Environment: David Rayner on how sustainability can also save money

David Rayner, Birkett Long

David Rayner, Birkett Long - Credit: Archant

ENVIRONMENTAL regulation – particularly where it affects sustainability and energy efficiency – is becoming increasingly important to many businesses and individuals.

Environmental regulation continues to increase while energy costs continue to rise. It will be only the well-advised businesses that will be able to manage the sustainability agenda while, over the long term, reducing their energy costs.

Historically, environmental law practices concentrated on dealing with the “heavy” or “dirty” environmental topics of contamination, pollution, waste and the environmental permitting regime.

Today, although those aspects remain important, the sector has expanded to embrace the climate change/sustainability/carbon reduction topics, including CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) and the corporate mandatory reporting of carbon emissions.

The spectrum of work involved in this sector ranges from significant contamination and pollution issues to advising landlords and tenants on how best to improve the sustainability and energy efficiency of their premises.

For the team at Birkett Long this has included advice regarding renewable energy systems – to building owners and occupiers as well as system suppliers – advice on nuisance and clean-up aspects following pollution incidents, and even advice to a bank that was looking to lend to a major nuclear fuels re-processing business.

Businesses that manage the sustainability agenda will not only comply with the appropriate regulations but also put themselves in the best position to reduce energy costs which, at a time of economic squeeze, can only be beneficial.

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The best advice is likely to come from a cross-discipline team that is capable of advising not only on traditional environmental matters but also on the sustainability and compliance challenges businesses face today.

Sound practical and commercial advice will keep businesses up to date with developments in this fast moving area, help them address any challenges and assist them in seizing opportunities that are presented.

: : David Rayner is a partner and head of the environment and energy team at Essex law firm Birkett Long.

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