Thomas Hill KC

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

He puts all his energy into a case, absorbing vast amounts of detail quickly and providing succinct advice.
Legal 500 2016

His advice is always of excellent quality, and he is a seasoned advocate.
Legal 500 2015

Thomas Hill KC has more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of planning, environmental, compulsory purchase and related administrative law. He is regularly instructed at public inquiries and in the High Court, acting for a wide variety of developers, local authorities and third party clients.

His practice has for many years encompassed advocacy and advisory work in relation to major infrastructure – with particular emphasis on the airport (runway and terminal expansion ), port (container port proposals, HROs and harbour dues litigation) and energy sectors (biofuels, EfW, wind and solar energy). He is also very familiar with the full range of issues relating to residential development (including both bringing forward strategic greenfield sites and complex brownfield redevelopment opportunities).

Work of note includes appeal and advisory work for several UK airports, for Birmingham City Council on its Development Plan, numerous section 78 appeals for residential developers and housing associations, as well as appeal and advisory work for many private individuals, with particular emphasis on projects with complex design issues in London.

Tom has, for many years, been recognised as a Leading Silk for Planning work by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.

Planning, Environment & Property

“A smooth and precise advocate.” “Clients are very at ease with him.” Chambers & partners (2015)

Urban Regeneration

Having appeared at various times for 7 of the former Urban Development Corporations, Tom Hill’s practice has from its earliest days embraced advisory and inquiry work involving regeneration proposals across the country. He has promoted schemes in Teesside, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and most recently a variety of mixed use proposals in East London. This work has also frequently involved the use of compulsory purchase powers. He is advising Birmingham City Council on its Core Strategy.


He has acted for most of the national house builders including Taylor Wimpey, Bryant, Persimmon, Berkeley, Barratt and Bellway and also for some of UK’s leading Housing Associations, including London and Quadrant, Family Mosaic and Notting Hill. He is familiar with the presentation of cases both at section 77/78 inquires and in a development plan context. He is very familiar with the range of issues which arise in relation to brownfield development sites and has extensive experience of public inquiry work involving mixed use schemes and complex design issues. He also has extensive experience of affordable housing issues, operation of the Three Dragons Toolkit in London and of the evidential issues which can arise in relation to scheme viability.

Minerals / Waste

Tom Hill has promoted and objected to minerals and waste local plans and appeared at many inquiries into significant minerals and waste development (including 10 separate instructions involving high temperature incineration).

He also receives frequent instructions in relation to environmental law matters and compulsory purchase and compensation.


Energy has been a consistent feature of Tom Hill’s practice for many years, since he appeared for Teesside Development Corporation at the inquiry into the routeing of new 400 kV overhead power lines through Teesside and North Yorkshire.

He is fully conversant with relevant EU and national law and policy in relation to renewable energy and with practical issues such as those which arise in relation to Energy from Waste and Combined Heat and Power proposals.

He has successfully promoted renewable energy plants at appeal, including the Avonmouth Bio fuel Plant and a Biomass Plant at Port Talbot.

Recently he has appeared at a number of inquiries into wind energy proposals in the North East, including the major conjoined inquiry into the Green Rigg, Ray and Steadings wind farm proposals in Northumberland. He is familiar with applications under both planning legislation and section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. He has developed particular expertise in cases involving the impacts of wind turbine development on aviation interests, in particular impacts on primary surveillance radar.

Last year, he chaired a seminar organised by GL Hearn in London and featuring many industry leaders, which explored current issues in “Promoting Energy Development”, including the forthcoming suite of national policy statements. Since their initial publication and subsequent revision, he has lectured on the draft Energy NPSs.



He successfully promoted the Second Runway at Manchester Airport and he continues to advise MA Group on a variety of matters at Manchester, East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth Airports. He has also represented Newcastle Airport and the owners of Birmingham Airport at major inquiries and is fully conversant with development and airspace issues at London and regional airports.

He led the successful High Court challenge to the proposals for Stansted and Luton Airports in the Government’s Air Transport White Paper. Subsequently, he appeared for the County and District Councils at the inquiry into the “G1” expansion of Stansted on its existing runway and was instructed by the same Councils (with two juniors from 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square) to oppose BAA’s proposed Second Runway at Stansted, the application for which was eventually withdrawn.


He has appeared at all three of the most recent major container port inquiries: Dibden Terminal (for objectors), London Gateway/Shellhaven and Bathside Bay (both for the Environment Agency) and is familiar with Transport and Works Act Orders and ancillary orders supporting such development. He has also appeared for and advised numerous port and harbour authorities across the country on a variety of development and regulatory issues. He has acted for Langstone Harbour Board and successfully defended its review of harbour dues at the first public inquiry to be held into an appeal pursuant to section 31 of the Harbours Act 1964. He is now advising Dover Harbour Board in relation to similar issues.

Aviation & Aerospace

Thomas  Hill QC has been advising on all aspects of airport related development for over 25 years. He is the only practising Member of the Bar of England and Wales to have advised on the promotion of a new full length runway in the UK from inception to completion  (Manchester Airport’s Second Runway).


Chambers & Partners, 2014:
Recommended junior in Planning Law: “He has the element of passion needed to excel in the planning world. His ability to see the wood for the trees makes him ideal for inquiry work” (2007) , “very astute and incisive advocate who argues clients’ cases effectively” (2008), “charming, tough and highly effective opponent, [He has} a winning style which chimes well with inspectors (2009), “strong legal expertise and skill for detailed analysis” (2010) and “articulate, intelligent and hard-working” (2011); “is good on the strategy side, wins the client’s confidence from the off” and “operates well under difficult circumstances.” (2012); ” trusted on all planning-related matters, and clients appreciate his precision, success rate and good sense of humour .” (2013) Environmental Law: “a strong and pragmatic advocate” (2008), “Urbane, authoritative and a strong cross-examiner” (2009) , “a solid awareness of clients’ needs, an ability to set out advice cogently, persuasively and authoritatively and a refreshingly relaxed working style” (2010) and “focused approach and concise advocacy ” (2011), a “renowned expert in airport-related work” (2012).”Accessible and friendly, he is extremely personable and has a good eye for detail.” “I was impressed by his detailed approach and analysis – he was well prepared.” (2014) “He is thorough, reassuring, careful and measured” (2016) “The quality of his advice and the way he conducted himself on our behalf was very professional. He has such a clear understanding of this area of the law.” (2017) “He has a special expertise in the area of renewable energy development as well as aviation matters.” (2017)

Legal 500:
Recommended silk in Planning Law: “His advice is always of excellent quality, and he is a seasoned advocate.” (2015) “can hold his own in any forum against any counterpart and has an astonishing ability to get to the rub of matters very quickly” (2010) :‘ trusted on all planning matters’ and is recommended for his ‘success rate and good humour.’: Environmental Law.

Legal Experts, 2012:
Leading expert in Environmental and Planning Law.

Legal Experts, 2012:
Leading expert in Environmental and Planning Law.

Planning Magazine
Planning Law Survey 2012, top rated silk

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