Freeths’ Penny Simpson named in the 2023 Power List

Penny Simpson given top accolade as one of the most influential environmental professionals in the UK.

Penny Simpson, who leads the Environmental Law team at national law firm Freeths, has been named in

The ENDS Report Power List as one of the 100 UK environmental professionals who have made the greatest impact in the past two years.

The annual list includes individuals who have shaped or influenced national or local environmental policy, enhanced the reputation of the environmental profession, or unsung heroes whose work is delivering positive change.

Penny was nominated for the accolade following her landmark environmental case win in Harris vs Environment Agency. Leading on the case for her clients, husband and wife campaigners Mr and Mrs Harris, the High Court ruled that key European nature conservation laws remain enforceable against the Environment Agency (and by implication other public bodies), despite the UK having left the European Union.

John May, Managing Partner of Freeths Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds, said: “Penny has built an incredible Environmental Law practice at Freeths which is leading the way for many other areas in the firm. She is one the UK’s most respected lawyers for habitats, species, wildlife and the natural environment and the team she has built covers all aspects of environmental regulation from contamination to waste to water pollution as well as natural environmental law. The Environmental Law team sits alongside our fantastic Planning practice which covers planning law, planning consultancy and planning advocacy. This is a well-deserved honour, and Penny is an inspiration to the firm.”Penny has also been named as The Times’ Lawyer of the Week and is highly regarded across the industry.

Nominees praised Penny: “Simpson was “instrumental” in the creation of the first District Level Licensing scheme for Great Crested Newts, and is regularly consulted by DEFRA and Natural England on proposed changes to nature conservation law in the UK," it said.“Penny Simpson is a doyenne of environmental law in the UK … an invaluable fount of knowledge for the ecology sector,” another read.“Her years spent advising on ecological mitigation is now coming to bear fruit and she is at the leading edge of legal advisors who are shaping the biodiversity net gain framework,” according to another.

This is the second time Freeths’ Environmental Law Team has been named in the Power List, with associate Helen Mitcheson appearing in the celebrated list in 2022.


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