COP26 – Springboard for community action (on climate change)

By clairefowler

The Environmental Law Foundation is running a webinar to discuss COP26 on Wednesday 17thJune 2020 at 12pm – 1.30pm.  This event is being hosted by Francis Taylor Building via Zoom.   Participation is free of charge however advance registration will be required with the link below.

This webinar will be led by David Hart QC, with Kirsty Schneeberger MBE, Ruth Mayne, Gethin Thomas and Ned Westaway.  The webinar will consider the following issues:

While COP26 has been postponed to next year in light of the current covid-19 restrictions, the need for transformative action on climate change is not diminishing. As countries begin to consider their future priorities, we have an opportunity to chart a more climate and environmentally-friendly way of living for the benefit of current and future generations of all species. In the build-up to COP26, this webinar will provide a reminder of what was agreed in Paris in 2015, explore what has happened in the UK since then, and consider how communities can influence environmental decision-making on a number of levels. It will seek to give communities the tools they need and inspire them to take action on climate change.


12.00  Welcome from our Chair David Hart QC

12.05  Outline of what was agreed in Paris Agreement 2015 – Kirsty Schneeberger

What has changed in UK since 2015 (include Declarations of Climate Emergency)

12.20   Climate change and neighbourhood plans – Ruth Mayne

12.35  Climate change and aviation – Gethin Thomas

12.50  Interesting Climate change cases  –  Ned Westaway

13.05  Q&A

13.30  End


Panel biogs

David Hart QC, Chair

David Hart QC is a highly respected and experienced barrister who practices in environmental law, professional negligence, construction and medical law. He has also appeared at a number of major public inquiries. David has particular experience of group actions, in the environmental field (eight group actions alleging odour nuisance, four alleging dust & noise and a petrol contamination claim) and in medical cases. He has been the chairman of ELF since 2016 and is a member of UKELA, a regular speaker at UKELA and the Land Symposium events. He is also the author of the UK Human Rights blog.


Kirsty Schneeberger MBE

Kirsty is CEO of Syncronicity Earth, a conservation funder focusing on global biodiversity and conservation projects. Previously, she was Head of Strategic Partnerships at ClientEarth, worked on the Paris climate process which resulted in the Paris Agreement, coordinated environment and development stakeholder engagement for the Rio +20 summit, and led the youth engagement programme for the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. Kirsty is the Chair of the UK Environmental Law Association, a Trustee of ELF and a former ELF intern. She was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her service to environmental conservation.


Ruth Mayne ELF community member

Ruth Mayne is a member of North Hinksey Neighbourhood  Development plan’s Working Group on sustainability standards and was also a Parish Councillor. She has worked for many years in the international development sector as a researcher, policy adviser and advocate and programme manager. She currently works as senior lead researcher at Oxfam GB .  She is  co-founder of Low Carbon West Oxford, an award winner local charity.


Gethin Thomas

Gethin Thomas is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers. He has a broad practice, encompassing environment, planning and public law. Gethin is ranked as one of the ‘Highest Rated Planning Juniors Under 35’ by Planning Magazine (2020). He is a contributing editor of the Environmental Law Bulletin (published by Sweet & Maxwell). Gethin’s recent environmental instructions include acting as junior counsel, on behalf of Natural Resources Wales, in a successful 4 week inquiry concerning proposed byelaws to protect salmon and sea trout stocks in Wales. Gethin has assisted ELF on numerous occasions in relation to our ongoing work with a community involved in the Manston Airport DCO.


Ned Westaway

Ned is a highly regarded barrister at Francis Taylor Building, consistently rated as a leading junior by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 in environmental law, planning law and agriculture & rural affairs. He regularly appears in the senior courts and at public inquiries in planning, environmental and highways matters. Ned is on the Attorney General’s B Panel of London counsel.  He is a Trustee and Vice Chair of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and is standing counsel for the Campaign for National Parks. Ned regularly undertakes pro bono work for ELF and is a former ELF intern.