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Infrastructure, Energy and Natural Resources

Charles has considerable experience of providing advice and representation in relation to large-scale infrastructure, energy and natural resources projects in a range of legal contexts including the development consent process, environmental regulation, contractual disputes, public procurement and regulatory issues. He is a member of the National Infrastructure Planning Association. 

He is recommended as a leading junior in Energy-related litigation in the latest three editions of Legal 500 UK (2017, 2016 & 2015), the comments in which include that he has “particularly strong experience in energy-from-waste planning disputes”. The 2015 edition of Chambers & Partners UK also stated that he was “renowned for handling planning matters arising in the energy sector”.

Energy & Natural Resources

  • Acting for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in two judicial review claims concerning changes to the rules relating to the energy capacity market (2018-ongoing).
  • Advising the UK Government on the EU and international investment law implications of Brexit for the All-Ireland Single Electricity Market.

  • Acting for the United Kingdom in Case T-715/14 NK Rosneft a.o. & others v. European Council and Joined Cases T-735/14 & T-799/14 Gazprom Neft v. Council in which the Russian energy companies Rosneft and Gazprom seek the annulment of EU sanctions targeted at the Russian oil sector in the light of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine (Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP as amended and  Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014 as amended).

  • Promoting a Development Consent Order for the Keuper Gas Storage Project, a nationally significant underground gas storage facility in Cheshire (see here). The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy granted the DCO on 15 March 2017.

  • Acting for the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure in connection with the North-South Interconnector, Northern Ireland Electricity’s proposed 400kv strategic interconnector between Tyrone in Northern Ireland and Cavan in the Republic of Ireland, regarded as the most significant energy infrastructure project in Northern Ireland to date. Planning permission for the Republic of Ireland element of the interconnector was granted in December 2016 and planning permission for the Northern Ireland element was granted in January 2018.

  • Acting for Miller Argent (South Wales) Ltd in proceedings before the UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in Geneva relating to its open-cast coal mine in Merthyr Tydfil which is anticipated to extract several million tonnes of coal over c.15 years as part of the Ffos-y-Fran Land Reclamation Scheme.

  • Acting for the claimants in multi-jurisdiction litigation concerning alleged breaches of warranty and misrepresentation in the context of co-operation agreements entered into with China National Petroleum Company for the exploitation of mineral resources in China (2016-ongoing, with John Litton QC).

  • Advising Nottinghamshire County Council in connection with its determination in November 2016 of an application by IGas Energy for consent to undertake shale gas exploration at Mission Springs (see here).

  • Appearing for the Secretary of State in Europa Oil & Gas v. SSCLG [2014] J.P.L. 21 on whether exploration for hydrocarbons constitutes “extraction” for the purposes of Green Belt planning policy in para. 89 of the NPPF, a case with significant implications for shale gas ‘fracking’ schemes.
  • Acting for Ineos ChlorVinyls at a 5 day public inquiry in January 2014 seeking the lifting of a restriction on the amount of refuse derived fuel it is allowed to import by road into its Energy from Waste facility in Runcorn.
  • Advising the Department for Energy and Climate Change in May 2013 on the scope of its powers under the Electricity Act 1989 to facilitate electricity companies’ installation and retention of electric lines and related equipment.
  • Acting for the Ministry of Defence in relation to several windfarm proposals near RAF airbases, seeking to ensure satisfactory guarantees against   interference with their radar systems.

  • Advising on the legality of the proposed public sector funding arrangements for the remediation of a large lead and zinc mine to prevent ongoing pollution to the regional river network.

  • Advising a minerals planning authority on regulatory issues relating to one of Europe’s largest tungsten mines.

Transport infrastructure

  • Acting for the Arora Group (one of the principal landowners at and around Heathrow Airport) in connection with its proposals for expansion of Heathrow Airport, including a third runway, which is being promoted as a cheaper alternative to the proposals advanced by Heathrow Airport Ltd (see here).   

  • Acting for several petitioners against the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill in the Parliamentary Select Committee proceedings established to consider objections to the proposed route and details of Phase One of the High Speed Two railway (‘HS2’). 

  • The high-profile and long running litigation relating to HS2 including (1) acting for HS2 Action Alliance in the Supreme Court in its challenge to the Government's strategy for HS2 (see R (HS2 Action Alliance Ltd) v. Secretary of State for Transport [2014] 1 W.L.R. 324; (2) acting as sole counsel in the Supreme Court in Heathrow Hub's challenge to the decision that Heathrow Airport should not be served by the main line of HS2 (see R (Heathrow Hub Ltd) v. Secretary of State for Transport [2014] 1 W.L.R. 324); (3) acting for the London Borough of Hillingdon in its challenge to the safeguarding directions issued to protect land said to be required for Phase 1 of HS2 (see R (HS2 Action Alliance Ltd) v. Secretary of State for Transport (No.2) [2014] EWCA Civ 1578). 

  • Acting for Highways England in defence of a judicial review challenge to the decision on its preferred route for  the A5036 Port of Liverpool access scheme (2017-ongoing).

  • Advising the Secretary of State on legal and procedural issues relating to the Manston Airport Development Consent Order (2017-ongoing).

  • Promoting one of four competing proposals for a new motorway service area on the A1(M) in North Yorkshire at a three month ‘beauty parade’ inquiry and in subsequent High Court proceedings (2010-2012). 

  • Defending the Secretary of State for Transport in the High Court against a judicial review challenge to his decision to grant c.£53 million of funding towards a new link road between Bexhill and Hastings.

Port and harbour infrastructure

  • Acting as sole counsel for the Secretary of State in Grafton Group Ltd v. Secretary of State for Transport & Port of London Authority [2017] 1 W.L.R. 373, a challenge to the confirmation of a compulsory purchase order made by the Port of London Authority of Orchard Wharf on the River Thames in order to secure its reactivation for wharf use. This was the first case examining the PLA’s powers of compulsory acquisition associated with its port and harbour functions.

Utilities infrastructure

  • Acting for a consortium of affected landowners in opposition to Thames Water’s proposal for the 16-mile Thames Tunnel “Super Sewer”, including successfully achieving the narrowing of the safeguarding direction issued to protect the proposed route.