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Stephen Tromans KC

Year of call: 1999

Silk: 2009

"If you need advice on an area of nuclear law you instruct him. Stephen is extremely knowledgeable and has genuine sector expertise which is invaluable." "He is very easy to talk to and discuss ideas with, and he has a very measured but very experienced manner so clients get a lot of confidence from his advice." Chambers and Partners 2021

Stephen Tromans QC is an outstanding name in the environmental and planning spheres, who brings these skills to the energy sector. He is also known for his pre-eminent expertise in legal matters pertaining specifically to nuclear energy. 

Stephen continues to be a pre-eminent name in environmental and energy law. He has deep experience and knowledge of most aspects of environmental law, gained over almost 40 years in the field, and has been involved in some of the leading cases in areas such as waste, water rights, nuisance and nuclear law. His practice particularly focuses on nuclear law, renewable energy, environmental assessment, biodiversity and habitats, and major infrastructure projects. His practice is complemented by his authorship of three leading textbooks and his membership of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, which advises the UK government on the management of higher activity wastes.

Areas of expertise

Nuclear Law

Stephen is the author of the leading textbook on Nuclear Law. He has acted and advised on most aspects of the subject. This includes advising on the promotion of schemes for new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point C, Sizewell B and Wylfa. He has also advised government agencies and departments – the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy, the Ministry of Defence, and the Environment Agency – as well as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. As well as his legal expertise he brings a sound knowledge of the nuclear industry and its technologies, and the commercial background. He has a strong interest in emergent nuclear technologies such as small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors.

Energy and Natural Resources

Stephen works extensively in the field of energy and natural resources. His experience includes oil, gas and coal, as well as waste-derived energy and fuels, but increasingly it focuses on renewable energy. This includes in particular work on biofuels and solar projects, including some very large solar schemes. His work also includes advice on incentive schemes such as the renewables obligation, and on carbon taxes. In addition, he has worked on matters involving the interface between commercial law and regulation, in litigation on contracts for energy from waste and other related areas.

Environmental Assessment

Stephen has been advising on environmental assessment since 1988 when the first UK legislation on the subject came into force. He is the author of the leading text on Environmental Assessment. He has appeared in numerous cases on the subject including in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.

As well as environmental impact assessment, he is experienced in advising on strategic environmental assessment. He is frequently asked to review environmental statements for major projects to ensure their soundness before submission. Areas with which he is well familiar include major waste projects, waste water, water supply, defence, energy, transport, chemicals and other major industry.

Biodiversity and Habitats

Stephen is very experienced in planning matters with a biodiversity aspect, both involving habitats regulation assessment, and more local wildlife designations. Recent work has included addressing these issues in the context of development consent orders for a nuclear power station and a new rail project. He also acted on a recent inquiry regarding fish deterrent measures at a nuclear power station cooling intake. He advises developers and promoters, environmental NGOs and on occasions local authorities. His work includes finding innovative solutions to issues such as biodiversity offsetting and nutrient neutrality. Habitats and species which he has advised on range from marine mammals through to peatlands and bog habitats.

Water and Waste Water

Stephen covers both clean water supply and waste water. He advises on water rights, water abstraction and transfer schemes and water quality. In terms of waste water, his work includes the provision of sewerage, the treatment of waste water, its discharge, and the treatment and use of sludge.

His clients include many of the major water companies, and also the Canal and River Trust. He has taken cases on water rights to the Supreme Court and has done a number of large inquiries on combined sewer overflows, both in the marine and estuarine environments and into rivers. A specialised aspect of his work is reservoir safety, where he has advised on a number of cases of high-risk reservoirs.

Land Quality and Regeneration

Stephen has been the acknowledged expert on the subject of contaminated land since the regime introduced by the Environment Act 1995. Since then he has been involved in most of the leading cases in the courts and public inquiries on the subject, including the leading cases in the House of Lords and Court of Appeal.

His knowledge is highlighted by his authorship of the leading text on Contaminated Land, published originally in 1992 and now in its 3rd edition. His clients include housebuilders and other developers, local authorities, and the Church Commissioners. Types of sites he has dealt with include old gasworks, landfills, asbestos and other industrial works, and radioactively contaminated land.

Development Consent Orders and Infrastructure

Stephen has considerable experience of promoting major projects, both through the planning system and under the DCO regime. This extends both to advising on applications and supporting documents, and appearing at inquiries and DCO examinations. Recent work includes nuclear power proposals, and rail schemes.


  • “Mr Environment – hugely experienced, approachable and practical, his knowledge is encyclopaedic and he inspires confidence in clients.” The Legal 500, 2022
  • “His experience and knowledge are phenomenal, as is his judgement; he always makes the right call.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “His knowledge of planning matters in the waste sector is without equal.” The Legal 500, 2021