Environmental regulation

Environmental regulation

"We have always found Shoosmiths' advice to be timely, useful and practical."

Evan Slavitt

Vice-president for business and legal affairs, AVX Corporation

Environmental legislation is fast moving and environmental issues continue to move up the corporate agenda.

Increasingly, businesses are using their green credentials to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Compliance is also important in order to retain company reputation and avoid negative publicity.

Our team of specialist legal advisers has national coverage and helps clients identify where they may have environmental exposure, which could include any of the following:

  • waste management and waste disposal requirements
  • the need for and compliance with environmental permits, licenses, registrations and exemptions
  • producer responsibility legislation such as WEEE, RoHS and Packaging Waste
  • the statutory contaminated land regime and water law
  • compliance with sustainability and carbon reduction requirements, including the Carbon Reduction Commitment
  • chemicals legislation, including REACH and CLP
  • statutory nuisance including noise, smoke fumes and vibration
  • hazardous substances such as asbestos, radon and Japanese knotweed
  • ecology and protection of habitats and species

We can help manage your environmental risk and ongoing compliance.

When undertaking corporate or property transactions, all businesses should consider whether there is any significant environmental issue for which they may be responsible. As part of your due diligence, we offer sensible and practical advice on how any environmental risk can be minimised or avoided. In order to assist you in identifying whether your business may be affected by key pieces of environmental legislation, please see our checklist.

We recognise that relationships with the Environment Agency and other interested parties are critical to the ongoing growth of your business. We act in accordance with this principle when advising clients on environmental issues, in particular considering the longevity of business relationships.

Should there be non-compliance with environmental legislation, our team has a successful track record in working with the client, the Environment Agency and other stakeholders on environmental issues to prevent enforcement action being taken.

The Civil Sanctions regime has allowed for a large number of regulatory breaches to be dealt with by way of a civil remedy, thus avoiding the need for a court appearance and any subsequent adverse media attention.

Where enforcement action cannot be prevented, we advise on all aspects of defending an environmental prosecution or appeals against enforcement notices, often conducting own advocacy.

Work highlights

  • Advising AVX Corporation on compliance with RoHS and REACH, including the impact of the Recast RoHS Directive and requirements relating to Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) under REACH
  • Providing urgent advice on potential liability and co-operation with the Environment Agency following an oil spillage at premises owned by our client
  • Preparing a remediation statement for submission to the planning authority to assist our client obtain planning permission to develop a contaminated site
  • Advising a client in relation to a severe odour pollution incident and breach of Environmental Permit which resulted in no criminal proceedings being brought against the company
  • Advising a nationwide facilities management company in relation to an extensive fly tipping incident involving the illegal dumping of hazardous chemicals on residential premises