Landmark Chambers

Home > Our people > Barristers > Sasha Blackmore

Sasha Blackmore

Sasha Blackmore


Print all

Environmental Law

In the environmental field, Sasha undertakes a range of environmental litigation and advisory work in the domestic and EU law spheres. She has particular experience of issues relating to marine licences, access to environmental information and the Aarhus Convention.  Her experience includes environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment, climate change, many aspects of energy projects renewables, pollution prevention and control, waste, and criminal prosecutions under the Environmental Protection Act for the Environment Agency and the Town and Country Planning Act for local authorities. Her clients include local authorities, major companies, individuals and NGOs, as well as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Marine Management Organisation, the Department for the Environment (Northern Ireland) and Natural Resources Wales. She has appeared both in her own right on a large number of cases and inquiries and has also been lead in major applications and appeals.  In environmental-related planning matters, Sasha undertakes a wide range of advisory and inquiry work.  Her experience includes advertising, housing development, planning appeals including on conservation and wildlife, EIA/SEA, listed building and design grounds, as well as on village greens, compulsory purchase and gypsy appeals.

Sasha has a strong personal interest in environmental-related matters in public and planning law, and spent time on a Pegasus scholarship in Australia and New Zealand examining their system of environmental and planning courts.  She has a masters’ degree in sustainable development, and was also until recently a Trustee and Director of Forum for the Future and a Trustee and Director of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association as a member of the Governing Council. 

Major recent reported cases include:

  • Greenpeace v DEFRA and the MMO [2016] EWHC 55 (Admin); important challenge brought by Greenpeace to the Secretary of State’s allocation of fishing rights under the EU Common Fisheries Policy.
  • Johnson v SSEFRA[2015] UKUT 0207 (AAC) and NVZ/2012/032; the only Nitrates appeal to have been determined by the Upper Tribunal.

  • Powell v Brighton Marina and the MMO [2015] EWCA Civ 650; [2015] JPL 1301.  This is a challenge to the MMO’s decision to grant a marine licence for a high-profile redevelopment scheme on the Brighton Marina front.  The claim was dismissed by the Court of Appeal and permission was refused by the Supreme Court.  A third judicial review claim by the same applicant is currently (2016) seeking permission from the High Court.

  • C-71/14 East Sussex Council  Sasha acted for Central Government, led by James Maurici QC in these important cases about access to environmental information in property search charging. The multi-million pound claims, including other domestic claims, relate to access to free environmental information in property searches. 

Other recent (2015-2016) advisory work and other reported cases include:

  • Advising on high profile fisheries disputes, including between the States of Guernsey and the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Marine Management Organisation; and for the Department of Transport in relation to licences of individual vessels (both currently on-going).

  • Advising on a variety of matters connected with marine licensing, including advising on aspects of a marine DCO, and other marine challenges including as to the scope of marine EIAs and the impacts on protected marine species of marine activities (2015-2016).  Sasha is currently instructed on two environmental/marine judicial reviews by the Marine Management Organisation.

  • Advising on waste and energy matters, where Sasha has a particular environmental interest, including advising the Department of the Environment in relation to windfarm development in active peat.  Sasha also appeared in Britaniacrest Recycling Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (2015).  Sasha has appeared for statutory objectors at wind farm inquiries (2014), and has appeared at waste inquiries for local councils and also for objectors, including instructions from leading NGOs such as Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth.  Sasha was also instructed in Bowen-West v SSCLG (see below), a case which sought permission from the Supreme Court as to the deposit of low level nuclear waste in a hazardous landfill site.

  • Advising on EIA matters in major planning applications and on appeal, including as to the scope of retrospective EIAs in major applications (2015-2016).

  • Advising on protected species matters in housebuilding applications and on appeal, including as to appropriate mitigation (2015-2016).  Sasha has appeared for and against developers seeking planning permission for housing developments at both public inquiries and in the High Court, particularly in Greenbelt sites or AONB or other sensitive sites in habitats areas or woodland.  Sasha recently appeared for the Secretary of State in John Turner v (1) Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (2) East Dorset District Council [2015] EWHC 2728 (Admin) a challenge to a housing development in the Greenbelt which concerned the proper interpretation of paragraph 89 NPPF.  She also  appeared in R (CPRE) v University of Oxford and Oxford City Council ( 2014), a high-profile case involving Oxford University’s development of student housing adjacent to Port Meadow, led by Rupert Warren QC, which has been on-going throughout 2015-2016.

  • Advising on Harbour Revision Orders, including in R (on the application of Great Yarmouth Port Company and Great Yarmouth Port Authority v Marine Management Organisation (2014).

Older cases and advisory work (prior to 2015) include:

  • Sasha is experienced in waste PFI matters. She appeared in R (on the Application of Cheshire East Borough Council and others  v Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs [2011] EWHC 1975 (Admin) (led by James Maurici QC), as to the scope of the Secretary of State’s power to remove funding from major projects; Sasha was re-instructed by DEFRA in 2014 in two further unsuccessful similar multi-million pound challenge to the scope of the Secretary of State’s decision-making in 2014 R (Bradford & Calderdale Council) v Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and R (North Yorkshire County Council) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

  • Sasha has advised on the protection of ancient woodland, as well as in relation to the protection of specific species, in the context of major development.

  • Advising and acting in claims for injunctive relief and associated committal proceedings in environmental (planning enforcement) and gypsy matters (2009-2010), including obtaining a suspended prison sentence order which finally enabled a Council to enforce clearance of a site of tens of thousands of tonnes of waste where enforcement action had been ongoing for over a decade (2010).  Sasha acted in 2015 in Reilly v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council where the High Court upheld a planning inspector’s decision to refuse consent for development of a caravan site adjacent to a main road where two individuals were killed because of poor visibility at the junction despite DMRB standards being met.

  • Sasha advised in 2016 as to whether to adjourn civil environmental appeal for the determination of criminal matters.  Sasha’s experience prior to 2015 also includes prosecuting for breaches of environmental legislation for the Environment Agency and for various local councils in relation to enforcement notices and stop notices, as well as defending private clients for breach of enforcement notices and other local authority matters in London and the South-East. She has appeared in courts in Brent, Didcot, Hackney, Horsham, Uxbridge, Wandsworth, and Waltham Forest.

  • Sasha advises on highways law.  She has been instructed on a number of highways cases, including for the Highways Agency on a major road scheme (led by John Litton QC) and also independently. She has also appeared for local Councils (both in relation to impact on the local road networks from house building and in relation to certification under s.17 of the Land Compensation Act) and advises regularly on matters relating to the road network including impacts, adoption of roads as public roads, and permitted development rights on highways.

  • Older important EIA caselaw.  Sasha advised in Bowen-West v SSCLG and others [2012] EWCA Civ 321, permission was refused by the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal decision. Important case as to the proper scope of the EIA Directive as to what is a “project” and the approach to cumulative, secondary and indirect effects (led by Richard Drabble QC).  She also appeared in  R (on the application of Bateman) v (1) South Cambridgeshire District Council and (2) Camgrain Storage Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 157 (Mummery, Moore-Bick and Jackson L.JJ) At first instance: ([2010] EWHC 797 (Admin) – an important EIA case which was successful in the Court of Appeal (led by Richard Drabble QC).  Sasha also advised in R (on the application of Carroll) v Westminster City Council [2010] EWHC 2019 (Admin), a challenge to the Mayor’s cycle scheme, which had not carried out an EIA.

  • Older climate change and air quality law.  Sasha advised and appeared in R (on the application of Griffin) – v –  (1) London Borough of Newham  and (2) London City Airport Limited [2011] EWHC 53 (Admin) (Pill LJ, Roderick Evans J) Acted for local residents, led by Nathalie Lieven QC and instructed by Friends of the Earth Rights & Justice Centre, in a challenge to the doubling of capacity at London City Airport on consultation and climate change grounds.

  • Milebush Properties Ltd – v  - (1) Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and (2) the Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hillingdon [2010] EWHC 1022 (Ch) (before Arnold J) appealed to the Court of Appeal in Milebush Properties Ltd v Tameside Metropolitan BC [2011] EWCA Civ 270 (Mummery, Moore-Bick and Jackson L.JJ.) Acted for the local planning authority in an important case as to the scope of declaratory relief in s.106 agreements. The local planning authority were awarded indemnity costs in the High Court.

Sasha spent her first year of tenancy as a Judicial Assistant to the Law Lords (Lord Scott of Foscote, Baroness Hale of Richmond and Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury), working on cases before both the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords and the Privy Council. She gained substantial experience of appellate advocacy and judicial practice during that year. Cases she worked on in the House of Lords as a judicial assistant with a strong environmental or planning focus included R (on the application of National Grid Gas plc (formerly Transco plc)) v. Environment [2007] UKHL 30, R v. London Borough of Bromley, ex parte Barker, [2006] UKHL 52 and Belfast City Council v Miss Behavin Limited [2007] UKHL 19.

She is also a member of the Planning & Environmental Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Foundation and the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (formerly a Director and Council Member).