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 [subject]?’. 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) and NPPF – Friends of the Earth on SEA of NPPF 2019; 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; Environmental liability – Seiont Anglers; Planning enforcement – Challinor, Allsop; DCOs – Gate (highway), Holder (energy), Whitby (rail/heritage).
During 2020 and early 2021 he has advised and appeared at examination in respect of many strategic and development plans in the bracket of 2,000 to 10,000 homes, in the urban area, the open countryside and the Green Belt. In advising on such strategic issues, Richard routinely applies the policy and legal understanding gained from s78 inquiry and court appearances.
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 in 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 was instructed by an NGO in a challenge to the NPPF.
“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 (Planning and Environment)
“A well-rounded and commercially astute barrister.”
Legal 500 2021 (Planning and Environment)
“A clear and thoughtful advocate. He is tactically astute and has an outstanding knowledge of the law.” “Absolutely brilliant. He has a great rapport with judges.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Planning)
“Richard’s style of advocacy is cool and calm. He is technically very good and homes in on the important details very quickly.” “He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning and environmental law, and his advice is always very commercial.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Environment)
“An enigmatic silk, whose technical knowledge and stealthy delivery make him perfect for complex cases.”
Legal 500 2019
“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
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 & 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, Ian Dove QC, Kaitlin Davies)