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Home / Expertise / Services / Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration / Development Consent Order Lawyers

Development Consent Order Lawyers

Our specialist team regularly advises and represents public sector and private sector clients seeking to promote or oppose Development Consent Orders for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

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Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration
We have extensive experience acting on economic infrastructure projects across sectors including energy, aviation, roads, rail, and water. Our team boasts a 100% track record of success for our clients seeking Development Consent Orders (DCOs), and has also achieved excellent results for those seeking to oppose or modify major infrastructure projects.

Find out more about some of the nationally significant infrastructure projects we have worked on.

We can assist with projects including:

  • energy projects (eg solar farms, on-shore and off-shore wind farms and carbon capture and storage)
  • transport infrastructure (eg road, rail, airports and sea ports)
  • water infrastructure (eg reservoirs and desalination plants)
  • pipelines, powerlines and pylons
  • waste water projects
  • commercial real estate

We can also advise on all related legal issues such as land assembly and third party rights, as well as cost control, communications and stakeholder engagement.

Find out more about how we can help with promoting a Development Consent Order.

Find out more about how we can help with opposing a Development Consent Order.

Why choose our team for advice on Development Consent Orders?

Development Consent Orders form part of the Planning Act 2008 regime and the process of promoting or opposing a DCO is very intense with stringent procedural requirements and the need for extensive supporting documentation. As these matters are dealt with at a national level, and are decided by Secretaries of State, truly exceptional specialist legal advice and representation is required.

At BDB Pitmans, we are leaders in this field. We were one of the first law firms to specialise in Development Consent Orders and the Planning Act regime and now have the largest specialist team in the UK acting in this area. We have worked with major clients including National Highways, Network Rail, National Grid and Transport for London. Our experience means we understand the process from all angles, so can give you the best chance of achieving your objectives.

Partner Angus Walker has worked almost exclusively on Development Consent Orders since the Planning Act regime came into existence in 2008, as well as advising on related matters including hybrid bills, Transport and Works Act orders, Harbours Act orders and other special consents.

Angus is recognised as one of the leading experts in this complex area of law being twice elected board chair of the National Infrastructure Planning Association and a former member of the Law Society’s Planning and Environmental law Committee.

Angus maintains a blog with over 900 entries and more than 1000 subscribers covering all practice, policy and legal matters related to Development Consent Orders, the Planning Act regime and nationally significant infrastructure projects, which you can read here.

We believe we have the most experienced team in the industry with six partners. Other key team members include Partner Tom Henderson who has worked on some of the largest and most high profile infrastructure projects in the UK. Tom is currently working with National Highways on the country’s largest road project since the M25, the Lower Thames Crossing, as well as leading on major expansion plans for Luton Airport.

Promoting a Development Consent Order

Having worked on many of the UK’s leading infrastructure projects over the years, our Development Consent Order lawyers are well-placed to assist with all stages of promoting a DCO including:

  • preparing and submitting a DCO and all supporting documents
  • advice on any potential legislative implications of a DCO
  • maximising the likelihood of acceptance of DCO applications by the Planning Inspectorate
  • applications for compulsory purchase powers
  • statutory and non-statutory consultations on nationally significant infrastructure projects
  • navigating strict land referencing requirements
  • reviewing and preparing responses to objections to a DCO
  • representation at Planning Inspectorate hearings
  • defending High Court challenges to DCOs (judicial reviews)
  • applying for material amendments to DCOs

Our experience promoting Development Consent Orders

Acting for National Grid to promote Humberside carbon capture pipeline

Our team is working with National Grid to obtain consent for a pipeline network to enable energy-intensive industrial sites throughout the Humber region to capture CO2 which will then be compressed and stored under the Southern North Sea.

This application forms part of the Zero Carbon Humber project which, if successful, could reduce the UK’s annual CO2 emissions by 15% and save the industry an estimated £27.5 billion in carbon taxes by 2040. The project also has the potential to safeguard 55,000 jobs in the region while creating thousands of new skilled jobs

Acting for Able UK on the Able Marine Energy Park

Our team is working with Able UK to implement the DCO we helped obtain for the Able Marine Energy Park, which is a 1300m-long quay to be built in the Humber Estuary to facilitate the construction of offshore renewable energy infrastructure in the North Sea. We have applied for the first ‘material change’ to a DCO to amend the quay design to future-proof it from developments in vessel design.

This project will form a key part of the government’s drive to secure 40 gigawatts of offshore wind electricity generation by 2030.  It was the first DCO to demonstrate imperative reasons of overriding public importance and incorporate extensive habitat compensation proposals.

Acting for National Highways to promote the Lower Thames Crossing

We are working with our client National Highways to obtain a DCO for the Lower Thames Crossing, a new road tunnel under the Thames Estuary to connect the M2 in Kent to the M25 in Essex, east of London. The project is the largest to be promoted by National Highways and will bring significant economic benefits to the region.

Promoting a Development Consent Order for Luton Airport’s second terminal expansion

Our team has been working with London Luton Airport on their application for a Development Consent Order to support the expansion of the airport through a new second terminal.

The expansion is intended to increase the capacity of the airport to 32 million passengers a year and could provide 5,600 jobs on site as well as an estimated 10,400 new jobs in supply chains. This is predicted to bring almost £1.3 billion extra into the local economy.

Promoting Development Consent Order for £500 million Boston Alternative Energy Facility

We are acting for Alternative Use Boston Projects Ltd, the company behind the proposed Boston Alternative Energy Facility. This project is for the development of a new power station which will turn more than a million tonnes of non-recyclable household waste into power without incineration.

 The Boston Alternative Energy Facility will thermally treat the refuse to product gas for electricity generation, with strict controls in place to minimise odour and other environmental concerns. If agreed, the development is anticipated to create 300 jobs and the facility will operate for at least 25 years.

Opposing a Development Consent Order

We act for a range of clients, including local government, public sector bodies, landowners and individuals who wish to oppose or seek amendments to an application under the Planning Act regime. Our expertise includes:

  • raising an objection to a DCO
  • representation at Planning Inspectorate hearings
  • making a High Court challenge to a DCO (judicial review)
  • seeking amendments to a DCO

Our experience opposing Development Consent Orders

Acting for the local authority that will host the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station

We are acting for East Suffolk Council which is where the proposed Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station is to be built. The council is neutral towards the project but we are making sure that if it is given consent the benefits are maximised and the adverse impacts are minimised for those living and working in the area.

Acting for objectors to the Thames Tideway Tunnel

We acted for several objectors to the Thames Tideway Tunnel (landowners and a local authority), the ‘supersewer’ that will run below the River Thames. The project was given consent and is now under construction but we obtained valuable protections for our clients to minimise the effects of construction and operation on them.

Acting for objector to Navitus Bay Wind Park

We acted for a landowner across whose land the onshore cable was planned for this wind farm, proposed for the west of the Isle of Wight. We drafted written objections to land access as well as the main application and appeared at hearings on behalf of our client. The application was ultimately refused by the Secretary of State.

Speak to our Planning Act Regime lawyers about a Development Consent Order

If you are planning a Development Consent Order application or need assistance with opposing or seeking to modify a nationally significant infrastructure project, our experienced team would be happy to advise you.

You can find out more about our Development Consent Order and Planning Act Regime expertise by contacting Angus Walker or Tom Henderson for an initial discussion.

Our Offices

One Bartholomew Close

50/60 Station Road

The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

4 Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE


The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

4 Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE

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