Environment & Planning

Our Environment & Planning Group excels in applying technical and commercial thinking to this extensive, complex and increasingly regulated area.

Increased 'producer responsibility' as the basis for waste legislation, increased public participation in environmental decision-making, strategic planning for environmental protection by State agencies, increased penalties and supervisory powers and the beginnings of a real interface between economics and environmental protection all make Environment & Planning a critical practice area.

Our areas of expertise Include:

  • Pollution Control Licensing for industry
  • Specialist advice on Contaminated Land issues
  • Waste Management Law and Policy
  • The EU Emissions Trading Scheme and other Climate Change Controls
  • Strategic Infrastructure Controls
  • Planning and Development law: including the complex of legal and procedural rules around applications for planning consent; enforcement by planning authorities; and representation at planning oral hearings
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Law

On contentious matters we have a broad range of experience: from prosecutions at local level, to Environment & Planning-related Judicial Review cases. We have acted in some of the most complex and significant regional and national environmental contentions in recent years.

We also provide focused, transaction-oriented environmental legal due diligence support for property and corporate transactions, reflecting William Fry’s reputation as a leader in the area of Mergers & Acquisitions.


Our experience includes advising/representing:

  • Advising BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. on its environmental due diligence and EPA licensing in its acquisition of Pfizer's bulk biologics manufacturing plant for $US48.5m. 
  • Chartered Land, on the “Dublin Central” project. We acted as planning law advisor throughout the site assembly and planning application processes, as well as legal representative during the An Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing into this major City Centre block re-generation.
  • The lead third-party objector during An Bord Pleanala’s oral hearing (September 2008) into the controversial development proposed for the former Jurys-Berkeley Court site in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. The proposal was successfully defeated.
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) on all planning law due diligence related to proposed operation of three of the co-location hospitals as part of the competition run by the Health Services Executive in Ireland.
  • RWE Power, on detailed environmental and planning due diligence surrounding the proposed acquisition of the Viridian power plants in Dublin.
  • IKEA International, on general planning advice arising from the grant of planning permission for the development of its first store in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Tesco Ireland, in relation to its ongoing programme of supermarket acquisition and development throughout Ireland.
  • Louth County Council, in relation to the preparation of its statutory scheme under the Planning Acts for recouping over €156m in capital infrastructure costs through development levies for the “North Drogheda Environs” scheme.
  • ConocoPhillips, on enforcing various environmental warranties after the acquisition of the Whitegate oil refinery from the Irish Government.

COVID-19: Adapting the Planning and Building Control Systems

The Government's second Covid-19-related Bill, published on 24 March 2020, is the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Bill 2020 (Bill). In it, the Planning and Development system is listed as one of several 'vital public service functions' deemed to have real potential to be seriously compromised by the impacts of COVID-19.

Heating Up? New Energy Efficiency Regulations for Buildings

The Building Regulations (Part L Amendment) 2017, SI No 538/2017 have been published, aiming to improve energy and carbon performance of new buildings, extensions to new buildings and major renovations

Chop Chop! Plans to Accelerate Delivery of Housing and New Residential Tenant Protections

New legislation introduced to address rental sector issues and increase housing supply

Environment & Planning: Legislation Programme Spring/Summer 2017

Bills currently before the Oireachtas and Bills expected to be published

Airbnb – Are You Breaching the Terms of Your Lease?

A recent English case highlights that even if a lease does not restrict short term letting, permitting Airbnb style short term lettings might breach other lease terms

View all

We are consistently ranked as one of the leading Planning & Environment law firms in Ireland.


  • William Fry is often first choice for ‘high-value, time-critical projects’. The team is advising Fingal County Council in its role as planning authority and environmental impact assessor regarding the application for an extra runway at Dublin Airport. Practice head Conor Linehan is an expert in environment law. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • William Fry’s practice spans financing, planning law and environmental regulation. The team advised Brookfield Renewable Energy Group on planning law and environmental regulation for a wind farm, and also assisted Chartered Land in relation to planning processes for the Dublin Central development. Conor Linehan maintains a solid reputation. Legal 500 EMEA 2016
  • William Fry has ‘unmatched knowledge in the planning and environment field’, with practice head Conor Linehan being highlighted as ‘a go-to adviser for critical projects’. The firm advised Glanpower on its development of four waste-to-energy plants. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
  • William Fry advised Value Retail on the development of its Designer Retail Outlet Centre at Kildare, and also assisted Chartered Land with an environmental impact assessment process as part of its application for consent from the Minister for the Arts for development in Dublin City Centre at the National Monument. Conor Linehan heads the firm’s environment and planning group, and is highly recommended. Legal 500 EMEA 2014
  • ‘Consistently best in class’, William Fry acts for the Environment Protection Agency, Tesco Ireland and the ESB, and is advising the latter on the environmental and project development aspects of its headquarters redevelopment in Dublin. Conor Linehan has ‘a very solid grasp of legislation and how it impacts on businesses’, and ‘leaves no stone unturned’. Legal 500 EMEA 2013


Conor Linehan

  • Conor Linehan is highlighted as ‘a go-to adviser for critical projects’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Conor heads the firm’s environment and planning group, and is highly recommended. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
  • Conor has ‘a very solid grasp of legislation and how it impacts on businesses’, and ‘leaves no stone unturned’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2013

Key Contacts

Conor Linehan Partner

Liam McCabe Partner