Richard Kimblin KC is described in the Legal 500 as a ‘Tier 1’ silk: “An exceptional talent with a formidable intellect.” His 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
He believes very strongly in truly independent advice and fearless advocacy for any client, no matter what their role or interest.
Richard’s environmental and minerals/waste experience and expertise is well known, and is separately summarised in his Enviromental CV.
STRATEGIC SCALE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
During 2020 and early 2021 he has advised and appeared at examination in respect of many strategic sites in the bracket of 2,000 to 10,000 homes, in the urban area, the open countryside and the Green Belt. He has advised and appeared for promoters and local authorities in a wide variety of planning circumstances throughout England, eg: South Oxfordshire, Brentwood, Stockton, Gloucestershire, Guildford, Solihull.
PUBLIC INQUIRIES and HEARINGS
Richard thrives on working with and guiding teams through the strategic, evidential, practical and presentational stages of planning appeals, call-in inquiries and determination of objections to highways and CPO orders. That is why he wrote “Planning Appeals – Practice and Materials” (Bloomsbury 2020) which is an essential practical text for those engaged in planning appeals, hearings and inquiries.
He has accumulated years of inquiry experience ranging from the frequently debated issues in respect of residential schemes to the highly technical and specialist. His work has given rise to many of the key cases on applying s38(6) of the 2004 Act and the presumption in favour of sustainable development (11 NPPF, formerly 14) eg: Gladman Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 104; R (oao) Watermead Parish Council v Aylesbury Vale DC ; BDW v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 
Many cases have included important heritage issues. He is particularly adept at handling noise, environmental and habitats issues. His Habitats Regulations experience includes much of the Wealden litigation and extensive work on phosphates/SAC impacts.
In Green Belt cases he leads inquiries having regard to his appearances in many of the leading Green Belt cases: Redhill Aerodrome, Turner, Timmins, Compton PC.
Current interesting residential appeals and call-ins include redevelopment of heritage assets in the open countryside in Oxfordshire and in the Metropolitan Green Belt and issues arising from hazardous substance consent consultation zones on the Wirral.
Before taking silk, he was appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown (London C, B and A Panels), appearing in many issues and in cases which are now leading cases in their area. Over thirty of his appearances have been in the Court of Appeal. He is presently instructed: on behalf of an interested party on housing requirement issues; on behalf of HS2 in the Court of Appeal’s consideration of injunctive relief against persons unknown; nutrient/SAC issues; Water Framework Regulations issues.
INFRASTRUCTURE, HIGHWAYS AND ENERGY
Richard has long experience of infrastructure schemes promoted through planning applications, specific statutory schemes such as the Electricity and Highways Acts and DCOs, including appearing in the year-long Mid-Wales windfarm inquiries: M42 Jnc 14; Mynydd y Gwynt DCO; Lancaster/Heysham – the first JR of a DCO; Dudgeon offshore grid connection; Ordsall Chord – light rail scheme for Manchester with associated heritage issues; the East-West Rail public inquiry; and a couple of canals.
Minerals and Waste
Richard’s minerals work is predominantly in advising and appearing at inquiry for contentious schemes. This is accompanied by complex advisory work on ROMPs, highways, EIA, and Mines Working Facilities and Support Act cases (MWFSA). Many of his cases have been concerned with National Parks. He has advised and appeared at public inquiry in respect of EfW and landfill cases where the issues have been Green Belt impacts, odour, air quality and need.
His work has included the full spectrum of minerals proposals: hard rock; sand and gravel; chalk; cement; high PSV sites; solution mining; precious metal; polyhalite; energy minerals including coal, fracking, onshore oil and gas, offshore gas; gas storage.
He is presently instructed in public inquiries in England and Wales where the issues include highways impacts, blasting, noise and air quality.
In the High Court, he has brought and defended judicial reviews in minerals cases and in presently instructed to challenge a minerals decision of North Yorkshire County Council, for which permission to proceed has been granted. He was instructed to obtain a rare order under the MWFSA: Re York Potash Ltd  EWHC 3114 (Ch) and has advised over many years in this particular niche of minerals work.
Ranked as a Tier 1 Silk in Planning and Environment.
Legal 500 2023 - Planning and Environment
“He’s absolutely top-class and is one of the best planning silks, not just in terms of his advocacy but also case management and strategy.” “He is a very clear thinker, gives sound advice and is a fantastic advocate.”
Chambers UK 2022 - Planning
“He is an exceptional talent and he is in a league of his own. He always gets to the heart of a matter quickly and delivers concise reasoned opinions and advice.” “In terms of a QC who I would want for any knotty areas of law, I would think of him immediately to unpick and explain them succinctly.”
Chambers UK 2022 - Environment
“An extremely clever advocate with a very succinct academic style.” “A thoughtful advocate.”
Chambers UK 2021 - Planning
“He is a very focused advocate and very committed to his clients.” “He is approachable and he really looks after the client and he takes time to understand them.”
Chambers UK 2021 - Environment
“A well-rounded and commercially astute barrister.”
Legal 500 2021 - Planning and Environment
“Razor-sharp mind.” “An excellent advocate.” “He is measured and calm and his opinions are well thought out.”
Chambers UK 2020 - Planning
“He is a go-to silk – absolutely first class.” “His work in the courtroom is fantastic, but it is his work outside the courtroom that makes him one of the best – it is his attention to detail and the fact that he always keeps an eye on how to achieve the overall result.”
Chambers UK 2020 - Environment
Planning Policy and Decision Making
He has appeared in many of the leading cases which clarify and define important planning policy areas, and indeed the principal decision making framework. Some of those are:
Gladman Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 104
Gladman Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 2001
Appropriate assessment; People over Wind; meaning of policy in the Framework cf policy intention
Friends of the Earth Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 518
Strategic environmental assessment; National Planning Policy Framework
Central Bedfordshire Council v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government  EWHC 2077
Maximum Networks Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 1933
What is a valid application and appeal, and what is the discretion which PINS enjoys in determining validity?
R (Holder) Gedling BC  EWCA Civ 214
Onshore wind - the meaning of national policy on acceptability.
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 and 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 s.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 and 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
A recent and novel case is:
Re York Potash Ltd  EWHC 3114 (Ch)
Application under the Mines Working Facilities and Support Act 1966 - a novel application, securing subsurface rights in connection with the winning of potash
In terms of CPO Compensation;
JS Bloor (Wilmslow) Ltd v Homes and Communities Agency  UKSC 12;  1 All ER 817
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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and Anr  JPL,. 392 (effect of certificate of lawful use in subsequent enforcement proceedings)
Royal Society Western European Fellow
Publications and Podcasts
Richard is the author of “Planning Appeals – Practice and Materials” (Bloomsbury 2020) which is an essential practical text for those engaged in Planning Appeals, Hearings and Inquiries. Richard also hosts the regular “Planning Podcast”.
The Interpretation of Planning Policy after Tesco , 9, 1045 – 1052, - Journal of Planning and Environmental Law (Richard Kimblin KC, Ian Dove KC, Kaitlin Davies)