Annual conference 2009
Nearly two hundred delegates enjoyed a weekend exploring Durham and hot environmental law topics at the 2009 UKELA conference.
Jonathan Robinson, the newly appointed Legal Director at the Environment Agency, got the conference off to a provocative start by asking if environmental law was coherent, principled, accessible and well-informed? He asked if we need a legislation design committee – as they do in New Zealand – to make sure environmental law hits those quality benchmarks. He concluded: “Our Environmental Law isn’t in great shape and would merit a serious look”. The session was chaired by UKELA patron, Sir Francis Jacobs, (seated below middle).
Prof Bob Lee of Cardiff University (on the left) chaired a session on coal, past, present and future, Neil Stockdale (Hugh James Solicitors) discussed the legacy of personal injury from mining. Hannah Wiskin (of the Department of Climate Change) and Ian Havercroft (UCL - on the right) examined the future of coal and the issues raised by carbon capture and storage.
Mark Brumwell (left), of Dundas and Wilson, chaired the water discussion. Speakers were Sarah Kohl, who's working on the Flood and Water Management Bill for Defra, David Rooke (inside right), head of risk management at the Environment Agency, and David Symons (right), of WSP Environmental who spoke about water shortages and consumption in the UK. Shockingly he pointed out that each person in the UK accounts for 4,645 litres of water a day (33 bathtubs).
This year's hot cases session was led by three barristers: James Maurici (left) of Landmark Chambers; Charles Morgan of Enterprise Chambers (second left) Richard Wald of 39 Essex Street. Peter Kellett (right) chaired. All the speakers received bags of local produce (demonstrated here!)
Field visits and thanks
There were field visits to the Washington Wildfowl Park (close encounter with cranes below left and centre); Beamish open air museum; museums and the botanical gardens belonging to Durham University; and a walking tour of the city. UKELA’s big thanks go to the conference’s main sponsors – WSP Environment and Energy and 39 Essex Street – without which it would be impossible to lay on such a good event at such competitive prices. It also allows us to offer reduced price places to students and it was great to hear from one of the students afterwards: “I just wanted to say how grateful I am to UKELA for making it possible to attend the recent conference as a Student member. It was a brilliant opportunity and gave me a real insight into the field, as well as a chance to meet so many different professionals”.
UKELA is also grateful to Landmark Chambers for supplying the folders, Argyll Environmental for the great bags, 6 Pump Court and 39 Essex Street for pre dinner drinks. Also thanks to those who put flyers or seeds in the packs for delegates.