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Former head of legal at Natural England joins Freeths

The former Head of Legal Services at Natural England, Richard Broadbent, has joined the Environmental Law Team at Freeths as a Legal Director.

The law firm said the move would strengthen its national “natural environmental law” practice, which covers topics such as protected species licensing, protected habitats assessments, protected habitat designations, Biodiversity Net Gain, water resource regulation, andenvironmental impact assessment.

Broadbent will be available to advise clients in all aspects of natural environmental law, whether infrastructure or housing developers, mineral operators, planning authorities, other public sector organisations and charities. “He will have particular insights into the workings of Natural England. He will also help develop and deliver our popular environmental law training courses.”

Broadbent joins Freeths as a Legal Director with its Sheffield Environmental Law Team but will be based out of the firm’s Bristol office, under its new agile working policy.

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He spent more than a decade at Natural England and was appointed Head of Legal Services in 2017. He has recently been leading on Natural England’s litigation and enforcement cases and providing advice to Natural England’s teams on the emergence of the Environment Act 2021.

Broadbent has worked on a number of high-profile nationally significant infrastructure, planning, and species licencing cases, Freeths said. These include nuclear power stations, offshore windfarms, port developments and HS2.

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