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About Susan Ring

Susan is a solicitor advocate who has worked in environmental law since 1997. Susan represents residents’ groups, parish councils, NGOs, individuals and local planning authorities in planning and environmental judicial reviews, planning inquiries, statutory nuisance and private nuisance claims and licensing matters.

She has fought, and won, many important cases including judicial reviews concerning planning law, environmental impact assessment (“EIA”) protection of the historic environment, village greens, pubs, nature conservation, local parks, nature conservation, public consultation, standards and probity. Susan has brought private nuisance actions on behalf of residents from matters as diverse as noise from wind turbines, dogs barking and smells from manure heaps.

Susan is one of the leading lawyers on EIA issues. Her notable cases have included the landmark R (Barker) v London Borough of Bromley [2006] UKHL 52 in the House of Lords (following a reference by the House of Lords to the European Court of Justice) and R (SAVE Britain’s Heritage) v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2011] EWCA Civ 334 in the Court of Appeal – a victory for SAVE Britain’s Heritage in 2011 that demolition of buildings can be a project subject to the EIA Directive – something the UK Government had been vigorously resisting.

Most recently on EIA, Susan has acted for Neil Garrick-Maidment of The Seahorse Trust challenging the lawfulness of the UK’s transposition of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive to oil & gas exploration/extraction & decisions of Sec State for BEIS & OGA re drilling in Poole Bay. As a result of that case, and the subsequent challenge by Greenpeace to the public consultation for the Scottish Vorlich oil fields (for whom Susan also acted with Kate Harrison), the UK Government accepted that The Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipe-lines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999 (“the 1999 Regulations”) did not fully transpose the EIA Directive 2011/92/EU (“the EIA Directive”), and in particular did not provide for fair and timely access to justice. The UK Government therefore launched a review of the 1999 Regulations and agreed that new Regulations were required – now The Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Unloading and Storage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2020. As a result, the public is now able to access much more easily applications for permission for oil permits such as the controversial Cambo application and to take part in the consultation process and also to identify where oil developers are carrying out works without permission.

Susan has acted in many historic environment matters concerning listed buildings, conservation areas, listed buildings and scheduled monuments and cases including numerous cases for SAVE Britain’s Heritage, most recently on attempts to prevent the demolition of Lime Street heritage assets in the buffer zone of Liverpool’s world heritage site and successfully prevented demolition of the Welsh Streets in Liverpool including most of the street where Ringo Starr was born.

"Very good and she has a high profile." Chambers, 2014

Other recent cases include acting for local residents who successfully challenged by judicial review the decision of Tower Hamlets Council to ‘relocate’ a veteran mulberry tree at the London Chest Hospital and residents in Lewisham fighting harmful development at the Sydenham Hill Estate.

In village greens, she acted for residents in the Supreme Court in R (Barkas) v North Yorkshire CC [2014] UKSC 31 concerning whether local authority land is capable of being registered as a town green under the Commons Act 2006 and won the case of R (Goodman) v SEFRA [2015] EWHC 2576 for local resident Ms Goodman reducing the scope for local authorities to rely on ‘implied’ appropriation and implied permission for recreational use so as to defeat a town green application.

Susan has also acted in many wind turbines cases, two notable cases being R (Holder) v Gedling Borough Council [2014] EWCA Civ 599 in the Court of Appeal on wind turbines and very special circumstances in the green belt and R (Wright) v Forest of Dean District Council [2016] EWHC 1349 reaffirming the fundamental principle of planning law that “planning consent cannot be bought or sold”.

Susan has been acting for the Friends of Finsbury Park in their challenge to Haringey Council’s decision to close the Park for the Wireless Festival, resulting in the closure of large parts of the park for long periods in the summer.

Susan is also acting for the Friends of Finsbury Park in relation to challenging the grant of a licence to the Wireless Festival.

Susan joined Harrison Grant from the Cambridge firm Richard Buxton where she was a partner from 2000 to 2016, having qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Bischoff & Co (later merged with Frere Cholmeley to form Frere Cholmeley Bischoff), a City of London firm, and where she was an assistant solicitor in the Litigation Department until September 1996. She left to pursue her interest in environmental law, and was awarded a Masters of Laws degree in environmental law with merit from SOAS in 1997.

Susan was The Times’ ‘Lawyer of the Week’ in January 2007 and has been named on the list of Women of Influence in Planning 2017 compiled by the Planner, which is the official monthly magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.