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Specialist Services

Environment and Planning Law

We empower you to protect the natural world and your local communities. We support you to achieve healthier and happier neighbourhoods, promote environmental justice through the law and influence development decision-making to bring about genuine benefit for local communities.

We work with organisations and people that share our principles of defending the natural environment and making a positive impact in our communities. Activists and campaigners can rely on us to help them to work through complicated legal issues and to uphold their rights to speak out. We are also experienced in supporting organisations and community groups that promote social benefit through sustainable development.

Legal issues concerning the environment (natural and built) can occur as a result of decisions made by local public authorities or national legislation. The decisions of public bodies can seriously impact the environment and our communities. These include:

  • Environmental and equality impact assessments
  • Policy decisions on issues such as airport management and airspace design
  • Granting planning permission
  • Making development plans
  • Designation and protection of green belt land and areas of outstanding beauty
  • Regulation of industries that impact wildlife, the environment and climate emergency
  • Wildlife management

Our Environment and Planning Law solicitors empower you to navigate complicated areas of law such as the planning system and help you to persuasively engage with public bodies on these issues. When necessary, we can challenge local and national decisions. We help ensure that authorities are serious about their responsibility to protect the environment and our local communities.

We defend those who defend the natural world.

Our Environment and Planning Law team work with you to confront or expose environmental harm, inaction and flawed planning decisions, so that you can make a positive impact on the natural world and our communities.  

Evidence to support environmental campaigns or planning objections is not always readily available. We have the legal know-how to help you when you need to gather intelligence or obtain technical evidence to support your case, and we have a proven record in dealing effectively with freedom of information and data-saving requests.

Individuals on the frontline of environmental protection campaigns and climate emergency activism can be – and are – charged with offences arising from taking action. We have a long history of successfully acting in criminal and civil proceedings against protestors and activists. Our skilled team can also help if you face employment issues as a direct result of an alleged offence or unlawful action.


Our work in this area is extensive and cutting-edge. It includes the following:

  • Successfully litigating the leading case on the significance of equality law for planning decision-making, Harris v London Borough of Haringey and many others regarding the impact of planning on local communities, e.g. R (Georgiou) v London Borough of Haringey
  • Successfully arguing that views about the climate emergency and the environment are protected by the UK’s anti-discrimination legislation in the same way as religious beliefs in Grainger plc v Nicholson (Employment Appeals Tribunal)
  • Numerous legal challenges concerning badger culls in both England and Wales, before the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Information Rights Tribunal
  • Confronting attempts to charge organisations arranging peaceful protests
  • Defending individuals involved in environmental protection and climate emergency campaigns
  • Acting for campaigners in appeals against historic convictions, where it was revealed afterwards that their groups had been infiltrated by undercover police officers
  • Providing decisive pre-publication libel advice, general advice and training in relation to libel risks for publishers, reputation management and privacy law
  • Advising in relation to restrictions on political advertising, including the 2014 ‘gagging laws’
  • Advising clients on using Data Protection law in their campaigns

We act for individuals and, more commonly, organisations and groups including Badger Trust, Humane Society International, Greenpeace, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Extinction Rebellion and Save The Beaver.

Meet the team

John Halford

Head of Public Law and Human Rights

Verity Cannell

Public Law and Human Rights

Theodora Middleton

Public Law and Human Rights

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.