Pressure on the waste and resource management industry to reduce the amount of waste in landfill sites has led to a focus on – and significant investment in – recycling and energy from waste projects and stimulated new markets for offtakes including RDF and SRF. These developments are creating new challenges and opportunities. Consequently, the industry needs legal advice on a broader range of topics than ever before; from contractual and regulatory issues to project development and operational matters.

Our waste and resource management team combines market leading expertise in environmental law and fuelled renewable energy projects. Our advice covers all major municipal and commercial waste streams, agricultural wastes and by-products, hazardous and nuclear wastes.

We understand the importance of environmental issues for funders, investors, customers and waste producers, and we work closely with them to ensure regulatory compliance.

We provide expert guidance on the process of developing, financing and operating waste and resource management facilities. Our lawyers offer day-to-day support and advice throughout the business lifecycle; from planning, financing and construction, through operation and acquisition/disposal, refinancing and ultimately to decommissioning. 

Areas of focus

Our waste and resource management expertise includes advising funders, developers, contractors, local authorities and the supply chain on the following:

  • Development and operation of recycling and energy recovery technologies including MRFs, MBT, anaerobic digestion, advanced conversion technologies, energy from waste.
  • Contractual and regulatory issues and disputes arising in connection with pre-commissioning and operational phases of waste infrastructure and service projects.
  • Compliance with the waste duty of care and avoiding/mitigating intervention and enforcement action by the environmental, planning and health and safety regulators.
  • Procurement, bidding and negotiation of infrastructure projects for the reuse, recycling, treatment and disposal of waste material and by-products in the UK and overseas.
  • Financings (including project finance) and equity financings of waste infrastructure and services.
  • Legal responsibility for waste materials and rights and obligations under national and international regulatory frameworks, advising on environmental permitting and health and safety issues and the civil and criminal remedies and sanctions.
  • Real estate issues and land rights, project leases, planning and permitting. 
  • Power, heat and all applicable energy subsidy regimes (FIT, RO, CFD and RHI) and all other offtake and residue arrangements.
  • Corporate and asset acquisitions and disposals, legal due diligence, support and advice in connection with transactions with specific waste contract, waste to energy and waste regulatory issues.

Advising local authorities on the procurement of their Waste PPP projects – including the Isle of Wight Council's 25 year integrated waste PPP, Devon County Council's Exeter city EfW and Gwynedd Council's 25 year anaerobic digestion waste treatment project.

Advising on the design and implementation of the Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion County Councils' award winning RDF export framework.

Advising EPC contractor Costain on the Greater Manchester Waste PFI.

Advising Bristol City Council on the "remunicipalisation" of its waste collection service.

Advising bidders/developers on the development of merchant and public sector waste projects, including New Earth Solutions, Wessex Water/Geneco, ITI Energy, Green Waste Energy Inc, Covanta Energy, Neales Waste Management, DRENL, Material Change.

Advising banks, other lenders and investment funds on equity, corporate and project financing of merchant and public sector waste projects – including Green Investment Bank, Octopus Investments, Royal Bank of Scotland, Nationwide Building Society, Investec Bank, London Waste and Recycling Board and Gravis Capital Partners.

Advising funders and developers on the development of more than 20 anaerobic digestion plants (electricity and gas to grid).

Advising Isle of Man Government on the ongoing operation and management of its EfW facility.

Advising a European energy developer on the acquisition of 2 UK energy from waste gasification projects.

Advising on the acquisition and disposal of composting businesses in England and Northern Ireland.

Defending a UK business from an investigation by the Dutch police for alleged unlawful international transfer of waste products and representing a client during Operation Durable, the Environment Agency’s largest hazardous waste regulatory investigation.

Acting for numerous waste clients in regulatory investigations for and appeals against breaches of permit, non-compliance with exemptions and breach of planning conditions.

Assisting on crisis management and incident response and representing waste clients at interviews under caution.

Defending clients in enforcement proceedings including defending criminal prosecutions, negotiating civil sanctions and enforcement undertakings and acting as advocates in sentencing hearings.

Advising on waste-oriented product stewardship and producer responsibility schemes such as the WEEE Regulations and the packaging waste regime.

Advising numerous landowner clients on £multi-million liabilities arising from the illegal storage/dumping of waste and refuse derived fuels by absconded tenants, liaising with regulatory authorities and advising on civil claims for recovery of losses.

Meet the team
Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

  • Head of Resource and Waste Management
  • Projects
  • Energy and Utilities
Lloyd James

Lloyd James Partner

  • Construction and Engineering
  • Energy and Utilities 
  • Infrastructure
Euan Bremner

Euan Bremner Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Head of Scottish Real Estate
  • Head of Northern Irish Real Estate
Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Real Estate
Jonathan Eves

Jonathan Eves Partner

  • Corporate
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and Subsidy Control
  • Projects
Graham Soar

Graham Soar Partner

  • Banking and Finance
  • Derivatives, Debt Capital Markets and Securitisations
  • Project Finance

What others say...

Burges Salmon has exceptional responsiveness. The lawyers are approachable, friendly and extremely accommodating to client needs.

Chambers UK 2024

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