Environmental & Planning

The specialist environmental solicitors in our Milton Keynes and Cambridge offices are acknowledged for their ability to assist on all matters relating to environmental law and planning issues. We are equally capable of representing your company or individuals.

Environmental law is a specialised and technical field and one in which we have a great deal of experience. Breaches of environmental law can result in significant penalties and as such clients are encouraged to contact us at the outset of any potential action against them. Environmental investigation penalties can be extremely high and potentially very costly.

We are able to assist with:

  • Pollution and contamination (water, air, noise)
  • Planning breaches
  • Abatement notices
  • Waste related issues
  • Environmental permits and permissions. 

For assistance, please contact Mike Hayward at our Milton Keynes office.

Case Study: Environmental Permits & Permissions

Milton Keynes based environmental law solicitor Mike Hayward recently acted for a company charged with offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The company was accused of carrying out waste activities at a construction site without the requisite permit or exemption.  

The Environmental Permitting Regulations are extensive and have been subject to complex transitional arrangements.  This case is one of the first to be dealt with by the Courts in accordance with the new sentencing guidelines for environmental crime that came into force on 1st July 2014.  The financial penalties available are extensive.  

Solicitor Mike Hayward advanced mitigation to enable the Court to pass a sentence commensurate with the lower level of culpability that existed.  The client was pleased with the outcome and gave the testimonial below:

Environmental Agency (EA) Undertakings

The Environmental Agency (EA) is a regulatory body with authority to bring criminal proceedings as part of enforcement action. An enforcement tool available to the Agency includes an Enforcement Undertaking. This is a legally binding agreement between an individual or corporate entity suspected of an environmental offence. It is a civil sanction that can be used as an alternative to prosecution in accordance with the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act of 2008, and Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order of 2010.

Regulation surrounding environmental permissions, exemptions, planning controls and pollution are extensive so can be inadvertently breached by even the most capable and compliant of operators. A prosecution entails interviews under caution, followed by lengthy court proceedings, often resulting in substantial fines. This not only creates significant down time for businesses, but can have a detrimental impact on reputation. Our Regulatory team can aid by providing early intervention when dealing with individuals or companies facing investigation, and will examine the opportunity of an Enforcement Undertaking where it benefits our client.

The Environmental Agency will consider the terms of an offer for an Undertaking by having regard to public interest factors, including any steps that have been demonstrated by the company, such as the restoration of harm caused by a breach, the satisfaction of methods to ensure future compliance, and also the involvement of a financial donation. Whilst criminal enforcement proceedings can be brought, an Enforcement Undertaking may be viewed as less damaging to the reputation of a business, notwithstanding that a register of Undertakings is still published by the Environmental Agency.

Should you require any advice in relation to any proposed or current enforcement action brought by the Environment Agency, then please speak to a member of our team so that we can consider the availability of this civil sanction, in order to avoid time consuming and criminal proceedings.

If you have any questions or require advice, then please contact a member of our Environmental Regulatory team at Milton Keynes (Mike Hayward) – 01908 202150.

Many thanks for the wonderful job you did in Court yesterday.