Richard is a solicitor who has worked independently in environmental law since 1989. He has fought, and won, several important cases in this "Cinderella" area of the law. These include establishing a basic principle relating to classification of Special Protection Areas for birds, seeing the proper application of important but under-used EU rules on environmental impact assessment, proving the unlawfulness of the government's regulation of night flying at Heathrow airport, and improving local authority accountability in planning decisions in a series of cases dealing with the need to give reasons for decisions.
With this background he has been able to assist in all sorts of situations of concern to clients, including large and small development proposals, wind farms, telecommunication masts, aircraft noise, road, airport and port proposals, pipelines, industrial plants, and ombudsmen.
Besides challenging local and central government decisions, work is increasingly involving claims against bad neighbours, particularly for noise pollution. Cases that have caught the public eye include one against the Ministry of Defence for excessive noise from Harrier aircraft training, and noise from the Alton Towers theme park.
The work has taken him to most levels of court, including several cases in the House of Lords, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.
Richard worked for eight years to 1999 as a specialist adviser on water resources to the Environment Agency and its predecessor National Rivers Authority, so has an in-depth knowledge of the legal and practical aspects of abstraction licensing in England and Wales, as well as related water law.
He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and qualified as a solicitor in 1978 with Farrer & Co. He worked with Sinclair Roche and Temperley, a City of London firm specialising in shipping work, before being seconded by them to a Japanese shipping client in Tokyo. He took time off to obtain a master's degree in environmental science and policy from Yale University and gain practical environmental consultancy experience in Canada, particularly in fisheries and geoscience.
He is a member of the Law Society and the Institute of Environmental Assessment, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association. He is a supporter of the Environmental Law Foundation which provides initial free advice to clients about environmental problems.
He has given evidence to the House of Lords European Communities subcommittee on enquiries into enforcement of EU environmental law, and into access to environmental information. He is author of part of Halsbury's Laws, and its Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, relating to water.
Susan became a partner in the firm in 2000. She started working with Richard Buxton in 1997, given an acute interest in aircraft noise work - living under the flight path into Heathrow. She qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Bischoff & Co (later merged with Frere Cholmeley to form Frere Cholmeley Bischoff), a City of London firm. She had trained there since 1989 and worked in the Litigation Department until September 1996.
She left to pursue her interest in environmental law, completing a one year full-time Master of Laws degree course in environmental law at SOAS, University of London. She was awarded the degree of Master of Laws with merit in 1997.
Susan was The Times' ‘Lawyer of the Week' in January 2007 as a result of winning the landmark Barker environmental impact assessment case in the House of Lords (following a reference by the House of Lords to the European Court of Justice). As a result, the Government has had to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations to require that where development consent comprises a multi-stage process e.g. outline planning applications, EIA can be required before approval of reserved matters. The Regulations will also apply to conditions attached to full planning permissions which do not permit development until the submission of certain detailed matters and their approval by the planning authority.
Susan is currently acting for a large number of residents' groups objecting to wind farm development near their homes. Residents are typically concerned that the wind turbines are being sited too close to their homes, with resultant noise pollution problems and impact on landscape, and that the claims for the likely electricity generation of the wind turbines is exaggerated:
(1) In the Hoare case, the Secretary of State agreed to quash its Inspector's decision to grant planning permission for 2 wind turbines on the ground that the noise condition imposed by the Inspector was unenforceable, unreasonable and imprecise. Following a fresh planning inquiry, the Inspector refused Ecotricity's planning appeal on the grounds that the points in favour of the scheme did not outweigh the materially adverse effect of noise from the turbines on the living conditions of neighbours.
(2) In Lee, the Secretary of State agreed to quash its Inspector's decision to grant planning permission for 10 wind turbines on the ground that the noise condition was unenforceable.
(3) In NOWAP, the Council agreed to quash its decision to allow the application for approval of details in relation to wind turbines on the ground that the Council acted in breach of a legitimate expectation and irrationally in determining the application for approval of details without consulting NOWAP or the Parham, Great Glemham or Marlesford Parish Councils or the public at large on the application prior to its determination.
(4) Susan appeared in the 2011 BBC documentary ‘Wind Farm Wars' acting for Mike Hulme who objected to RES's application to erect 9 wind turbines in a Devon valley celebrated by the poet Ted Hughes, Mr Hulme complained that (1) the failure by RES to provide him with the raw background noise data recorded by them at his property was unfair and amounted to a breach of natural justice (2) the Inspector expressly left out of account consideration of a key aspect of the planning balance - namely the extent to which the windfarm proposals would deliver the benefits claimed for it in terms of generating capacity and contribution to renewable energy targets (and thus reduction in carbon emissions) and (3) the noise condition was imprecise and unenforceable. In the High Court Mr Justice Mitting criticised the developer for withholding the information in the following terms: "The developer refused to produce the raw data for a variety of reasons, which for myself I find thoroughly unconvincing. First, commercial confidentiality; it is difficult to see how there could conceivably be any commercial confidentiality in the matter of wind noise anywhere, let alone on this site. Secondly, that Mr Hulme, unaided, would not understand them; that may well be so, but he had indicated a willingness to obtain expert advice to permit him to do so. Thirdly, that the developer was unwilling to spend professional time and cost in assisting Mr Hulme to understand the raw data; that too was not a sensible argument, because all that he sought was the data itself and not any explanation of it." However, Mitting J dismissed Mr Hulme's claim, holding amongst other things that he had not been substantially prejudiced by the withholding of the information. Mr Hulme appealed on grounds (1) and (2) above and was given permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal on the basis that the grounds were arguable, Lord Justice Laws commenting that Mitting J's criticisms of the developer seemed ‘excessively mild' in the circumstances. The Secretary of State and developer agreed before the Court of Appeal hearing listed for 25 July 2008 that the Inspector's decision should be quashed.
(5) Susan has also been asked to represent residents who are experiencing nuisance from wind turbines that are now in operation; noise measurements suggest that low frequency noise from the wind turbines is interfering with enjoyment of their homes and causing sleep disturbance. The most high profile of these has been the case of Jane and Julian Davis, farmers in Lincolnshire, who started private nuisance proceedings against a subsidiary of the EDF Group and the neighbouring landowners complaining that the operation of 8 REpower MM 82 - 2 MW turbines (each with a hub height of 59 metres and a rotor diameter of 82 metres) on land close to the Davis's caused them sleep disturbance. The case formally settled on 1 December 2011, the terms of that settlement being strictly confidential.
Susan has also been acting for SAVE Britain's Heritage and in 2011 achieved a landmark victory in that the English Courts have now held that demolition of buildings can be a project subject to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive - something the UK Government had been vigorously resisting. This has helped communities objecting to the notorious Pathfinder Scheme.
In addition, Susan has (1) represented residents in Salisbury who were concerned about new settlements in the countryside that were being proposed in the Local Development Framework; following criticism of the consultation process, proposals for these new settlements have now been removed; (2) successfully launched judicial proceedings for a national heritage organisation to save a listed barn near Salisbury; (3) persuaded TfL to mediate with local residents concerned about the impacts of road widening on the North Circular; (4) acted in a dispute between residents and a noisy pub; (5) quashed a local authority's decision to grant planning permission for redevelopment of Finsbury Square for failure to consider environmental impact assessment; (6) acted for the successful claimant in the landmark village green case Kubiak which provided that a landowner could now no longer apply to the court for a declaration that his land is not registrable as a green - landowners had been doing this and applying for their costs of so doing to dissuade residents from applying to register village greens; (7) been acting for residents opposed to the development of Roswell Pits (now designated as a SSSI) in Ely as a marina.
Susan with Richard Buxton has handled several of the aircraft noise cases, including representing the Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council at the Terminal 5 Inquiry and assisting with the night flights litigation at the European Court of Human Rights.
Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and is a Trustee of the Airfields Environment Trust.
Paul is a solicitor-advocate who has worked in the environmental field since 1995. He joined Richard Buxton in 2005 after four years as Chief Executive of the Environmental Law Foundation, a national charity promoting access to environmental justice and the development of environmental law. Since joining Richard he has had conduct of a number of leading cases including R (Anderson) v Bradford MDC (2006), R (Condron) v National Assembly for Wales (2006), R (Catt) v Brighton & Hove CC (2007), Morgan & Baker v Hinton Organics (2009), R (Baker) v BANES (2009), Watson v Croft Promo-sport Ltd (2009) and R (Mellor) v Secretary of State (2009).
Paul studied law at South Bank University being taught by leading academics such as Andy Under, Jeff Lever and Karen Thatcher. He gained a masters degree (MSc) in environmental law and management at the University of Bath. He completed his PhD in 2008 at the University of Hertfordshire entitled: Public involvement in environmental matters and funding constraints in securing access (UH, 2008). He began his legal career at civil rights firm, BM Birnberg & Co before moving to south-east regional firm, Berry & Berry. Paul has also spent two years working in local government specialising in environmental management and development.
Paul has written a number of books and research documents. He is author of A Practical Approach to Environmental Law 2nd ed. (OUP, 2009), co-author of People Power (Lawpack, 2008), and editor of the environmental sentencing guidelines: Costing the Earth 2nd ed. (Magistrates' Association, 2009). Paul has published numerous reports articles in the national, legal and environmental press.
He lectures part-time at the School of Law, University of Hertfordshire specialising in environmental and planning law.
Prior to joining Richard Buxton, Paul was specialist adviser to the European Commission, the UNEP Global Judges Programme in Nairobi, and the Environmental Audit Committee's 2004-05 Inquiry: Environmental Crime. He is a member of the Law Society's Planning and Environment Committee, the Environmental Law Foundation, and the Solicitor's Association of Higher Rights of Audience. Paul is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and full member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (MIEMA).
Adrienne became an associate solicitor at Richard Buxton after completing her traineeship in March 2010. Adrienne read Law at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, where she was awarded the Sir David Williams Prize for the highest final exam results at the college in the Law tripos.
Prior to beginning her law degree, Adrienne worked for several years as a caseworker at Refugee Legal Centre, which was awarded the Justice/Liberty Human Rights Award in 2005 for its successes in representing asylum seekers and refugees. Adrienne represented clients in hearings before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and in detention at the Oakington Immigration Reception Centre.
Before moving to the UK in 2000, Adrienne worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, interviewing and registering Kashmiri separatist militants detained by the Indian Army. She also acted as an advocate on behalf of the detainees with the Indian authorities, an experience which convinced her to begin a legal career in the field of public law. Adrienne has a Masters' degree in South Asia Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she held a Hewlett Foundation Fellowship.
Adrienne represents residents' groups, parish councils and individuals in planning and environmental judicial reviews, statutory nuisance (including successfully defending recipients of abatement notices) and private nuisance. She has had recent wins in the High Court and Court of Appeal in claims relating to the need for effective consultation during the planning process (R (Halebank Parish Council) v Halton Borough Council), fairness in the 'written representations' procedure before a Planning Inspector (Ashley v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) and the proper approach to "lack of promptness" (R (Macrae) v Hereford Council).
Adrienne has successfully negotiated settlements for clients afflicted by nuisance arising from a tyre fire, out-of-hours construction and PA announcements at a London railway station.
Adrienne has a particular interest in cases involving village greens and open space and recently brought a JR against Bristol City Council for failing to consider fairly post-inquiry evidence relating to a village green which is the subject of a grant of planning permission for a new football stadium for Bristol City. The Council conceded its actions were unlawful and the matter has been returned to the Inspector.
Adrienne also writes a quarterly update on environmental law for the Solicitor's Journal, which are reproduced with kind permission here: http://www.richardbuxton.co.uk/v3.0/node/564 and http://www.richardbuxton.co.uk/v3.0/node/565
Lisa Foster qualified as a lawyer in California in 1985 following graduation from the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco where she was awarded a Juris Doc in Law. She is an active member of the California Bar Association and has recently passed stage 1 of the qualified lawyers transfer test as part of obtaining her English qualification from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
She has worked for Richard Buxton since May 2008. Her main area of expertise is heritage protection involving listed buildings and conservation areas controls EIA and the SEA directive. Recently she successfully completed a case on behalf of the southern parishes of Wokingham to challenge the Council's adoption of its core strategy and local development framework procedures under the SEA directive. Other recent cases include quashing a mineral extraction consent on EIA grounds in the High Court in Spring 2012. She is currently acting for a claimant challenging the repeal of an Act of Queen Victoria to protect a historic livestock market in Abergavenny from redevelopment to a modern superstore.
She first practiced law in San Francisco in the business and financial/taxation sector for three years before switching to commercial litigation. She was then an associate in public interest litigation firm Goldstein and Phillips (now Phillips and Erlewine and Given). During this time she appeared in numerous state and federal court case proceedings including a high-profile drug smuggling case in the US Federal Court.
Her passion is historic buildings and architectural history. In 1992 she came to England to study for a Masters in Conservation Studies at the University of York, England. After graduation in 1993 she was awarded fellowship funding from ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments) to write a guidance note for English Heritage on disabled access to historic buildings. Following this publication she then worked as a planning consultant to national organisations including English Heritage and Historic Scotland, several large universities and over 75 public entities including the Royal Academy of Arts.
In 2007 she returned to fulltime academic study at the University of East Anglia in the School of Environmental Science. She was awarded a distinction at graduation. Her dissertation looked at the Environment Agency's application of EU laws (the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive) to coastal flood risk assessment and management.
Carolyn is a trainee solicitor with the firm and will be qualifying in Summer 2013. She joined the firm in August 2010 as a paralegal while studying for the Legal Practice Course at Anglia Ruskin University, where she was awarded a distinction and the Cambridge & West Suffolk Resolution prize for the student with the best mark in the Family Law elective. In 2009 Carolyn decided to convert to the legal field and studied the GDL in Newcastle after having worked for two years following the completion of her BA (Hons) in Sociology at the University of York.
Since joining Richard Buxton, Carolyn has worked on a wide range of planning and environmental judicial review cases, nuisance cases and has acted as an agent in the County Court for the Treasury Solicitor on the request of overseas Court to undertake witness examinations. She thoroughly enjoys working in this niche area of law where there is always something new to learn.
Barbara is a trainee solicitor at Richard Buxton, and is due to complete her traineeship in July 2013. Prior to joining Richard Buxton in 2011, she worked for the Public Law Project and the Environmental Law Foundation, where she headed up the Advice and Referral Service. In this role she worked on a wide range of cases, including representing an applicant group at a village green inquiry.
Barbara has a law degree and LLM in International and European Law from the University of Sheffield. She received the highest mark in the year for International Environment Law, and undertook a dissertation on the principle of common concern as it applies to the protection of forests at an international level. With a scholarship from the Inner Temple she then completed the Bar Vocational Course, before moving onto cross-qualify to become a solicitor.
Since joining Richard Buxton, Barbara has worked on a wide range of planning and environmental judicial reviews, and cases of nuisance from wind turbines. She has recently written (with Susan Ring) an article on the recent developments in the law of nuisance in relation to wind turbines (J.P.L. 2012, 8, 892-898).
Sara Ball joined Richard Buxton in 2004 and takes care of office administration, allowing the rest of the team to concentrate on trying to keep the planet in good shape. She is often the first person you will speak to on the phone, and aims to be a "listening ear" for clients, rather than a dragon receptionist!
Her interests include organic gardening and eating, fair trade and theology.
Sheryl joined Richard Buxton as a paralegal in October 2011. Before joining Richard Buxton she spent several years as a paralegal dealing with clinical negligence cases, initially on the Defendant side and then a further four years on the Claimant side at Leigh Day & Co in London. As well as dealing with the casework side of things Sheryl also has experience in negotiating and dealing with costs at the end of a case.