To facilitate the UK’s Net Zero emissions targets and global ambitions to decarbonise will require many key sectors to work together.

What does Net Zero mean? Net Zero is a legally binding commitment on the UK Government to ensure that by 2050 the amount of green-house gases (such as Carbon Dioxide) which the UK as a whole produces is less than the amount it takes out of the atmosphere. Our Net Zero lawyers are in a unique position to advise clients on the policies, regulation, strategies and projects that will need to be developed and implemented by the private and public sector to hit the 2050 obligation.

Our team are highly experienced in the key sectors that will need to come together to decarbonise such as Transport, Energy, Built Environment, Land Use and Food Production. As a firm we are committed and invested to taking positive action on climate change and have announced our own pledge to be Net Zero by the end of 2026.

Net Zero will be the single biggest UK policy and legal driver over the next decades. It will impact any public or private entity present, operating in or wanting to do business in the UK, as well as every UK individual. It will drive key decisions on infrastructure and how we will lead our lives going forward. It presents enormous opportunities for organisations to capitalise on the technology, projects and investment that will flow into organisations that are seen as carbon resilient.

The road to achieving Net Zero presents huge challenges. Our highly experienced team are committed to helping clients rise to these challenges and flourish from the opportunities. Our in-depth knowledge of the regulation and expertise across the four key sectors allows us to facilitate cross-sector discussions and open up possibilities for businesses and clients grappling with Net Zero. For more information and the latest news and insights on Net Zero, visit our Net Zero blog or listen to our new Net Zero podcast where we discuss the challenges and opportunities of Net Zero. To access a version of the podcast with subtitles, visit our YouTube channel.

Areas of focus

  • Decarbonised transport and fuels
  • Net Zero carbon emissions advice
  • Procuring, consenting, developing, financing, operating and decommissioning Net Zero infrastructure
  • Land use, food production, biodiversity net gain, natural capital matters and carbon offsetting
  • Contentious and non-contentious work across climate change, air quality and carbon law matters
  • The decarbonisation of new build and existing industrial, commercial and domestic buildings, including construction methods, smart systems & energy efficiency
  • Electricity, heat, hydrogen, natural and green gas, nuclear, water, waste & CCUS projects & networks
  • The Net Zero regulatory regime and associated industry codes and standards in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Decarbonised Energy

  • Advising Blue Gem Wind on all aspects of its 96MW floating wind demonstration project, Erebus.

  • Advising Bristol City Council in respect of the City Leap Energy Partnership, a transformative and innovative project to procure a strategic partner to develop, construct and own a number of energy and infrastructure opportunities to facilitate the council’s ambition of Bristol being a carbon neutral city by 2030.

  • Advising Progressive Energy and Cadent on the flagship Hynet North West Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen cluster project in relation to CO2 aspects and pipelines as well as other participants in all Government led CCUS commercialisation competitions to date

  • Principal legal adviser to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, assisting it with its mission to research and develop fusion energy and associated technologies.

  • Advising M&S on the award winning community energy scheme, M&S Energy Society, which involves the purchase by M&S of renewable electricity generated by solar panels installed on its stores across the UK, with the generating infrastructure being financed by members of community energy organisation Energy4All

  • Advising the developer of a plant which will convert local NHS hospital clinical waste into clean energy

  • Advising developers, local authorities, funders and customers on low carbon heat networks and solutions

  • Advising a global private equity investor on the regulation of F-gas and the potential regulatory environment for refrigerant gases in a low-GHG-emission future

  • Advising a large wealth management fund on mandatory carbon reporting and regulatory compliance

  • Acting for one of the UK's largest retailers to establish a purchasing agreement for the trading of green gas certificates.

Decarbonised Transport

  • Advising clients such FirstGroup, Octopus, Statkfraft, ESB, Moixa, Gravis and Zenobe in relation to matters including rail electrification infrastructure, EV, hydrogen, compressed natural gas and green gas charging and refuelling infrastructure and solutions, waste fuels, alternative powered trains, electric and green gas powered busses and innovative low carbon transport and transport infrastructure financing solutions

  • Advising numerous waste to fuel developers and alternative fuel suppliers on all aspects of their businesses, including the end of waste regime and the GB low carbon fuel regimes including the renewable transport fuel obligation

  • Advising ITM Power on its hydrogen electrolyser business for the last 10 years.

  • Advising ESB on the roll out of Electric Vehicle infrastructure across Birmingham

Decarbonised Land Use and Food Production

  • Advising various vertical farming developers on all aspects of their projects, including financing, construction and operation, intellectual property, real estate, heat and electricity contracts and retail and wholesale contracts

  • Advising industry leading clients on tree planting and carbon offset schemes in England, Wales and Scotland.

  • Advising landowners on management agreements with Natural England on the restoration of carbon-sink protected habitats.

Decarbonised Built Environment

  • Advising a mixed use developer on the development of a new 2000 home community. The project is intended to be one of the lowest carbon mixed use developments of its size in the UK, and will involve using a number of innovative technologies and community energy solutions, including onsite renewable energy generation and smart homes which incorporate battery and solar PV solutions.

  • Advising various entrepreneurial companies looking to solve the energy trilemma at a domestic level, with a focus on providing solutions for those in fuel poverty.

  • Advising the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the Green Deal and its ECO brokerage platform.

  • Advising clients such as Water Companies, Universities, NHS Trusts, Institutional Landlords and facilities managers on energy efficiency projects

  • Advising an energy developer on the legal structuring of a domestic rooftop solar, battery storage, EV charging and air source heat pump product to facilitate energy efficiency in domestic properties.

  • Advising a developer of large-scale industrial and distribution facilities on an energy centre product combining rooftop solar and a CHP plant to provide low-carbon energy for major distribution warehouse developments.

  • The leading advisor in the context of Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and Modern methods of construction (MMC), each of which have the potential to allow built environment owners and investors to track and reduce embodied carbon and lifecycle carbon.

Meet the team
Ross Fairley

Ross Fairley Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Head of Renewable Energy
  • Environment
Brioney Thomas

Brioney Thomas Partner

  • Head of Transport
  • Asset Finance and Asset Backed Lending
  • Commercial

Suzanne Padmore Partner

  • Pensions Disputes
  • Professional Negligence
  • Financial services Disputes and Enforcement 
  • Judicial Review
  • Trust Disputes
  • Pensions Regulatory 
  • Life and Pensions 
Ross Polkinghorne

Ross Polkinghorne Partner

  • Head of Real Estate Development
  • Real Estate
  • Infrastructure
Sian Edmunds

Sian Edmunds Partner

  • Food and Farming
  • Food and Drink
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Private Wealth Disputes
Simon-Tilling--250px x 250px 72dpi - web

Simon Tilling Partner

  • Head of Environment
  • REACH, Chemicals and Product Stewardship
  • Energy and Utilities
Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow Partner

  • Head of Energy and Utilities
  • Environment
  • Water
Emma Folkes

Emma Folkes Partner

  • Food and Farming
  • Real Estate
  • Private Client Services
Will Woodall

Will Woodall Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Healthcare
Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson Partner

  • Head of Infrastructure
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Transport
Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson Consultant

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase
Julian Boswall

Julian Boswall Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase
Lucy Pegler

Lucy Pegler Director

  • Technology
  • Data Protection
  • Outsourcing
Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming
Kevin Kennedy

Kevin Kennedy Partner

  • Agricultural Disputes
  • Trust and Probate Disputes
  • Estates and Land
Camilla Usher-Clark

Camilla Usher-Clark Partner

  • Corporate
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Co-operatives

What others say...

The support we've had from the Burges Salmon team has been absolutely invaluable. They saw the potential when we were not much more than an idea on the back of an envelope. We really couldn't have done it without their flexibility, creativity and experience.
Client feedback

The Net Zero Blog

The Net Zero Podcast

Key contact

Ross Fairley

Ross Fairley Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Head of Renewable Energy
  • Environment

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