Nina has a wide-ranging planning practice specialising in environmental law matters in the context of planning applications, including infrastructure, energy, controversial minerals development, hazardous substances consent, waste, EIA, SEA, agriculture, water, air quality, and nature conservation issues. She has represented clients before the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the United Nations both for and against Government and public bodies. She has been appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of counsel.
She is ranked as a leading junior in Environmental Law by the Legal 500 (“a rising star”), one of the country’s top-rated juniors by Planning Magazine, and a leading junior by Chambers and Partners. Comments include: “her ability to crack intellectually challenging issues is unbelievable. If you think of it as chess, she is always three or four moves ahead of the opposition”, “has a tremendous capacity to take in a great deal of information and get straight to the point”, “an incredible advocate”. Nina has also featured as one of The Planner’s Women of Influence (2022) and in the inaugural ENDS Power List of the most influential environmental professionals: “she is one of, if not the, leader in her field”.
In 2022 Nina was part of the legal team that challenged the government over its Net Zero Strategy which the High Court, in a historic ruling, deemed as “unlawful”, and led the government to revise its climate strategy to show how key emission reductions will be met.
At COP27 Nina was awarded the Global Leadership Award in Climate Law for her work with an international coalition of bar associations seeking to build the capacity of the legal sector in relation to climate change where it is relevant to legal advice, so as to best serve the needs of lawyers’ clients.
Nina has appeared in a number of leading strategic environmental law claims, including R (Friends of the Earth) v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  EWHC 1841 (Admin) (the successful challenge to the Government’s Net Zero Strategy), R (Friends of the Earth Ltd) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 518 (Admin) concerning the failure to carry out an assessment of the environmental impacts of the National Planning Policy Framework, Fish Legal’s successful claim that an energy company is a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and R (Finch) v Surrey County Council  EWCA Civ 187 (now before the Supreme Court) concerning the question of whether downstream greenhouse gas emissions were indirect effects of an oil and gas mine for the purposes of environmental impact assessment. She was instructed to appear on behalf of HS2 (led by Richard Kimblin KC) in R (Misbourne Environmental Protection Ltd) v Environment Agency  EWHC 3094 (Admin) (concerning the legality of the permitting process for the Chiltern Tunnel section of HS2). She is currently acting for HS2 in relation to four CAAD appeals in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (led by Guy Williams KC).
She also has international environmental law experience, having represented the communicants for a complaint before the UN’s Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee which resulted in the Aarhus costs regime being extended to claims under s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. She was then instructed by the UK Government to appear before the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in relation to subsequent complaints. She is presently editor of a toolkit setting out legal frameworks for Paris Agreement-aligned investment in each of Africa’s 54 states, and working alongside an international coalition of bar associations increasing the legal sector’s capacity to respond to the green transition, for which she was awarded a Global Leadership Award by the Climate Law and Governance Initiative at COP27.
Nina has particular expertise in water law, having served as a co-convener of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association’s Water Working Party for six years, through which she has participated in numerous consultations on changes to the water sector. She has also advised local authorities of their powers and duties under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, statutory undertakers and local authorities in relation to their duties concerning private water supplies, and in relation to private surface water sewers, CSOs, and appeals against regulator-initiated variations of environmental permits. She regularly defends water companies against prosecutions for breaches of the terms of an environmental permit. She has successful experience of the use of the civil penalty regime for environmental offences under Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008. She has also led several successful prosecutions for large water companies. She appeared in the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Seiont, Gwyrfai and Llyfni Anglers’ Society) v Natural Resources Wales  EWCA Civ 797, the leading case on the interpretation of “environmental damage” under the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009 (led by Richard Kimblin KC).
Nina has experience advising applicants and mineral planning authorities on controversial applications including minerals development in national parks and other highly sensitive areas, including fracking applications. She successfully argued for the validity of a restoration condition in relation to the last remaining coal mine in England which included determining the status of a mine (whether pre-1948 and therefore one to which the GDO regime applied). She acted for the successful defendant mineral planning authority in R (Haden) v Shropshire Council  EWHC 33 (Admin) (adequacy of environmental information and impact of minerals development on vulnerable residents).
Nina has assisted at an inquiry regarding the development of a sub-station for a billion-dollar offshore windfarm in Norfolk (led by Richard Kimblin KC). She has advised statutory consultees on issues arising from major energy developments such as Hinckley Point C development and the ABLE Marine Energy Park. She also regularly advises in relation to renewable energy development.
She has extensive experience with nature conservation law, including the legal regime establishing the requirement for biodiversity net gain. She was seconded to Natural England, where she advised on the applicability of marine conservation laws to the Crown and issues arising under the Highways Act, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations and the Habitats Directive. She has regularly advised public bodies, landowners, and developers on nutrient neutrality.
- Court of Appeal overturns High Court decision found to have misinterpreted the law01 Aug 2023
- Nina Pindham appears for DEFRA in High Court case examining the Humber River Basin Management Plan12 Jul 2023
- Necessary infrastructure – not necessarily the same project11 Jul 2023
- Supreme Court to hear appeal concerning downstream emissions of fossil fuel projects20 Jun 2023
- Nina Pindham to speak at the IBA Annual Conference in Paris30 Oct 2023
- Cornerstone Barristers achieves record results in Chambers UK Bar Directory 2024 for Planning and Environment24 Oct 2023
- Nina Pindham carries out comparative legal analysis of biodiversity net gain regimes across the world23 Aug 2023
- High Court to hear Judicial Review concerning sewerage works at Hailey Park, Cardiff28 Jun 2023
- Planning Law Survey 2023: Seven members of chambers highly rated by Planning Magazine16 Jun 2023
- Leading environmental barrister Nina Pindham joins Cornerstone Barristers17 Apr 2023
Nina has acted for developers, local authorities and third parties in a range of housing appeals. Work includes acting for developers at inquiries where issues involved policy, heritage, housing land supply, noise, and transport and highways impact; and successfully challenging and defending decisions. She has appeared before the High Court and Court of Appeal in a number of cases concerning the legality of planning decision-making: R (on the application of Flemming) v Wiltshire Council  EWHC 1260 (Admin) (compliance with the development plan); R (on the application of Dudfield) v Forest of Dean DC  EWHC 291 (Admin) (consideration of environmental impacts in decision-making). She acted for the Interested Party in R (on the application of Dukeminster Ltd) v Exeter City Council  EWHC 664 (Admin) (the materiality of planning considerations, including the role of viability concerns in the context of statutory consultees’ deliberations and ransom strips) (led by Ian Dove QC) and for the Claimant in R (Walker) v Bath and Somerset Council  EWHC 1836 (Admin) (successfully arguing a planning decision was irrational). She has also acted for the Secretary of State in the Schneck v Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities  EWHC 3335 (Admin) concerning the scope of the court’s powers when reviewing decisions in the context of allegations of misinterpretation of policy and unfair decision-making procedure  EWHC 1289 (Admin) and again for the Secretary of State in a case concerning the definition of curtilage following the Court of Appeal’s decision in R (Hampshire County Council) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  QB 103 (Hiley v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities  EWHC 1289 (Admin)).
Nina has experience at all stages of the neighbourhood plan process on behalf of developers, local planning authorities and neighbourhood planning groups. She was instructed for the claimants in Richborough Estates Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 33 (Admin) concerning the development industry’s challenge to the Written Ministerial Statement on Neighbourhood Planning.
Examinations in Public
Nina has appeared at a large number of Examinations in Public. Work includes appearing for developers proposing strategic scale sites, including new towns, opposing allocation of land as Local Green Space; appearing for a developer opposing a proposed mayoral referendum prior to the grant of planning permission for new residential development; and appearing for developers in relation to flaws in the Sustainability Appraisal. She is also experienced in legal challenges (including injunctions) concerning the decision to adopt a plan under s.113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
Permitted Development Rights
Nina regularly advises on the availability of permitted development rights, and the use of planning conditions to exclude those rights. She acted for the successful Defendant in Stevens (t/a KCS Asset Management) v Blaenau Gwent CBC  EWHC 1606 (Admin), a case concerning solar energy development and the applicability of the EIA regime to permitted development rights in Wales (led by Richard Kimblin KC).
Nina has advised a range on of clients on the applicability of the CIL Regulations to specific contributions, including advice on the legality of district and county-wide policy on contributions, the impact of the removal of regulation 123 of the CIL Regulations, and applications to vary planning obligations under a s.106 agreement. She has acted for developers challenging requested contributions and for local planning authorities defending requests. She has appeared at affordable housing appeals under s. 106BC Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and is experienced in the arbitration process to determine disputes arising under s.106 agreements. She was junior to Richard Kimblin KC in a leading case on reg. 122 (as well as the scope of the duty under s.38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004): R (on the application of Hampton Bishop PC) v Herefordshire Council  EWCA Civ 878.
Nina regularly advises on these matters at all stages from application to enforcement. Work includes: (i) a s. 174 inquiry concerning wind farm development; (ii) a s.174 inquiry successfully alleging that an enforcement notice against an alleged change of use was invalid; (iii) a s.195 appeal against the refusal of a CLEUD in respect of a householder extension; (iv) successfully acting for local planning authorities at appeals on the basis of alleged breaches of planning control. She has extensive experience relating to agriculture and office to resi conversion applications. She appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State in Greenwood v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 2975 (Admin) (breaches of conditions precedent). She successfully argued a third party claimant did not have locus standi to challenge an Inspector’s enforcement decision by way of judicial review in R (Zafar) v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities  EWHC 2154 (Admin).
Nina regularly advises on a wide range of heritage issues. She has successfully appeared at a number of planning inquiries where a main issue has been the heritage impact of the development and has experience with applications for listed buildings consent, the determination of optimum viable use, applications for enabling development, and injunctions under s.44A of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. She appeared for the Claimant in R (on the application of Fulford Parish Council) v City of York Council  EWHC 3924 (Admin), a case concerning the location of the Battle of Fulford (led by Ian Dove QC), and in the Court of Appeal in a leading case on the setting of heritage assets: Steer v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 1697.
Nina has experience of s.215 notices, has appeared before the Upper Tribunal in relation to compensation under the TPO regime, and regularly advises in relation to advertisements and restrictions applying to development in the Green Belt.