How we help

Our helpline number is 0330 123 0169

All requests for help to ELF are first passed to either our in-house or university-based law clinics. In many cases, a little informal advice is all that is wanted and required. We deal with such enquiries entirely at this level.

In more complex cases, additional help from a specialist lawyer or technical expert may be necessary. When this happens, your enquiry is first prepared for the specialist (this often involves asking you for more information) so that his or her time is used really well.

The specialist will then give up an hour of his or her time – normally charged at hundreds of pounds per hour – without charge. Sometimes, more time is given, but his cannot be guaranteed.

In most cases, the combination of advice from the ELF clinic and pro bono member is at least sufficient to tell you how strong a legal case you have and what you could or should do next.

Will I or my community qualify for help?

We help individuals and communities facing environmental threats and opportunities of a public nature. Typical issues involve air and water quality, noise pollution, threats to wildlife habitat and biodiversity, use of public open spaces and threats to those spaces.

We do not discriminate on the basis of what your view, about your environment, is.

This means, to take two very recent examples, that if your community likes its 100 year-old partially toxic coal slag heap and wants to keep it, or likes a nearby field as it is and doesn’t want it covered with solar panels, we’ll help you to make sure your voice is heard and respected. We are here to promote fair participation and access to justice, not to decide who is right or wrong.

We cannot help:

● If you are a business or local authority

● If you are a private individual and the issue affects only you and is essentially personal (e.g. a house being built beside yours)

We might be able to help:

● If you are a parish council.

● If the issue which mostly affects you, also affects others (e.g. because of loss of important wildlife habitat, open space or significant additional road use).

What does it cost?

Where we agree to help, there is no charge for our services HOWEVER we do ask that all those whom we help either make a donation or join us (currently £35 for individual membership or £50 for community group membership).

Once our free (‘pro bono’) advice has been given, those we help are free, should they wish, to make their own arrangements with the pro bono member who has advised them. Enquire via online form. If you would like to ask us for help, please complete and submit this form.

Your enquiry will be normally considered and replied to within no more than three working days. Please make sure that you include details of any deadlines of which you are aware.Your details will remain confidential. We encourage those with environmental concerns to contact us as early as possible as delay may prevent you from taking legal action or being able to influence the decision making process without recourse to the courts. Enquire by calling our helpline (where someone will talk through the form with you and forward it to one of our clinics)

The ELF Telephone Helpline 0330 123 0169 is open from 8am to 8pm Mondays to Fridays, and 9am to 5pm Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Our Helpline is kindly supported by the Client Services Team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors. The person you speak to will not be able to give immediate advice but will take your details – including information about your environmental concern – and pass them to the most relevant of our law clinics.

We encourage those with environmental concerns to contact us as early as possible as delay may prevent you from taking legal action or being able to influence the decision making process without recourse to the courts.