We recently spoke with Angus Evers, a trusted authority on environmental issues and a respected environmental lawyer we have worked with for many years.
He currently leads the environmental law practice at Shoosmiths.
We wanted to focus in on some of his current thoughts and concerns as we move towards the COP26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference, scheduled to take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021.
“Biodiversity loss is arguably one of the biggest environmental challenges, not just for the UK, but globally, alongside climate change and the increasing amount of waste that we are producing (much of it plastic). I am hopeful that the biodiversity net gain provisions in the Environment Bill will do something to stop the decline and may even reverse it, but I am concerned that environmental issues may not be a political priority as we try to rebuild our economy in the wake of COVID-19.”
Energy and climate change issues and how to combat them:
“Energy and climate change issues have become increasingly important. Other issues that I have seen cropping up more frequently over the course of the past 10 years are drainage and flooding issues, and invasive species such as Japanese knotweed. Regrettably, waste crime seems to be on the increase, and I have seen a number of landowners falling victim to it.
“The Argyll SiteSolutions Combined report is very much the “default” report for my firm’s commercial property lawyers on any acquisition. We like the fact that flood risk and general environmental risks are both covered in the same report and that the report has professional input from a consultant, who we can speak to directly to discuss any issues. We often also use the Energy & Infrastructure report on development transactions, to identify specific risks and constraints arising from nearby energy installations and infrastructure.”
Charting the UK’s future:
“The next few years are likely to be a challenging time for environmental law in the UK, following our departure from the EU. We may see divergence in environmental laws between the different parts of the UK if the devolved administrations take different approaches to England. We will also have to deal with the implementation of the Environment Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.”
We all realise there will be a number of issues that need to be addressed, both for the UK independently, as well as globally, in the coming years. Meeting the challenges and questions that arise from environmental science, law and policy will be on the agenda for a long time to come.