Nature conservation

Our cases often have an indirect impact on nature conservation, if proposed development is prevented or at least improved from an environmental point of view. A landmark EIA decision in Preston-under-Scar was supported by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust who (correctly) saw its implications for nature conservation at the site (where quarrying in the end did not take place) and for wider impact on EIA procedures.

Direct nature conservation cases are relatively sparse. The Lappel Bank case was important for the development of the effectiveness of the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive that followed it. The Fisher case sought (contrary to perceptions) to improve habitat protection for the stone curlew issue in the case, contrary to Natural England's (then English Nature's) own approach. We have advised in other nature conservation cases, including in relation to proposals for windfarms at Romney Marsh, peat extraction in Yorkshire and access to fisheries on the underwater sea mounts in the Azores. More recently we have acted on behalf of local residents seeking to protect a rare butterfly and Great Crested Newt habitat in Buckinghamshire (Prideaux) and for fishermen in Carmarthenshire who are concerned about the effect of sewage on the cockles (Hughes). We also represented the charity Buglife in a judicial review relating to the development of land used by brown-banded Carder bees.

We believe the law is an underused tool in this area and welcome any similar cases.