Environmental Law

The combination of South Africa’s unique natural resources and the government’s commitment to fast-tracking the country’s emerging economy has resulted in environmental law and clean energy law becoming progressively more regulated areas.

South African environmental law is continually evolving and now incorporates contemporary principles such as “polluter pays”, “cradle-to-grave” and the “risk averse and cautious” approach. Environmental liability is strict and wide enough to hold companies, parent companies, lenders and even directors and officers responsible for pollution and environmental degradation.

Shepstone & Wylie has one of the oldest environmental law practices in South Africa, which has constantly evolved and matured for over 20 years to meet and exceed the contemporary environmental law needs of our clients.

Our Environmental and Clean Energy lawyers have proven skills and substantial experience in providing environmental law solutions to South African, Trans-African and international clients, in both the public and private sectors.


Awards:

Ranked highly recommended in the PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, (published in the United Kingdom) 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Voted South African Environmental Law Firm of the Year in the Global Law Experts Practice Area Awards 2011.


We provide the following services:

  • Drafting and interpreting environmental legislation
  • Auditing and due diligence studies
  • Advising on environmental aspects of commercial transactions and agreements
  • Advising and reviewing environmental impact assessments
  • Permitting and licensing advice
  • Environmental risk identification and management
  • Contamination and remediation advice
  • Litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
  • Lender liability advice

Specific skills in:

  • Water law
  • Development and planning law
  • Air quality law
  • Forestry law
  • Waste law
  • Coastal zones law
  • Mining law
  • Conservation and biodiversity

Examples of current or recent projects we have advised on (environmental law):

  • R7 billion development of the greenfields International Airport at La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements; environmental dispute resolution on behalf of the Airports Company of South Africa
    The decommissioning of the existing Durban International Airport, KwaZulu-Natal – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements on behalf of the Airports Company of South Africa
  • Development of the Hanglip Golf and Housing Estate, Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements; and environmental dispute resolution on behalf of the developer, True Motives 46 (Pty) Ltd
  • Various greenfields housing and golf estates on behalf of CMAI in the Western Cape, including Kurland and Flaminkvlei
  • Furnaces 5 and 6 installation for African Rainbow Minerals Limited, Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements
  • Development of a Greenfields hydrofluoric plant in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements on behalf of the developer, Alfluourco
  • Decontamination of a mercury recovery plant, Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal – environmental compliance and regulatory requirements on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Various environmental lender liability and general environmental advice to commercial and investment banks in South Africa.
  • Drafting “Green” Environmental Bylaw for the eThekwini Municipality
  • Retained by the KZN Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs to assist with the review of environmental impact assessment appeals (first appointed in 2004).
  • Briefed to draft Air Quality Management Plans Regulations in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act.

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Knowledge and Insights for Environmental Law: