James Findlay is recognised by both Chambers and Partners (2013) and Legal 500 (2012) in this field – and has been for some time both as a junior and a silk. Legal 500 (2011) commented that he was “very approachable whilst being tactical, assertive and realistic as to outcomes” whilst Chambers commented that he was “a widely respected silk …held in high regard for his waste expertise”.
He regularly provides advice for private clients and local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland on all types of Environmental issues, from contaminated land to disused quarries as well as contractual issues relating to the collection and disposal of waste. He has advised various other councils as to their waste contracts and policies, and is currently advising a Council as to the impact of a SPA on an extant planning permission for peat extraction (as well as acting for it in related Judicial Review proceedings).
In terms of inquiry work within the last two years he has appeared at a quarry inquiry (sand and gravel extraction) and is currently engaged in a waste to energy appeal, inquiry due in mid 2013, having completed two in 2012. He has undertaken five windfarm appeals in the last three years and is due to appear at sixth in June 2012. These have involved noise, wildlife and residential impact matters as well as landscape and visual impact issues. He has taken part in two judicial reviews of decisions to permit windfarms, the latter in May 2012 which raised a number of issues, including EPS.
In terms of Court work, he appeared in the case of Morge both in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for Hampshire CC as developer successfully resisting a stay on construction works pending appeal and more recently represented developers resisting local plan challenges to allocated housing sites based on SEA, Habitats and EPS issues (judgment awaited). He has also acted for Castle Cement Ltd in a series of Judicial Reviews relating to inter-relationship PPC, IPPC and EA. He has acted for Hartlepool Borough Council at inquiry and in related proceedings relating to dismantling of ships adjacent to SPA’s and other protected habitats. He is currently due to appear to resist a development plan challenge based on inadequate Appropriate Assessment and the Habitats Directive.
He has recently settled at mediation a large case for Surrey County Council arising out of a leaking landfill.
He has considerable experience of statutory nuisance work, having appeared in the House of Lords in Birmingham CC v. Oakley as well as in Cunningham v Birmingham, and appeared in the Court of Appeal on a land drainage matter in Ward Estates.