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West Midlands

The West Midlands region covers West Midlands, Staffordshire, part of Shropshire, part of Worcestershire.


Upcoming events:

BREAKFAST SEMINAR on Thursday 27 September 2018 at 9am

  • Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) Screening - Implications of People over Wind, Peter Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta
  • Presenters: Emma Jones, Ramboll & Richard Kimblin QC No 5 Chambers
  • Venue: Ramboll, Level 7, Cornerblock, Two Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 2DX
  • Registration & refreshments: 09:00 to 09:30, presentation from 9:30 with follow on networking until 10:30

Presentation Abstract

HRA is required under the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) for any proposed project which may have a significant effect on one or more European designated sites. People over Wind, Peter Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta concerns a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court). The Court held that Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive requires that measures which are intended to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of a plan or project on a European Protected Site should not be taken into consideration at the HRA screening stage. This ruling has implications for a number of local plans and major development projects for which the HRA process is applicable. In addition to the application of the ruling for new projects, there will be a need, in many instances, for follow on review for ongoing projects and development proposals to ensure that the original HRA screening assessment conclusions are not reliant upon the type of avoidance or reduction measures which, following People over Wind, are now not to be taken into consideration at the screening stage.


Emma Jones is a Managing Consultant at Ramboll Environment and Health UK Limited. Emma will present the background to People over Wind, implications of the ruling and considerations that may be relevant for a number of planned major developments.

Richard Kimblin QC is described in the Legal 500 as a ‘Tier 1’ silk: “An exceptional talent with a formidable intellect.” His practice focuses upon: - Planning appeals in England and Wales, principally in respect of residential schemes of significant size, particularly where technical and environmental issues are in play; Planning and environmental litigation in the Planning Court and Court of Appeal. His work in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court is concerned with the full range of key issues which affect planning and environmental law, e.g.: Green BeltRedhill Aerodrome, Turner, Timmins; Operation of S38(6) & NPPFBarwood Land and Estates; BDW; Daventry DC; Policy issues: Watermead PC (flood risk, Footnote 9); Cotswold DC (5YLS); Wealden (AONB); CompensationBloor v HCA; DCOs – Gate; Environmental liabilitySeiont Anglers; Planning enforcement Challinor, Allsop; Richard’s practice also includes infrastructure projects, having recently obtained consent for a windfarm in mid-Wales.

To book please contact the convenor.

Events have focused on the following:

. Environmental Crime

• Fracking (the lead drilling company is based in our region and we were fortunate enough to have a visiting speaker from the British Geological Survey);

• Flooding (highly relevant to everyone in our region and particularly those based near the river Severn!);

• Environmental nuisance;

• Contaminated land (we explored the new guidance that has been issued for Category 4 screening levels and had a comparative talk on the regime in Western Australia).

In addition, the group regularly arranges for local members to view webinars that are screened from other UKELA events taking place nationally. Future events are being planned all the time with the impact of the environmental sentencing guidelines and expansion of the civil sanctions regime currently being considered.

Given the large number of universities that are based in the region, the group is keen to attract new student members as we believe this is the best way of securing both UKELA and our group’s future. Efforts are also being made to build links with other environmental organisations in our region. We are always keen to attract both new members and existing UKELA members to our events. With HS2 very much on the horizon for most in our region these are interesting times for environmental law in the West Midlands and we look forward to our group continuing to act as an important local forum for UKELA members in future.

About our Group

A new regional committee was formed in 2014 bringing together a wide range of different member skill sets with representation from national law firms, the bar, environmental consultancies and academia.The group is chaired by Jill Crawford from BLM with Chris Hopkins barrister at No.5 Chambers as secretary. Other members of the committee include Kevin Hegarty Q.C. (St Philips Chambers), Cairo Nickolls (Irwin Mitchell), Richard Mitchener (Atkins Global) and Steven Vaughan (University of Birmingham). This broad range of different experiences and expertise is reflective of its members and has helped contribute to the diverse mix of local events that have been put on in the region. The group always tries to strike a balance at events between the legal and more practical aspects.

Contact the convenor if you would like to join the group.


Chair Jill Crawford, Berrymans Lace Mawer

Secretary Chris Hopkins, No5 Chambers

Treasurer Cairo Nickolls, Irwin Mitchell

Kevin Hegarty QC, St Philips Chambers

Richard Mitchener, Atkins Global

Steven Vaughan, Birmingham University.


Jill Crawford

Jill Crawford

Jill is an Associate Solicitor at BLM. She works in their Regulatory Team based in Birmingham, specialising in Environmental Regulation. Jill worked for a number of years at the Environment Agency as a prosecutor and advisory solicitor before returning to private practice.

0121 643 8777

This page was printed from the website of the UK Environmental Law Association at www.ukela.org.
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