Harriet Townsend

Call: 1992

Contact my clerk

Harriet Townsend
Daryl Hughes, Senior Practice Manager

Harriet Townsend is a leading practitioner in planning and environment law, and related public law and/or property matters (most notably compulsory purchase and highways law). Most of her work involves the exercise of statutory powers and duties, and her clients include individuals, public authorities, planning consultants, developers, and solicitors working throughout England and Wales.

Harriet has followed the development of climate change as a legal and policy issue throughout her career and she represents Surrey County Council in the leading case on the assessment of so-called ‘downstream’ greenhouse gases, Finch and others v Surrey County Council and others. She has appeared in planning appeals and judicial reviews concerning proposals for renewable energy development, notably solar farm and onshore windfarm proposals; and she has led objections to significant energy related CPOs. She is a member of the Cornerstone Climate team responsible for training.

Recent work includes:

  • Judicial review and statutory appeals to the High Court. Issues of statutory, and policy, interpretation; reasons requirements; heritage assessment; and the role of climate change in environmental impact assessment, are prominent in Harriet’s recent cases.
  • Compulsory purchase – acting for promoters and objectors to a variety of orders: notably CPOs required to deliver complex regeneration projects and roads, as well as other buildings and land including vacant dwellings and listed buildings.
  • Compensation – representing landowners and public authorities in claims for compensation under various statutory provisions.
  • Planning and enforcement appeals raising issues of sustainability; heritage impact; air quality; and biodiversity – including statutory protection for habitats and species. Harriet has often represented clients at planning appeal hearings (a less formal procedure than an inquiry but one that allows for legal submissions and contributions by counsel, where appropriate).
  • Advising clients on rights to environmental information, habitat protection through nutrient neutrality, and biodiversity net gain.
  • Local authority conduct, claims of misfeasance, bias, and maladministration.