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Sebastian A. Charles

Fax +44.(0)20.7648.9001
Mr. Charles focuses on planning and environmental law.

Land Use Planning and Zoning
He has advised diverse clients in the energy, waste, manufacturing, health, hotel, education, leisure, retail, residential and commercial development sectors, on planning issues such as established uses, enforcement and a wide range of development proposals.

His work has included the drafting and negotiation of planning agreements relating to issues such as affordable housing, enabling development, highway improvements, public transport provision, green transport plans, provision of amenities and/or open space including commuted sums for their future maintenance, phasing of development and treatment of listed buildings. He has advised on many schemes involving environmental impact assessment. His contentious work includes enforcement matters, compulsory purchase and legal challenges to the grant of planning permission/judicial review.

He has been involved in representations at public inquiries into local plans, mineral local plans and planning appeals and high court proceedings. He has in depth knowledge of highways law, the law relating to compulsory purchase, and heritage issues. He also has wide experience of property, corporate and banking transactions requiring the resolution of planning and environmental issues.

Working with several clients he has developed sophisticated approaches to deal with the viability challenge associated with the delivery of affordable housing. He is currently advising on office to residential permitted development.

Environment and Natural Resources
Mr. Charles has advised on a range of environmental issues including power project consents, transfer of waste management licenses, the acquisition and redevelopment of contaminated and potentially contaminated land and the appointment of environmental consultants. He has been involved in numerous due diligence exercises, and the negotiation of environmental warranties and indemnities in corporate transactions. He has advised on environmental insurance. He advises on sustainability issues including Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and greenhouse gas reporting for quoted UK companies.

Professional Background

Mr. Charles qualified as a lawyer in 1995 and joined the firm in 2003.  He was made a partner in 2005.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • The Law Society of England & Wales - Planning and Environmental Committee (Member) 
  • Law Society's Planning Panel (Member) 
  • United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (Member) 
  • City of London Law Society - Planning and Environmental sub-committee (Member) 
  • Royal Town Planning Institute (Legal Associate)

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Charles speaks frequently at seminars and conferences on planning and environmental issues, topics have included: sustainability in real estate; waste to energy; shale gas opportunities, environmental assessment; infrastructure financing through the planning system, viability tested planning obligations; ozone depleting substances; the solvent emissions directive; and the European environmental liability directive.


  • Environmental Law - Planning (EIA and Habitats Directive). LexisNexis Webinar, originally presented on 17th September 2014.

Additional Information


  • Latest Community Infrastructure Levy Amendment Regulations come into force, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 26 February 2014 
  • Overriding Interest, Real Estate Newsletter, February 2014 
  • STOP PRESS: Permitted Development Rights - Change of Use from Office to Residential, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 7 February 2014 
  • Permitted Development Rights - Change of Use, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 3 February 2014 
  • UK Shale Gas - the next instalment, Real Estate Land Use Planning and Zoning Alert, 30 October 2013 
  • Greenhouse Gas Reporting for UK Quoted Companies, Environmental, Land and Natural Resources Alert, 22 August 2013 
  • UK Shale Gas-Planning Practice Guidance for Onshore Oil and Gas, Real Estate Land Use Planning and Zoning Alert, 31 July 2013 
  • The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 Part 5 - Streamlining Heritage Planning in England, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning alert, 18 June 2013 
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel - Consultation on Reform of Rights to Light in England and Wales, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 9 May 2013 
  • Community Infrastructure Levy: More Changes Proposed, Real Estate Land Use, Planning & Zoning Alert, April 19, 2013 
  • United Kingdom Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil - New Hydraulic Fracturing Controls, Environmental, Land and Natural Resources Alert, 20 December 2012 
  • Community Infrastructure Levy: Some Good News for Developers, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 11 December 2012 
  • New National Planning Policy Framework for England, Real Estate Alert, April 13, 2012 
  • Contaminated Land: Cleaning up the Statutory Guidance in England, Environmental, Land and Natural Resources Alert, April 10, 2012 
  • UK Land Remediation Relief - Spared the Axe, Real Estate Land use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 6 February 2012 
  • The United Kingdom's Localism Act 2011, Global Government Solutions® 2012: Annual Outlook, January 2012 
  • Commercial and Financial Implications of the Green Agenda - Why Green Matters, 27 September 2011 
  • Global Government Solutions 2011 Annual Outlook: Localism in the UK?, K&L Gates Publication, January 2011 
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme - Important Update, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, 26 October 2010 
  • Global Government Solutions 2010: Mid-Year Outlook, K&L Gates Publication, July 2010 
  • End of Twin Tracking?, Real Estate land Use, Planning and Zoning Alert, September 2, 2009 
  • National Policy Statements, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning, August 25, 2009 
  • Simplifying the development plan process?, Real Estate Land Use, Planning and Zoning, August 14, 2009 
  • Changing the planning appeal procedure - Can you still choose the method of appeal?, Real Estate land Use, Planning and Zoning, August 7, 2009 
  • Possible Extensions of Existing Planning Permissions, Real Estate Land use, Planning and Zoning, July 22, 2009 
  • Projects Bulletin, K&L Gates Newsletter, Summer 2008 
  • UK Carbon Reduction Commitment, September 2007 
  • Projects Bulletin Autumn 2007, K&L Gates Publication, Autumn 2007 
  • New Powers put the Mayor in charge of Planning for Waste Management Facilities in London, December 2006 
  • Upgraded planning powers for the Mayor of London Alert, K&LNG Publication, November 2006 
  • Outdoor Advertising - New Laws, K&LNG Publication, October 2006 
  • Projects Bulletin Autumn 2006, K&LNG Publication, Autumn 2006 
  • Government publishes new Circular and Guidance on EIA for Consultation, October 2006 
  • Projects Bulletin Autumn 2006, K&LNG Publication, Autumn 2006  
  • 'Planning volume', Encyclopedia of Forms and Precedents, 2002 to 2007.
  • Butterworths Planning Law Service, (Contributor), 1997-2003.
  • 'Hazardous substances' chapter, "Environment" volume, Encyclopedia of Forms and Precedents 1999.
  • Various articles on subjects as diverse as the planning aspects of hotel acquisitions, judicial review insurance and waste PPP/PFI.
  • Advising a US corporation on disposal of UK industrial properties including commissioning pre-sale remediation and advice on environmental insurance
  • Acting for the local planning authority on a complex planning obligation for a 3,800 unit residential development including heritage, habitat, highways, education, community use, sports provisions and CIL issues
  • Advising on planning issues for a high value residential purchase by a foreign buyer
  • Advising a US purchaser of a global industrial business on UK legacy environmental issues
  • Advising a London borough on a proposed football stadium, and 900 units of enabling residential development
  • Advising several developers on proposed office to residential permitted development schemes
  • Advising a residential developer on a scheme including enabling works to church buildings and church key worker affordable housing
  • Advising on planning issues for an inward investor purchasing private rented residential schemes
  • Advising on a retirement living scheme in a rural location
  • Advising a bank on proposed purchase and leaseback of wholesale warehouses (planning and environmental issues)
  • Advising Aberdeen Property Investors on forward purchase of a “dark store” for Tesco.com
  • Advising on the purchase of a retail park adjacent to Cardiff City Football Stadium
  • Advising on a green belt enforcement matter
  • Challenge in the High Court under Section 288 of an inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for residential development
  • Contested hearing into a village green application on behalf of a racecourse owner
  • Advising on planning issues associated with a Network Rail land swap and sale of partially implemented mixed use scheme in Guildford
  • Enforcement advice in relation to coffee shop premises operating under retail (class A1) planning permission
  • Advice in relation to appeal of refusal of a retail park extension
  • Advising on the carbon reduction commitment energy efficiency scheme (CRC) phases 1 and 2
  • Advising on greenhouse gas reporting obligations for a US listed UK company in the oil exploration sector
  • Advising on enforcement and environmental issues at a boat yard including representations to the Secretary of State as to the necessity of environmental impact assessment
  • Compulsory purchase advice in connection with road scheme and urban regeneration
  • Planning advice and drafting a planning obligation securing a food store consent and dealing with threatened judicial review by competing sites
  • Local plan representations in connection with a hotel and hospitality issues
  • Advising Henderson Retail Warehouse Fund on planning and environmental issues across its retail park portfolio
  • Advising Workspace Group plc on mixed use regeneration sites in London
  • Advising on major office developments and tall buildings in London
  • Advising a waste operator on landfill, landfill gas, materials recycling facility and environmental impact assessment issues
  • Advising on planning and environmental issues in PPP projects in the schools, hospitals, prisons, waste, military, affordable housing and civic buildings sectors
  • Advising on 5000+ residential unit urban extension on the South Coast
  • Public inquiry into refusal of planning permission in 400 unit residential scheme
  • Advising on planning and environmental issues on international, pan European and domestic, M&A transactions in the manufacturing, distribution and services sectors
  • Advice to various lenders on planning and environmental issues in property finance transactions
  • Judicial review of a planning permission for a waste disposal facility
  • Enforcement matter relating to Grade I listed building
  • Advising US corporates on planning, contaminated land and permitting issues at a range of UK manufacturing facilities
  • Urban regeneration in the Thames Gateway
  • Drafting s106 agreements on behalf of London Borough of Hounslow and advising on planning, highways, compulsory purchase and environmental aspects of proposed urban regeneration projects
  • Defence of a judicial review by a commercial competitor of a retail park consent
  • Heritage issues at listed manufacturing complex
  • Securing planning permission for a hotel and racecourse redevelopment at Lingfield Park
  • Advising the National Lottery Charities Board on Compulsory Purchase issues
  • Acting for Laing O'Rourke on planning, highways and environmental issues on operational property and development projects
  • Environmental advice on the disposal of a nuclear submarine facility
  • Environmental due diligence on a nuclear services company by a foreign buyer
  • Successful public inquiry into landraising waste disposal facility
  • Advising institutional real estate investors on compulsory purchase issues
  • Advising on an urban regeneration project procured under competitive dialogue
  • Advising the local planning authority on the proposed expansion of Farnborough Airport
  • Advising on proposed office building near Stansted Airport
  • Due diligence on a large quarrying business
  • Opposing the compulsory purchase of a theatre
  • Public Inquiry into a called-in proposal for a casino and hotel extension at Wolverhampton Racecourse
  • Advising on environmental impact assessment for an energy project in Jordan
  • Advising funder in renewable energy project
  • Advice on the development and acquisition of conventional power stations (coal and gas).