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Environmental Impact Assessments

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Members of the Environmental Law and Climate Justice Team have extensive experience in cases concerning Environmental Impact Assessments.

In the international arena, Leslie Thomas KC, and other members of Chambers, have advised inhabitants of the island of Barbuda in several challenges against the state including: a constitutional challenge against the government of Antigua in relation to the Barbudan’s rights to their land; and a challenge to the Antiguan government’s decision to grant planning permission for a new airport on the island on Barbuda brought on the grounds relating to defective environmental impact assessment. The latter challenge is now the subject of an appeal to the Privy Council and Marc Willers KC will be leading the advocates instructed in that case when it is heard in May 2023. 

Here in the UK, members are regularly instructed to advise on challenges to the grant of planning permission for development that has an impact on the environment, including fossil fuel development. Notably, Marc Willers KC represented Mr Frackman in both the High Court and Court of Appeal in his high-profile judicial review challenge of the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to grant Cuadrilla planning permission for fracking at two sites in Lancashire and more recently the challenge brought by Sarah Finch against the decision of Surrey County Council to grant planning permission for oil production without having assessed the impact the combustion of the oil produced on the global climate. The case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in June 2023. 

Recent notable cases and news

Notable Cases


Finch v Surrey County Council and Horse Hill Developments Ltd (with Friends of the Earth Ltd intervening) (2022) PTSR 958 
Appeal against the decision of Holgate J to refuse the claimant’s judicial review challenge of SCC’s decision to grant planning permission for oil production at the Horse Hill site for 25 years. The main issue in the appeal concerned the adequacy of the environmental impact assessment (“EIA”) and focused on the requirement to include within the EIA an assessment of the significant indirect effects of the development on the climate and an assessment of those GHG emissions (known as “scope 3 emissions”). Press Coverage: The IndependentFinancial Times.

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