Planning & Environmental

Ampersand has a deserved reputation as being at the forefront of planning and environmental law in Scotland.

With considerable depth of experience to call upon, our members can advise on all aspects: such as statutory consent regimes, environmental impact assessment procedures, compulsory purchase and compensation.

The stable excels in major development and infrastructure projects, and has achieved pre-eminence in energy related casework. Counsel appear regularly at public inquiries and in judicial review cases, including high profile challenges in the Inner House and Supreme Court.

Examples include:

  • Public Inquiries into major infrastructure projects including the Edinburgh trams, Road upgrades, and redevelopment of St James Centre
  • Public inquiries into controversial development proposals such as the redevelopment of the former Royal High School, Edinburgh, and a proposed golf course at Coul Links, near Dornoch
  • Public Inquiries into Beauly to Denny and Thurso to Gills Bay overhead power lines
  • Supreme Court case of Sustainable Shetland v Scottish Ministers (large onshore wind farm on mainland Shetland)
  • Inner House case of RSPB v Scottish Ministers (major offshore wind farm development)
  • Various Public Inquires into wind farm proposals under the Electricity Act 1989

Ampersand counsel are attuned to the needs of clients, always mindful of commercial or regulatory concerns. They have ear of the decision-maker and the respect of their peers. With that in mind, Ampersand have launched Ampersand Direct Planning to support those needing legal representation in Planning and Public Inquiry work.

Ampersand Direct Planning

Ampersand recognises that planning appeal and public inquiry work can be challenging, time-consuming and a drain on resources. Ampersand Direct Planning is designed to address that.

Providing instructions for inquiry work direct to counsel has many benefits:

  • It keeps costs down;
  • You have the benefit of counsel’s tactical advice throughout the appeal or inquiry process, giving guidance to the team;
  • Early involvement of counsel ensures that you are preparing a case that is focused on the important evidential issues, with an awareness of the legal context;
  • Counsel is fully briefed and prepared well in advance of the inquiry, saving time later.

Planning Appeals and Inquiries have become more streamlined in recent years, which makes it easier for counsel to act within a smaller legal team:

  • Hybrid procedures are often used, with exchange of written submissions becoming the norm on less controversial issues;
  • The inquiry documentation is available electronically and tablets/computers can be used instead of having to print out several volumes of papers;
  • DPEA uses a webcam during the inquiry making it less important to have detailed notes taken during the course of the inquiry.

By using Ampersand Direct Planning, we can provide you with guidance at an early stage on issues such as:

  • whether it is sensible to expand the legal team;
  • what the likely outlay on counsel’s fees will be;
  • what you will need to provide by way of administrative support (for example access to electronic papers and preparation of witness statements);
  • the availability of counsel to assist in preparing the case (for example by reviewing draft submissions/statements).

In short, Ampersand Direct Planning can help you spend precious resources in the right place: on quality advocacy, not administration.

Use our quick enquiry service on our direct access page here or contact our Clerking team for advice and assistance on how Ampersand Direct Planning can help you.