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Scott Lyness

Scott Lyness



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Scott Lyness specialises in all aspects of planning and environmental law. He is consistently rated as one of the leading junior members of the planning Bar.

He has been described by Chambers & Partners as follows:

  • "his ability to engage with highly technical information and understand the nuances of a client's position is unprecedented. He is a pragmatic practitioner who goes the extra mile to deliver the best possible outcome." "A top-notch junior, he's meticulous, interacts very well with clients and is at the top of his game."
  • "a fantastic reputation for his wide-ranging planning practice, acting for developers, planning authorities and other parties at all levels"; "One of the best barristers I have had the pleasure of working with, including QCs." "Scott’s ability to understand technical scientific evidence is to be commended, as is his ability to calmly ensure that all that is needed is covered";
  • "a good way with clients and a down-to-earth manner. He is a very capable junior barrister who is a rising star;" "I love his pragmatic attitude. Nothing is too much trouble for him". He is “very thorough and has a really good grasp of the issues";
  • "clients appreciate his approachable manner and depth of knowledge"; "a rising star at the Planning Bar who understands clients’ needs thoroughly; he "is outstanding in terms of his command of detail and his commitment to the project. Of everyone I have seen at the Bar in the past year, I am most impressed by him".

Scott was a nominated junior at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2016.

The Legal 500 has stated that he:

  • “understands and interprets complex scientific information in an intelligible way”.
  • is “user-friendly and highly rated for complex planning cases’’;
  • is “a strong advocate with good attention to detail”; “gets to grips with complex planning matters”;
  • is “one of the leading juniors at the Planning Bar and impresses with his powers of analysis and level-headedness”;
  • he “has an excellent instinct for what is important and what is not, yet he puts professional teams at ease and gets the best out of them”.

Scott has consistently been included as a top-rated junior in the annual survey by Planning Magazine.

His planning practice encompasses all aspects of planning both at inquiries and examinations and in the Higher Courts. He provides strategic and technical advice on the preparation of development proposals. He acts for a wide range of developers, planning authorities and interest groups at all stages of the planning process.


Scott’s practice covers major infrastructure and energy-related proposals, including cases covered by the NSIP regime. His work has covered a range of developments including railways, nuclear power stations, gas storage facilities, onshore and offshore wind farms and solar arrays. He acted for EDF in securing consent for Hinkley Point C; for the RSPB in relation to the world’s largest offshore windfarm (Hornsea Projects One and Two); and for the University of Manchester in relation to the Keuper Gas storage facility in Cheshire. TWAO work has included acting for English Heritage and the University of Manchester in relation to proposals by Network Rail for new railways infrastructure as part of the “Northern Hub”. He acted for SONI in promoting proposals for an electricity interconnector between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Regeneration, Retail and CPO

His experience has included public inquiries into city centre regeneration schemes and mixed use proposals involving tall buildings. These cases have often involved issues relating to compulsory purchase, retail development, listed buildings and conservation areas, section 106 obligations and detailed technical issues relating to noise, air quality and transport.

He has advised in relation to some of the most significant development proposals in London in recent years, including the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and Earls Court. Tall building work has included acting in relation to proposals for 20 Fenchurch Street and 20 Blackfriars Road. Regeneration work includes promoting the compulsory purchase order which led to Liverpool One, the £1 billion mixed use redevelopment of Liverpool city centre, along with the promotion of other significant retail-led regeneration schemes in Leeds, Nottingham and Derby. Other compulsory purchase cases include R (on the application of Sainsbury’s Stores Ltd) v Wolverhampton City Council [2010] UKSC 20, the leading case on the materiality of considerations to the exercise of powers of compulsory acquisition.


His substantial housing experience involves a variety of cases and includes promoting Sherford, a new 5,500-home community east of Plymouth city centre. Recent work includes regular appearances acting for both housebuilders and and local authorities at planning inquiries and advising on housing need and land supply issues, in relation to both proposals and the preparation of development plans.


He advises and acts frequently on environmental issues including EIA and habitats. Recent case work has included representing Wealden District Council in cases involving the application of the Habitats Directive in cases involving traffic emissions, air quality and impacts on the ecology of the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation (Wealden DC v SSCLG [2017] EWCA Civ 39; Wealden District Council v SSCLG, Lewes DC and South Downs NPA [2017] EWHC 351 (Admin). He is representing the Shaftesbury Estate on a judicial review concerning enforcement and habitats issues arising from sand dredging at Lough Neagh.


Scott also has extensive experience of heritage issues. has acted for the National Trust on a challenge to the proposed development of a golf course near the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site and for English Heritage in relation to proposals including the called-in application for a solar farm at Wroughton Airfield and the Northern Hub railway infrastructure in Manchester.

Further details of Scott’s work across these practice areas can be found within the Inquiries and Cases sections of his profile.

He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in November 1996 and to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2000. He is a member of the Planning and Environment Bar Association and the UK Environmental Law Association.