The challenge

The built environment is one of the largest contributors to UK carbon emissions.

With the UK Government outlining its strategic framework for decarbonisation in the sector over the coming decades through the publication of its Heat and Buildings Strategy and Future Homes Standard, there will be significant changes required for the heating and cooling of our building stock.

The way we build property for domestic and commercial purposes, in addition to the required supporting infrastructure, will need to change in order to achieve the UK’s Net Zero target. For some organisations, the focus will be on developing methods of construction and meeting evolving building regulations. For others, the challenge of what to do with existing building stock and the retrofitting requirements will be paramount.

How we can help

Navigating this transition will trigger a host of legal-related issues around planning, funding, tax, the procurement for and construction of assets, granting of leases, the creation of funds and investment vehicles and the delivery of contracts for carbon offsets.

With market-leading, integrated expertise across the real estate and energy sectors, we are well-positioned to address these challenges and develop effective legal solutions for our clients. We are experienced advising a diverse range of clients across a broad range of industry sectors and asset types, providing both commercial awareness and a holistic view of the market. This enables us to identify new opportunities for our clients, deliver effective solutions and futureproof their assets and investments.

Having been embedded in these sectors over several decades, we have built strong partnerships across a range of industries, allowing us to facilitate cross-sector introductions to support collaboration between organisations who will need to work together to decarbonise the built environment. The combined benefits of sitting on leading industry bodies and having a deep understanding of the energy sector, means that we are close to the latest regulation and policy and well-placed to help clients understand how they will be impacted by changes in both legislation and the wider market. 

What we do

We advise a diverse range of clients including developers, land owners, investors, occupiers, operators and funders, on the implementation of Net Zero solutions for commercial and industrial buildings, housing-led regeneration schemes, and transport infrastructure.

Our expertise covers:

  • Procuring, consenting and developing low carbon assets and infrastructure
  • Procuring and installing new renewable energy technology
  • Retro-fit of existing buildings and decommissioning of net zero infrastructure
  • Modern methods of construction
  • Drafting of leasing to incorporate low carbon provisions
  • Planning regulation
  • Renewable and low carbon energy solutions
  • District heating
  • Financing of assets, including green finance
  • Development and implementation of electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Waste heat from industrial processes to power networks
  • Planning for new renewable energy system centres

Our partnerships

We are well-connected and sit on key industry groups. We participate in a number of bodies including:


Advising a mixed use developer on the development of a new 2,000 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 Polkinghorne

Ross Polkinghorne Partner

  • Built Environment
  • Development and Regeneration
  • Infrastructure
Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Real Estate
Ross Fairley

Ross Fairley Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Head of Renewable Energy
  • Environment
Richard Clark partner

Richard Clark Partner

  • Offices
  • Retail Property
  • Industrial and Logistics
Rosamond Harris

Rosamond Harris Partner

  • Renewable Energy 
  • Real Estate Services
  • Real Estate Development
Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow Partner

  • Head of Environment
  • Head of Water
  • Head of ESG
Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

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

James Phillips Partner

  • Head of Energy & Utilities
  • Head of Energy Transition
  • Energy Regulation
Sally Jupp

Sally Jupp Partner

  • Real Estate Finance
  • Corporate Turnaround and Insolvency
  • Real Estate Investment and Development
James Horton

James Horton Partner

  • Construction and Engineering
  • Energy and Utilities 
  • Infrastructure
Steven James

Steven James Partner

  • Construction and Engineering 
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Construction Disputes

Key contact

Ross Polkinghorne

Ross Polkinghorne Partner

  • Built Environment
  • Development and Regeneration
  • Infrastructure

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