Contaminated Land Remediation
Ownership or control of a contaminated site potentially attracts significant environmental liabilities. We assist in determining the legal liability and environmental compliance obligations relating to site contamination, remediation and associated clean-up measures.
Our core services include:
- Reviewing Environmental Reports (including desk-top studies, Phase I environmental assessments and Phase II intrusive soil and groundwater investigations).
- Legal advisory services regarding civil and criminal environmental liability.
- Advising industry and developers on the redevelopment of Brownfield sites.
- Achieving compliance with the legal framework.
- Environmental emergency response obligations.
We provide legal advice in connection with business and commercial property transactions, including identifying actual or contingent environmental risks and liabilities involved.
We assist with the following:
- Indemnity agreements in relation to the acquisition, sale and development of Brownfield sites.
- Warranties in contractual agreements and environmental responsibility clauses in loan agreements.
- Advising on environmental liability regarding asset divestment transactions, including the transfer of ownership or control of assets/equipment.
We provide clients with an in-depth knowledge of regulatory requirements applicable to development projects, including:
- Advising on environmental impact assessment processes and procedures as regulated in the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and other environmental laws.
- Advising developers, Preferred Bidders and EPC Contractors participating in the South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
- Representing landowners and developers before local authority planning tribunals and other licensing authorities.
Litigation & Enforcement Action
Our experience in High Court litigation includes defending damages claims, instituting judicial review proceedings, and challenging administrative directives and other administrative decisions. We have represented clients in enforcement actions under the NEMA, the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, the National Water Act, the National Environmental Management: Waste Act and the National Heritage Resources Act.
Matters handled by the firm’s attorneys include:
- Representing a petrochemical industry client regarding environmental and National Energy Regulator approvals for bulk liquid petroleum storage facilities.
- Representing manufacturing and refining facilities in administrative appeals contesting air quality standards under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act.
- Representing the Clifton-On-Sea and Bakoven Bungalow Owners’ Association in litigation concerning the Maiden’s Cove Provincial Heritage Site.
- Filing administrative appeals against section 28 NEMA directives and objections to compliance notices issued in terms of section 31L of NEMA.
- Defending refining and manufacturing facilities in criminal investigations for alleged NEMA contraventions.
The firm’s attorneys have extensive experience in heritage management projects. This includes developing the legal, management and institutional controls for several notable heritage sites.
Our services in this field include:
- Advising Vergelegen and Groot Constantia Wine Estates on the legal and institutional aspects of World Heritage Site status.
- Advising Vergelegen, Boschendal, Spier and Steenberg Wine Estates on heritage management controls.
- Assisting with the declaration of Vergelegen Wine Estate and Elandsberg Farms as Provincial Heritage Sites.
- Advising the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University on heritage management agreements and associated heritage controls for the Universities’ respective campuses.
Our biodiversity-related work includes:
- Advising the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) on the legal and practical aspects of implementing biodiversity offsets.
- Developing a Biodiversity Information Policy Framework for SANBI and advising on access to biodiversity information and associated intellectual property rights.
- Providing legal support to SANBI regarding the implementation of the National Grasslands Biodiversity Programme and the declaration of protected areas in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act.
- Advising CapeNature and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in connection with their respective Biodiversity Stewardship Programmes.
- Advising mining companies, roads agencies and private sector developers on the legal aspects of biodiversity offsets.
- Drafting and negotiating biodiversity offset agreements between developers and regulatory agencies, including advising the Peace Parks Foundation, the WWF and SANParks.
Compliance Audits & Due Diligence
Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) auditing, planning, and compliance assessments demonstrate a commitment to responsible corporate governance and sustainability.
We offer the following compliance-related services:
- Designing and conducting audits in preparation for external ISO certification or regulatory audits.
- Due diligence and inspection of internal environmental policies, practices, and operations.
- Reviewing environmental permits, reports, and operational data.
- Preparing Environmental and Social Management Systems for large-scale renewable energy projects and compliance with International Finance Corporation requirements.