 2017 (“AR2”), for Ad­vanced Con­ver­sion Tech­no­logy (“ACT”), ded­ic­ated bio­mass.
    The new Welsh land­fill dis­pos­als tax
    The Welsh Gov­ern­ment is gear­ing up to in­tro­duce its own land­fill dis­pos­al tax (“LDT”) in 2018. This is part of the Welsh Gov­ern­ment's ‘To­wards Zero Waste’ strategy, which aims to make Wales a high re­cyc­ling na­tion by 2025 and a zero waste to land­fill na­tion.
    In­creased en­vir­on­ment­al risks in prop­erty trans­ac­tions fol­low­ing Court...
    The Court of Ap­peal in Pow­ys County Coun­cil v Price and Hard­wick [2017] EW­CA Civ de­term­ined that Pow­ys County Coun­cil was not li­able as an “ap­pro­pri­ate per­son” for the re­medi­ation of con­tam­in­a­tion cre­ated en­tirely by the activ­it­ies of its pre­de­cessor loc­al.
    Get­ting Tough
    This art­icle first ap­peared in the CIWM, May 2017. Paul Sherid­an and Olivia Jam­is­on look at the price of non-com­pli­ance, spe­cific­ally the re­cent fine im­posed on Thames Wa­ter. To read the art­icle in full, please down­load the PDF.
    Civil Li­ab­il­ity for Ja­pan­ese Knot­weed
    This is a sub­ject about which a judg­ment has been ex­pec­ted for some time. The two joined claims re­ferred to be­low do not in­volve sig­ni­fic­ant sums of money but for those own­ing, man­aging or in­sur­ing sig­ni­fic­ant port­fo­li­os of in­dus­tri­al, com­mer­cial or in­fra­struc­ture.
    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.
    Gov­ern­ment con­sults on pen­al­ties for non-com­pli­ance with EU ship emis­sions...
    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.
    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.
    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 risks?
    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.