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UKELA Annual conference 2020 speaker details



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Charles Banner QC is a leading barrister practising in England & Wales, Northern Ireland and internationally. Much of his work relates to environmental & planning law and related commercial, public and EU law. He is recommended as a leading QC in a total of 8 practice areas in the latest editions Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. He also sits judicially on a part-time basis as a Justice of the Astana International Finance Centre Court, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. He was a Council Member and Trustee of UKELA from 2016 to 2020 and is currently an Independent Member of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (since 2017). He has appeared in many of the leading environmental cases of the last decade including the HS2 litigation in the Supreme Court, the recent environmental challenges to Heathrow Expansion in the Court of Appeal, Newry Chamber of Commerce in the Northern Ireland High Court, Holohan in the CJEU and the joint communication by Leigh Day and the RSPB to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee contending that the application of the Wednesbury standard of review in environmental public law challenges in the UK is non-compliant with Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention.


Richard Benwell is chief executive of Wildlife & Countryside Link. Previously he has been policy adviser to the Secretary of State at Defra, worked on policy and advocacy at WWT and RSPB, and served as a clerk in the House of Commons Commission




Richard Broadbent is the Head of Legal Services, Natural England. Richard holds an LLM in Environmental Law from UCL’s Centre for Law and the Environment and has lectured and written about environmental law and policy since joining Natural England in 2010. Richard has worked on a number of high profile nationally significant infrastructure, planning, and species licencing cases.  Richard currently leads of on litigation and enforcement cases and provides advice to Natural England’s project team assisting Defra on the Environment Bill. In 2013/14 Richard was seconded to the Law Commission to provide assistance on the drafting of its Conservation Covenants Bill. 



Tom Burke is the Chairman of E3G, Third Generation Environmentalism, and a Visiting Professor at both Imperial and University Colleges, London.Amongst his many previous roles Tom has been Environmental Policy Advisor to Rio Tinto plc (part time) 1996 -2016,Senior Advisor to the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change from 2006-12, an environmental advisor (part time) to BP plc from 1997-2001, the statutory advisor to the British Government on biodiversity from 1999-2005.He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97 after serving as Director of the Green Alliance from 1982-1991.He was formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Environmental Bureau 1988-91. He was the Secretary-General of the Bergen 1990 Environment NGO Conference 1988-90. He was a member of the Board of the World Energy Council's Commission 'Energy for Tomorrow's World' 1990-93. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Energy Institute. In 2010 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Society for the Environment. He is a Patron of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association. He is Chairman of the Advisory Council of Earth Capital Partners and a member of the Advisory Board of Glenmont LLP. In 1997, he was appointed CBE for services to the environment. He was awarded Royal Humane Society testimonials on Vellum (1967) and Parchment (1970).


Ginny Butcher graduated from the University of Plymouth last year, coming top of her cohort. Ginny's dissertation, which is the subject of her Speaker's Corner, has been published and has led to a comprehensive research project being undertaking at the university. Ginny is now completing the LLM LPC at the University of Law and hopes to begin a training contract next year. 




Lord Carnwath was a Justice of the UK Supreme Court from April 2012 until his recent retirement in March 2020. Prior to that he was a Lord Justice of Appeal from September 2001, having been a Judge of the High Court, Chancery Division, from 1994. He was Chairman of the Law Commission for England and Wales from February 1999 until July 2002. In July 2004 he was nominated as “Shadow” Senior President of Tribunals, to provide judicial leadership in the reform of the UK Tribunal system. In November 2007 he was appointed as the first statutory Senior President of Tribunals under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Internationally, in 2004 he was a founding member, and first Secretary-General, of the European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment (EUFJE). He has been joint chairman of the judicial advisory committee for the UNEP handbook on environmental law and a member of the UNEP International Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.



Carol Day has an MSc in Nature Conservation and has worked in the environmental sector for 35 years. She has an in-depth knowledge of UK and EU policy through her previous employment with two County Wildlife Trusts and over 20 years with WWF.  She now splits her time working for Leigh Day and the RSPB. Carol’s role in Leigh Day is to support the work of three teams working on planning, wildlife law and energy and climate change. Her current clients include environmental NGOs such as The Wildlife Trusts, ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and the newly formed NGO Wild Justice. Carol’s work for the RSPB is focused on access to environmental justice. She currently chairs the Legal Strategy Group of Wildlife and Countryside Link and coordinates the Joint (UK) Link’s work on access to justice. She is also delighted to have recently become a Trustee of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF).



Kars de Graaf is Professor of Public Law and Sustainability at the Department of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Public Administration, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His research and publications focus on the question how administrative and environmental law instruments can contribute to the transition to a sustainable society. He is chair of the Dutch Association of Environmental Law (VMR), member of the board of the Dutch association of Administrative Law (VAR), an honarary judge at the district court in the North of the Netherlands, editor of the Review of European Administrative Law (REALaw) and of the Dutch Journal of Environmental Law (Tijdschrift voor Omgevingsrecht).




Estelle Dehon is a public law barrister at Cornerstone Barristers. She has particular expertise in climate change matters and advising developers on how to achieve net-zero development. She also represents NGOs and communities opposing fossil-fuel heavy development and has advised XR and others in relation to climate protests. Her broader public law work includes an ongoing challenge to the government over failures to provide Personal Protective Equipment to frontline NHS workers. She is member of UKELA Council and is a trustee of the Women’s Environmental Network.



David Hart QC practises in environmental law, medical law, professional negligence and construction. He has also appeared at a number of major public inquiries. David has particular experience of group actions, in the environmental field (eight group actions alleging odour nuisance, four alleging dust & noise and a petrol contamination claim) and in medical cases. His construction law work has concerned landfill sites, nuclear and other power stations, and Mechanical and Electrical disputes.



Sarah Holmes is a Legal Director at transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, a Chartered Environmentalist and a Chartered Waste Manager with over 30 years' experience in environmental and planning law spanning regulatory compliance, infrastructure consenting, renewable energy, corporate finance, real estate and governance. She has particular experience in advising at the interface of planning and environmental law, particularly on projects involving development consent, environmental permitting, environmental impact assessment and Habitat Regulations assessment. Sarah spearheads a subscription service delivering real time environmental law and a comparison report builder across the four UK jurisdictions.  She is elected to the South West Centre Council of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, is a former trustee of UKELA and was the main organiser of UKELA's first sustainably organised Annual Conference, which was held in Plymouth in 2003.  Sarah sits on the steering board of the Plymouth Area Business Council, which is the economic policy advisory group to the Devon & Plymouth Chamber.  She is a trustee of the China Fleet Trust, chair of a multi-award winning education and environmental charity that operates the Bishop Cornish Education Centre and has been a school governor since 2004.    


Peter Kellett is Director of Legal Services for the Environment Agency for England.  Peter is a solicitor with a science degree and a masters in environmental law. Peter’s work has included: creating the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations; Civil sanctions implementation; Better regulation; the creation of Natural Resources Wales; EU Exit and Transition; Net Zero; and Responsible Sustainable Investment.  He leads a team working across a wide range of operational, regulatory and advisory roles.  Peter is a former trustee and chair of the UK Environmental Law Association 2001- 2011.  Peter then was a trustee and chair of St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol until September 2018. He has contributed to the debate about environmental law, for example, recently for the Journal of Environmental Law “Securing High Levels of Business Compliance with Environmental Laws: What Works and What to Avoid”.



Jason Lowther is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Plymouth.  In addition to environmental law, specifically conservation and the marine environment, his research interests and expertise lie in the law relating to marine heritage. Jason has worked on research projects establishing the National Wildlife Crime Unit and in relation to difficulties in enforcing ‘wildlife crime’ and worked with Historic England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in respect of the effective protection of underwater heritage assets and their scheduling in the British Antarctic Territory respectively.  Outside of work Jason is a trustee of the Wild Futures monkey sanctuary in Looe, Cornwall and, in between niggles, a distinctly average runner.



James MacGregor is an environmental economist with more than 25 years’ experience of using valuation, incentives and policy to enhance sustainability in the global public, private, government, academic, donor and NGO sectors. He focuses on climate change and its impacts and benefits for the Sustainable Development Goals, water, and economic development. He has expertise in decision-making, sustainability leadership, international trade and natural resource management.




Jojo Mehta has degrees from Oxford and London Universities, a background in communication, entrepreneurship and on-the-ground environmental activism, is a natural leader as well as a compelling public speaker and advocate. Alongside barrister and legal pioneer the late Polly Higgins, Jojo co-founded the Stop Ecocide campaign in 2017 to support the establishment of ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court. Since Polly’s death in 2019 she has co-ordinated the growing international team engaged in this highly focused mission and is Chair of the Board of the Stop Ecocide Foundation in the Netherlands, which now manages the campaign. Jojo is key spokeswoman for Stop Ecocide and has contributed to law conferences, environmental summits and climate rallies as well as podcasts, interviews and articles for publications such as the BBC World Service and the New York Times. She was a keynote speaker at the official side event “Investigating and prosecuting ecocide: the current and future role of the ICC” in December 2019, hosted by the Republic of Vanuatu as part of the 18 th Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.



Karen Mignone is an environmental attorney with many years of experience in hazardous waste management and remediation, clean water act compliance, occupational health and safety and environmental compliance and enforcement at the state and federal level.  Shortly after the election in 2016, she realized the landscape of environmental law was about to change radically, and not in a good way, so she left her law firm job to take a position with one of her clients, a UK based startup, Xeros Technology Group.  There she served as the Global Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, working on issues related to ocean microplasitics, corporate health and safety and environmental compliance around the world. She presently serves as Director of Sustainability for Qualus, Inc, a spinoff from Xeros.  Qualus technology reduces water and chemical use in leather tanning, making it more sustainable and cost-effective. She is the Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.  She and her husband, Jeff Miller, live in Mid-coast Maine, where social isolation is a way of life.


Helen Mitcheson is a solicitor in the Planning and Environment Team at Trowers & Hamlins where she specialises in EIA for large offshore infrastructure projects.Prior to qualifying as a solicitor Helen worked as a marine mammal scientist and an environmental consultant, both in the UK and abroad. Helen has an MRes in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St Andrews and an LLM in Environmental Law from Newcastle University.




Warren Percival is a Director at RSK Group and has over sixteen years’ experience in environmental consultancy. Warren previously managed RSKs Northern EHS business, and is now the Group Director responsible for due diligence, ESG and expert witness services to the legal and financial sectors. He is a UKELA Trustee and Assistant Treasurer.




Eunice Pinn is the Marine Environmental Regulation Advisor for Seafish; a UK public body for the Seafood Industry. With over 20 years’ experience in the fields of marine ecology, fisheries and conservation, she has previously held senior positions in both academia and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies. Eunice has a particular interest in the effective application of the law to ensure sustainable fisheries management whilst also sucessfully implementing our environmental commitments. Eunice currently serves on several government groups including Defra’s Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG) and the Productive Seas Evidence Group (PSEG). These groups identify the influence of human activities on biodiversity and the socio-economic use of the marine environment, respectively. Eunice also contributes to the work of CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) and to the European Commission’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). She is an honorary senior lecturer for the University of Aberdeen’s School of Law and a co-convener for UKELA’s Nature Conservation Working Party.


Paul Rose - A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced science expedition leaders, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, Paul is Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions. The Royal Geographical Society has awarded Paul the Ness Award and the Founders Gold Medal.A broadcaster, published author and journalist, Rose presents BBC television programs on current affairs, science and the environment. He is Ambassador for the UN Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Paul was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for ten years and was awarded HM The Queen's Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he was awarded the US Polar Medal. A mountain in Antarctica is named after him.


Kirsty Schneeberger MBE joined UKELA as a student member and soon after that joined Council. She served on Council for 8 years before taking up the position as Chair (including 4 years as Vice Chair).  Kirsty is CEO of Synchronicity Earth, the conservation funder that focuses on funding biodiversity and conservation projects globally. Prior to that she was Head of Strategic Partnerships at ClientEarth and was an advisor to the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC working on the Paris negotiations. She is a trustee of the Environmental Law Foundation and an adviser to the Intergenerational Foundation. She is a keen cyclist and theatre goer and believes in the power of law to bring about positive change for the environment



Ben Stansfield is an environmental lawyer with Gowling WLG, based in London. Ben has a broad environmental practice and advises clients in relation to compliance with complex chemical and product laws, the remediation of contaminated land and water; and the permitting and consenting of infrastructure and industrial processes. Ben has particular expertise in waste matters and corporate disclosure and reporting issues.  Ben is a Trustee of UKELA.



Iain Stewart is professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. His research interests are in communicating geohazards, geo-energy and Earth science for sustainable development. His science communication expertise has been built on a 15 year partnership with BBC television presenting popular natural history documentary programmes, including ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’; ‘Earth: The Climate wars’; ‘How Earth Made Us’, ‘How To Grow A Planet’, ‘Rise of the Continents’ and ‘Planet Oil’. Alongside being awarded an MBE, Iain has received a public service medal from the AAPG and is a UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.



Richard Thompson is a Marine Biologist and one of the world’s foremost experts on plastic pollution. In 2004, he published the first paper describing the long-term accumulation of microscopic fragments of plastic in the environment, naming them ‘microplastics’. He and his team have been at the forefront of microplastics research and have shown their global distribution, the potential for transfer from the gut to the circulatory system, and their role in the transport of chemical contaminants. This pioneering early work was pivotal in recognition of microplastic contamination in policy, such as Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Richard has an extensive track record of collaboration across the disciplines, with an emphasis on identifying ways to use plastics more sustainably. His recent work has guided policy on the release of microplastics from cosmetic products and textiles. His wider research focuses on the ecology of shallow water habitats, including artificial structures. He received the Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation in 2017, an OBE for services to marine science in 2018 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020. His team at the Marine Litter Research Unit won the NERC Impact Award (2018) and based on their work the University of Plymouth received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2020.


Stephen Tromans QC has been involved in environmental law since the early 1980s, as an academic at Cambridge, then as a solicitor, and since 1999 as a barrister.  He was appointed QC in 2009, and practices from 39 Essex Chambers, of which he was joint Head from 2012-2016.  His first article on environmental law, dealing with remedies in the law of nuisance, was published in the Cambridge Law Journal in 1981.  Since then he has authored books on the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Contaminated Land, Nuclear Law, and Environmental Impact Assessment.  He was one of the founders, and a former Chair, of UKELA; a former Chair of the Environmental Law Foundation; has acted as a special adviser to Select Committees in both Houses of Parliament, and to the European Commission.  He is a member of the government’s advisory Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, and provides pro bono help to a number of environmental charities and NGOs, as well as having a wide-ranging practice across many areas of environmental and energy law.


William Upton QC has been recommended as a leading barrister for both environment and planning law in the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Guide and the Legal 500 for many years.  Recent work has ranged from dealing with contaminated aquifers, flood storage areas and defences, habitats and airshows, varied  nuisances, to arguing for a planning condition requiring new housing to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2030. He is a member of the TCPA’s taskforce for the Raynsford Review: Planning 2020. Will is a long term supporter of UKELA, having served on the UKELA Council, convened the Planning and Sustainable Development Working Party, and organised the annual conference in London in 2000. He has also being sitting on the Planning and Transportation Committee of the City of London Corporation as a ward councillor. 6 Pump Court has a weekly environmental blog, available on its website, and has introduced a Covid-19 guidance tracker.



Ned Westaway is a barrister practising at Francis Taylor Building in London; he is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers and Partners for environmental law, planning law and agricultural and rural affairs; he is on Attorney General’s panel of counsel and has an LLM (environmental laws) from UCL.  Ned is also a Vice Chair and trustees of UKELA.




Alison York is a solicitor and Head of Legal in the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. She has over 20 years’ experience practising in environmental law and regulation in the public sector in Scotland. Recent work includes involvement in the development and implementation of SEPA’s new enforcement tools and in the development of the new Integrated Authorisation Framework. She is a UKELA Trustee and is part of the 2020 conference committee.


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