Water Law

Landmark’s strength in depth in respect of environmental law extends to a wide experience in law relating to water, including advice, court litigation and inquiry work.  Landmark’s barristers may be seen at inquiries into abstraction licences, examinations into DCOs raising water issues, enforcement proceedings or judicial reviews.

Landmark barristers act for central government, local authorities, the Environment Agency, other public bodies, private companies and objectors.  Barristers with experience in water matters span a broad range of seniority.  Landmark’s practice managers will be happy to assist in providing a recommendation of appropriate counsel.

Landmark’s barristers have acted in significant litigation in this field:

  • R (Seiont, Gyrfai and Llyfni Anglers Society) v Natural Resources Wales [2016] EWCA Civ 797; [2018] 1 WLR 228 – acting for Natural Resources Wales in relation to a challenge to a decision that no environmental damage was being caused to the features of a SSSI;
  • General Motors UK Ltd v Manchester Ship Canal Co Ltd [2016] EWHC 2960 (Ch) – whether a private right of drainage took effect as a contractual licence and, if so, whether the licensee was entitled to relief from forfeiture following termination for breach (appeal due in April 2018);
  • R (Menston Action Group) v City of Bradford MDC [2016] EWHC 127 (QB), [2016] PTSR 466 – interpretation of the NPPF concerning approach to flood risk;
  • Greenpeace v Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Marine Management Organisation [2016] EWHC 55 (Admin) – challenge brought by Greenpeace to the Secretary of State’s allocation of fishing rights under the EU Common Fisheries Policy;
  • R (on the application of Heath & Hampstead Society) v City of London [2015] PTSR 987 – judicial review of decision taken on the grounds of safety concerning the Ponds Project on Hampstead Heath;
  • Manchester Ship Canal Co Ltd v United Utilities Water Plc [2014] 1 WLR 2576 – decision of the Supreme Court concerning the right of utility companies to discharge into private water courses;
  • R (Butler) v Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs NVZ/2012/362 – challenge to allocation of farm land as part of the Powerstock Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (“NVZ”);
  • R (Roberts) v Elmbridge BC [2013] EWHC 2107 – judicial review of discharge of details under a condition relating to a riverside buffer zone;
  • R (Hughes) v Carmarthenshire CC [2012] EWHC 568 (Admin); [2012] EWCA Civ 1509 – challenge to quash planning permission on grounds related to impact of sewerage from housing development on water quality;
  • Barton v Church Commissioners for England [2008] EWHC 3091 (Ch) – establishment of a highly unusual fishing right (a right of piscary in gross) pursuant to a lost modern grant, deemed to have occurred in the early 18th Century;
  • Enforcement proceedings under the Water Resources Act – acting for the Environment Agency and for defendants in relation to proceedings concerning pollution.

Landmark’s barristers have appeared at a number of inquiries and hearings in relation to water matters:

  • Itchen, Candover and Testwood – an inquiry considering three sets of water abstraction licences;
  • Catfield Fen – a three-week inquiry into an appeal under the Water Resources Act 1991 against the Environment Agency’s refusal to renew water abstraction licences on Habitats Directive grounds owing to alleged impact on the Broads SAC;
  • Thames Tideway Tunnel DCO examination;
  • Examination into the proposed Navitus Bay offshore windfarm;
  • Representation in relation to Water Resource Management Planning.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Judicial reviews into water abstraction licensing decisions;
  • Judicial review concerning waste water treatment;
  • Advice in relation to implementation and national compliance with the Water Framework Directive;
  • Advice on implications of Water Resource Management Plans;
  • Flooding and development (the approach to mitigation);
  • Discharges and environmental liability;
  • Private law rights of drainage and discharge, including remedies for intensification of use;
  • Water company obligations;
  • Legal implications of groundwater contamination;
  • Rights and liabilities of sewerage undertakers under the Water Industry Act 1991.
  • Advising on fisheries disputes including private rights and profits- à-prendre.
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