Richard Kimblin QC - Planning & Environment Barrister
Richard Kimblin QC is described in the Legal 500 as a ‘Tier 1’ silk: “An exceptional talent with a formidable intellect.”
Clients often want to know ‘Does [the barrister] have experience of [X]?’. A list of cases explains ‘what’, but not ‘how’. It is the ‘how’ which is the transferable skill. Richard Kimblin’s skill set is in:
- Vigorously and forensically testing and clarifying technically and legally complex issues and resolving them in order to advance the client’s objectives;
- Assimilating and marshalling large amounts of material for inquiries and trials, leading the project team to deliver value;
- Exchanging experience between areas of work: inquiry to court; court to inquiry; one jurisdiction to another, having a very wide range of experience of cases of the most substantial kind and wider significance.
In practice, these skills are deployed, first, in respect of planning appeals and plan examinations in England and Wales, principally in respect of residential schemes of significant size. For example, this has resulted recently in consent for a recovered scheme for 390 dwellings where the main issue was impact on a World Heritage Site (APP/E2734/17/3181320) in which the National Trust’s evidence was rejected. The exchange of experience was from success in the Court of Appeal in key heritage cases such as Save Britain’s Heritage and in Whitby.
Secondly, advice on policy and technical constraints is informed by appearing in the leading cases: Green Belt – Redhill Aerodrome, Turner, Timmins; Habitats – Wealden; MYG; EIA - San Vicente; Mackman, Wye Valley Action Association; S38(6) & NPPF – Hampton Bishop; Barwood Land and Estates; BDW; Daventry DC; Policy issues: Watermead PC (flood risk, ‘restrictive’ policies); Cotswold DC (5YLS); Wealden (AONB); Compensation – Bloor v HCA; DCOs – Gate; Environmental liability – Seiont Anglers; Planning enforcement – Challinor, Allsop.
Thirdly, these skills and experience are deployed across all client sectors, in equal measure. He believes very strongly in truly independent advice and fearless advocacy for any client, whether it is the Government, a developer, council or individual. Before taking silk, he was appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown (London C, B and A Panels), advising on and appearing on many issues and cases which are now leading cases in their area. He regularly appears for strategic land and housing developers at inquiry, EiP and in the Planning Court. He recently appeared for a local authority in a call-in inquiry (APP/K3415/V/17/3174379). He obtained a quashing order for a Parish Council in the Court of Appeal (Watermead) and is instructed by an NGO in a challenge to the NPPF.
All of the following cases were concerned with planning policy and decision making. All were in the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court :
Planning policy and decision making
JS Bloor (Wilmslow) Ltd v Homes & Communities Agency  UKSC 12;  1 All ER 817
R (oao) Watermead Parish Council v Aylesbury Vale DC  in which he appeared for the Claimant in a case dealing with flood risk policy and the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Save Britain’s Heritage v Liverpool CC and Neptune Developments  EWCA Civ 806 – World Heritage Sites; National Planning Practice Guidance; successfully appearing for the interested party, the developer.
BDW v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  – an important Court of Appeal summary and explanation of the practical application of s38(6) Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004
Redhill Aerodrome Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 1386;  JPL 416 – a key Court of Appeal judgment on Green Belt policy, particularly as to very special circumstances
Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  – another key Court of Appeal judgment on Green Belt policy, particularly as to the definition and assessment of ‘openness’
Timmins v Gedling BC  EWCA Civ 10;  2 P&CR 12 – a further key Court of Appeal judgment on the scope of exceptions to inappropriate development; a judgment which has now been acknowledged by amendment to the NPPF to add material changes of use of land to the list at §146.
Daventry District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Gladman Developments  – in which he appeared for the interested party in a case on the weight to be given to policies for the supply of housing land; para 215 NPPF; paras 47 and 49 NPPF.
R(oao) Hampton Bishop Parish Council v Herefordshire Council & Bloor Homes Limited  EWCA Civ 878 – a leading case in the Court of Appeal on the application of Section 38(6) of the 2004 Act in which he appeared for the local authority.
Vicente v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 1555: Local planning authorities; Local plans; Planning inspectors; Planning permission; Procedural irregularity; Unfair conduct
San Vicente v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 3585;  EWHC 2713;  EWCA Civ 817 - procedure in appeals by hearing; amendment of statements of case; civil procedure rules
Distinctive Properties v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  – Tree Replacement Notices, meaning of ‘tree’ – in which he appeared for the Secretary of State at first instance and in the Court of Appeal
Richard Kimblin has long experience of major infrastructure schemes from canals to motorways, including significant DCO work and Parliamentary drafting: Power stations; Wind farms and related infrastructure (onshore & offshore); Gas storage; Minerals schemes including ROMPS, extensions. Eg:
Whitby v Secretary of State for Transport  EWCA Civ 444 – Northern Hub, Transport and Works Act Orders; Ordsall Chord between Manchester Stations; heritage effects;
Mid-Wales - a 27 turbine scheme in the context of conjoined s36 Electricity Act inquiries in respect of 5 sites and related grid connection works. This was the largest and longest such inquiry for many years;
R (oao) Gate v Secretary of State for Transport  EWHC 2973 – the first JR re an NSIP consent; the M6-Heysham link road: development consent orders; highways; nationally significant infrastructure; habitats; protected species; alternatives;
MYG – a DCO in Wales, with a positive recommendation from the Inspector, refusal from the Secretary of State and subsequent judicial review on habitats regulations issues;
Hemswell - the first scheme dismissed on the basis of the WMS on onshore wind;
Dorset wind farm (Silton) - 4 turbines in the setting of an AONB; 4 week inquiry covering significant landscape, cultural heritage, noise and socio-economic evidence (APP/N1215/A/11/2160839);
Dugeon grid connection - onshore 45 km cable route and substation inquiries for 560 MW of renewable energy(APP/Y2620/A/12/2170245) – see also Dudgeon Offshore Wind v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (infrastructure; wind energy; alternatives)  EWHC 861;
FCC Environment v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 2035 (Admin) Error of fact; Local authorities; Planning inspectors; Planning permission; Wind turbines;
R (oao) Holder v Gedling Borough Council  EWCA Civ 599 - material considerations in energy proposals;
Jarrett v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 3642 - onshore wind energy; development plan policies for renewable energy;
R (oao) Webb v Herefordshire Council  EWHC 1850 - onshore wind energy; protected species; EIA
Richard has been instructed in more than 100 environmental and planning prosecutions. He advises on all aspects of litigation in planning, environmental and regulatory contexts. He is also called upon to advise in several niche areas: mines working facilities and support act matters; Part IIA EPA; WIA 1991 infrastructure issues for developers and undertakers. Prior to his call to the bar, Richard researched the use of groundwater storage for London (which is now an operational scheme and the basis of his PhD thesis), undertook EIA work on schemes such as the channel tunnel rail link and did comparative study of domestic European laws for the European Commission.
Friends of the Earth v DEFRA  – neonicitinoids; bees; Commission Regulations on plant protection products;
Seiont etc Anglers v Natural Resources Wales  – Environmental Liability Directive, waste water discharge; appeal to be heard on 25/26 May 2016
Ashdown Forest LLP v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Wealden DC  EWHC 406 (Admin) - lawfulness of development plans affected by SAC/SPA and the uncertainty in assessing those impacts;
Abbottskerswell PC v Teignbrigdge DC & SSCLG  EWHC 4166 (Admin).
Walker and Son (Hauliers) Ltd v Environment Agency Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)  EWCA Crim 100  4 All E.R. 825;  P.T.S.R. 929;  1 Cr. App. R. 30;  Env. L.R. 22;  L.L.R. 625 Criminal law; Environment; Burden of proof; Environmental offences; Environmental permits; Knowledge; Sufficiency of evidence;
R (oao) Gilbert v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 1952 (Admin) Environmental impact assessments; Noise; Precautionary principle; Screening directions;
R (oao) Enstone Society v West Oxon District Council  EWCA Civ 1555 (noise; motor sport; Court of Appeal)
R (oao) Wye Valley Action Group ex p Herefordshire Council  Env LR 18 (polytunnels EIA; Habitats Regulations) ; Court of Appeal  EWCA Civ 20
Allsop v Derbyshire Dales DC  EWHC 3562 Div Court (the first of only two cases on s215 notices)
R (oao) Altunkaynak v Northamptonshire Justices  EWHC 174 (A3 unrestricted permission; breach of EN; abuse of process)
Staffordshire County Council v Challinor & Anr  JPL,. 392 (effect of certificate of lawful use in subsequent enforcement proceedings)
The Interpretation of Planning Policy after Tesco , 9, 1045 – 1052, - Journal of Planning and Environmental Law (Richard Kimblin, Ian Dove QC, Kaitlin Davies)
- Royal Society Western European Fellow
- 2013/15 Chair of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association
- The Planning and Environmental Bar Association
- The Administrative Law Bar Association
- The Compulsory Purchase Association
- The Bar European Group
"A consummate professional, as well as a clear and thoughtful advocate. He has the commerciality that clients require. He is tactically astute and has an outstanding knowledge of this area of law." "Exceedingly thoughtful. He takes a very academic, careful and considered approach to matters."
Chambers UK 2018
"A perfect blend of knowledge and pragmatism. Richard is excellent both in his advice and on his feet." "He is knowledgeable in both planning and environmental law. He has a real attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned."
Chambers UK 2017
'Possibly the best for cross-examination – incredibly polite as he delivers the killer question.' 'An exceptional talent with a towering intellect.'
Legal 500 2017
"He is absolutely brilliant. He has been very helpful in navigating the politics of the planning system from a legal perspective. He goes the extra mile to make sure his advice and its consequences are understood by the client.
"He is an approachable and amiable barrister whose style of advocacy is cool and calm. Technically he is very good and hones in on important details very quickly."
"He is pragmatic, sensible, and gets to the heart of the problem."
Chambers UK 2016
Handles a range of environmental cases, with expertise in matters involving waste, water, energy and infrastructure. In addition to his strong litigation work, he also has a flourishing inquiry and advisory practice. "He's a thoroughly respected barrister who is approachable and amiable. His style of advocacy is cool and calm."
Chambers UK 2015
Enjoys an enviable reputation for his experience in major energy, commercial and residential sector developments. He is praised by sources for his advocacy and his written work, with an impressive reputation for practical and clear-sighted advice. "Great fun to work with. He doesn't get bogged down in the peripheral detail. He sees the issue and he's on it, and he's very good with the clients." "He's razor-sharp. On the ball, to the point and very good in court - he tells you how it is."
Chambers UK 2015
"His scientific background gives him a unique insight into environmental issues"
Legal 500 2014
"He is knowledgeable, but down-to-earth, and an excellent advocate." adding "He is very expert and does a nice job in terms of advocacy. He doesn't bully; he is not bombastic; just straight, clear and down the line, which clients and courts like."
Chamber UK 2014
Richard Kimblin is ‘always available and gives sound practical advice’.
Recommended in planning, environment and energy, stating that Richard Kimblin “continues to go from strength to strength” and has “vast experience”.
Chambers UK 2013
Richard Kimblin is ‘an excellent advocate and can deal with people at all levels’.