25 November 2016

The Energy, Power and Utilities sector group from Burges Salmon has been named Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year at The Legal Week British Legal Awards 2016.

The firm’s energy team received the accolade for the work it carried out advising M&S on community energy scheme M&S Energy Society.

M&S Energy Society, a joint collaboration between M&S and community energy organisation Energy4All, generates renewable electricity from solar panels installed on M&S stores across the UK. For this first fund raising round, the Society invited Members to invest between £100 and £100,000 to fund the installation of solar panels on nine M&S stores. M&S will buy all the energy generated to power its stores. The Society is targeting an annual return of five per cent each year for its Members with any surplus being applied to fund community based projects.

As well as providing an alternative investment opportunity for ethically conscious customers, each installation will result in a reduction of CO2 emissions released by the M&S stores. M&S already uses 100 per cent renewable electricity in its stores. This initiative will also help to fulfil M&S’s additional green energy commitment; to ensure that 50 per cent of the renewable electricity used in its UK and ROI building operations comes from small-scale renewable sources by 2020.

Property Solicitor at Marks and Spencer, Helen Wright, says: “This was a key project for the M&S Plan A team in 2016. The project was a unique opportunity to attract customers, colleagues and others as investors as well as delivering local community engagement and benefits.”

“The whole Burges Salmon team played a crucial role in helping M&S to deliver this first of a kind scheme – which was oversubscribed – and has provided the opportunity for our customers and others to invest in community scale green energy, help the environment and support their local communities. The Burges Salmon team were able to deal with the project’s complexities and had excellent transaction management skills enabling M&S to meet the strict deadlines necessary to deliver this project.”

“Every member of the Burges Salmon team was always on hand to respond to ad hoc queries throughout the project and provided solid and commercial advice on the spot - a testament to their technical knowledge and experience. Further, their understanding and appreciation of the tight costings and budget involved with this project was of great assistance. Overall, they were pragmatic, innovative and responsive; a great team to work with.”

Led by Burges Salmon energy partner Nick Churchward, the firm’s energy, corporate, construction and real estate teams acted for M&S on all aspects of the project.

Nick concludes: “While this may be one of the smaller energy projects our team has been involved in this year, it was one of the most interesting. This is a really engaging story about M&S yet again breaking new ground and using the power of its brand to encourage customer buy-in to M&S’s Plan A objectives and delivering community scale renewable generation projects.”

Winners were announced at an awards dinner at Finsbury Square on Thursday 24 November 2016.

Key contact

Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

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

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