"Extremely practical, persuasive, articulate and popular with the court and clients."

― Leading Junior - Environment and Planning – Legal 500 [2019]
Megan Thomas QC
Call: 1987 | QC: 2021
Direct access

Megan Thomas QC is a popular silk specialising in the fields of planning, environment, highways, judicial review, compulsory purchase, injunctions, town and village greens and other aspects of local government administration.  She undertakes a wide range of advisory work and appearances in the civil and criminal courts, public inquiries, local plan examinations, hearings and tribunals on behalf of anyone in need of expert advice and representation.

High profile cases in which she has recently been instructed include water neutrality, nitrate neutrality, the public safety zone for Burghfield nuclear weapons facility, the legality of parameter plans for strategic housing sites and the emerging Maidstone Local Plan Review.  She is particularly known as a renewables and wind farm barrister and has experience in dealing with large infrastructure projects including gas storage facilities and pipelines.

She is on the Attorney General’s ‘A’ list of Specialist Environment Counsel.  She is also a Consultant Planning Inspector, making decisions on planning appeals.  She is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Bar having appeared in the Court of Appeal and High Court in the British Virgin Islands in relation to development on Beef Island.

Leading Individual

Town & country planning

Megan has advised on and cross examined on most planning-related issues.   She appears at planning inquiries for both public sector and private sector clients and appears in high court planning challenges including judicial review of the grant of permission.  She has done many enforcement inquiries.  Particular topics include

  • Appearances at numerous wind farm inquiries and other renewable energy schemes;
  • Promoting and objecting to Local Plans (including minerals and waste plans);
  • Promoting and objecting to large infrastructure projects such as underground gas cavern and strata schemes, bypasses and town centre redevelopments; and
  • Promoting and objecting to schemes needing habitats regulations assessments and water and nutrient neutrality.

She has particular expertise in housing matters, having participated in many house building planning inquiries and advised several local planning authorities and on their 5-year land supply, Strategic Housing Market Assessments and Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments. She can advise on all typical planning considerations such as nature conservation particularly Ancient Woodland, hydrogeology, heritage, traffic management, landscape character and appearance, air quality, heritage, design, noise, outlook and light issues.  She has recently advised on water neutrality and nutrient neutrality issues.

Featured cases list

  • R (Swire) v. Canterbury City Council & Redrow Homes Ltd [2022] EWHC 390 (Admin)
    Establishing scope of EIA parameter plans to allow realignment of spine road and junctions. Interpretation of planning conditions.
  • Land Allocations Ltd v. Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities [2022]
    Whether Inspector failed to give appellant fair opportunity to rebut potential ecological harm, and whether he gave provision of affordable housing other than limited weight.
  • R(Hawkhurst Parish Council) v. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [2020] EWHC 3019 (Admin)  – Court finding that Council had taken into account cumulative impact of traffic on main junction in Hawkhurst. Acting for TWBC.
  • R (Lee Valley Regional Park Authority) v Epping Forest District Council [2016] EWCA Civ 404 –  established that ‘appropriate development’ in the Greenbelt does not need to be tested against the openness criterion.
  • Advocate for Maidstone Borough Local Plan Examination and for stage 1 of Tunbridge Wells Local Plan Examination

Environment

Megan is on the Attorney General’s A list for environmental cases.  She has acted for and against the Environment Agency.  She advises on environmental permitting and revocation, waste-related development, noise, odour and insect nuisance.  Most recently she has advised on the legality of water neutrality in the Sussex Southern Supply Zone and on the Packaging Regulations.  She is also familiar with nutrient neutrality problems and dealt with air quality issues affecting Epping Forest SPA.  She is well acquainted with the impacts of wind turbines having done twelve wind farm inquiries and advised on other renewable energy projects.

Particular experience in the environmental law field includes:

  • Appearing at inquiry under the Environmental Damage (Prevention & Remediation) Regulations 2009
  • Advising on waste and landfill issues;
  • Advocacy in waste-related prosecutions in the Crown Court and Magistrates Court;
  • Advice on licences for waste disposal;
  • Dealing at inquiry with noise, odour and traffic issues; and
  • Successfully attaining an order against nuisance (barking dogs) in the Magistrates’ Court

Featured cases list

  • Crest Nicholson Operations v West Berkshire Council [2021] EWHC 289 (Admin)
    A decision of a local authority as to the extent of the designated detailed emergency planning zone around an atomic weapons establishment, which was substantially increased from the previous zone, had not been Wednesbury The local authority was required to make its decision based on an expert assessment by the operator of the establishment, which was subject to oversight by the regulatory authorities, and had to be allowed an enhanced margin of appreciation. Acting for West Berkshire Council
  • Severn Trent Water Ltd v Environment Agency – environmental damage to SSSI following third party incident. Acting for Severn Trent Water.
  • Monoworld PLC v. Environment Agency – defending a notice to revoke environment permit for plastic recycling plant. Acting for Monoworld PLC.

Other areas

Megan advises on highway law including footpath inquiries.  She represented residents in a Village Green Registration inquiry who were applying for the green to be registered. There were three different landowners on the application site and the main issue was whether or not the landowners had maintained fences and erected keep-out signs during the 20 year user period.

She has obtained many injunctions for anticipated breaches of planning control under s.187B and acted in many gypsy and traveller inquiries.

Throughout her career at the Bar she has advised on Compulsory Purchase and Compensation issues appearing at public inquiries into CPOs including highway schemes and appearing in the Upper Tribunal on compensation issues.

She is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Bar and appeared in the British Virgin Islands High Court and Court of Appeal on environmental judicial review matters. Megan was called to the Eastern Caribbean Bar in 2008.

Recommendations

"A great leveller who sees the bigger picture...gives advice that may be unpalatable in a diplomatic and yet robust form."

― Leading Junior - Environment and Planning – Legal 500 [2019]

"Extremely practical, persuasive, articulate and popular with the court and clients."

― Leading Junior - Environment and Planning – Legal 500 [2019]

Nominated for Real Estate, Environment and Planning Junior of the Year

― Legal 500 [2018] and [2019] UK Bar Awards

"Her thoughtful and well-informed manner provides a calming and confident influence".

― Legal 500 [2017]

“Very experienced in conservation issues”

“An expert on planning appeals”

― Legal 500 [2016]

"She has a very practical approach, and an ability to distil legal complexities down to core commercial implications."

"She is prompt in giving advice, and tenacious on her feet in court."

― Legal 500 [2015]
Leading Individual

Awards

Nominated for Real Estate, Environment and Planning Junior of the Year – Legal 500 2018 and 2019 UK Bar Awards

Notable Cases

  • Reuthes Garden Centre  – winning enforcement appeal for house built 100% larger than planning permission.
  • Sarodia v. London Borough of Redbridge   [2017] EWHC 2347 (Admin) – High Court finding that Enforcement Notice was a nullity and could not have been varied under s.176 TCPA 1990.  Acting for Mr and Mrs Sarodia in High Court and Magistrates Court.  Conviction quashed.
  • Footpath Modification Inquiry for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Noise nuisance abatement notice prosecution (Tunbridge Wells 2014)
  • North London Waste Plan (2012)
  • Acting for a consortium of London Boroughs promoting the waste plan.
  • Witanhurst House, Highgate Inquiry (Ref 2119332 June 2010)
  • Inquiry into renovation & basement rooms development. Witanhurst is the largest house in London after Buckingham Palace and is a listed building.
  • Hilston Wind Farm Case (Ref 2130670 January 2011)
  • Planning Inspector refused planning permission for a three turbine scheme. Represented East Riding of Yorkshire Council who argued the scheme would result in undue harm to the landscape and character and visual amenity of the agricultural landscape when added to three other nearby schemes which had been permitted.
  • Kings Cross Underground Station (Ref: CTRL/09/1 June 2010)
  • Appeals under Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act for retention of Kings Cross tube entrance and vent shaft refused.
  • R v R Collard Ltd & Others (Guildford Crown Court 30 June 2009)
  • Crown Court prosecution pursuant to s.33 EPA 1990
  • Intergen plc and East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Planning inquiry into formation of underground gas caverns, brine outlet in north sea, pipelines to national transmission lines at Aldborough, Holderness, East Yorkshire.
  • Express Park Waste Wood Power Station, Bridgewater
  • Planning inquiry into construction of waste wood fuelled power station including biomass storage building open air storage and condensers. Appeal dismissed.
  • Caythorpe Well Site, Rudston
  • Planning inquiry into conversion of power generation facility into underground natural gas storage facility in underground strata and construction of connection pipeline into NTS.
  • Experienced wind farm barrister in England, wind farm inquiries include Hall Farm, Routh, Withernwick wind farm, Tedder Hill wind farm, Roos wind farm, Monkwith wind farm and Sixpenny Wood wind farm.
  • Humberfield Landfill Site and Composting Facility, Humberfield Farm, North Ferriby
  • Planning inquiry into integrated recycling facility, transfer station, household waste recycling facility.
  • Upper Heyford Planning Inquiry (Housing) for Environment Agency
  • Tower Hill Gardens compulsory purchase
  • Beef Island Leisure Resort judicial review in BVI

Appointments

Consultant Planning Inspector

Memberships

  • Planning and Environment Bar Association
  • Women In Planning   – London Branch Committee Member

Latest news

8th March 2022

International Women’s Day 2022 – Six Pump Court Chambers

Six Pump Court is proud to celebrate the women barristers in chambers who practise in all areas of law:

25th February 2022

EIA Parameter Plans interpreted in line with common sense

Megan Thomas QC acting for Canterbury City Council successfully defended two judicial reviews seeking to challenge the discharge of conditions on an outline planning permission.

29th October 2021

Diversion Orders Webinar

The second webinar in our Public Rights of Way series will cover Diversion Orders.

14th July 2021

Public rights of way webinar series

Six Pump Court Chambers will be presenting a series of three webinars on public rights of way.

16th June 2021

Planning Law Update – 28th June

We are very pleased to be hosting a Planning Law Update webinar this month.

15th March 2021

Megan Thomas and Simon Taylor appointed as Queen’s Counsel

Six Pump Court is pleased to announce Megan Thomas and Simon Taylor's appointment as Queen's Counsel today.

19th February 2021

Judgment handed down in Crest Nicholson v West Berkshire District Council

David Travers QC and Megan Thomas acted for the successful defendant.

18th December 2020

Chambers is pleased to announce that Megan Thomas and Simon Taylor will be appointed to Silk

Following the announcement of the latest Queen’s Counsel appointments, Chambers warmly congratulates Megan Thomas and Simon Taylor.

16th June 2020

Webinar: Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions

On Friday 19th June, Six Pump Court will host a webinar entitled Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions.

1st June 2020

Webinar: Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions

On Thursday 4th June, Six Pump Court and Women in Planning will host a joint webinar entitled Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions.

4th December 2018

Megan Thomas nominated as Real Estate, Environment and Planning Junior of the Year

We are pleased to announce that Megan Thomas has been nominated as Real Estate, Environment and Planning Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 2019 UK Bar Awards.

30th November 2018

Maidstone Borough Council challenge their Highway Authority over diversion of funds away from a bus lane to town centre

Stephen Hockman QC and Megan Thomas have obtained permission for judicial review of a highway authority which has made a decision to divert monies collected for road widening under section 106 undertakings to use for a feasibility study for a potential bypass.

24th July 2018

Planning Bar 2018-19

Megan Thomas has been elected Secretary of the Planning Environment Local Government Bar Association (“PEBA”).

25th May 2018

Regulatory Law Conference 2018 (Birmingham)

Six Pump Court will present a Regulatory Law Conference on 13th July in Birmingham.

24th November 2017

Six Pump Court receives four nominations in Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2018

Six Pump Court Chambers has received four nominations in the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards 2018 shortlist.

2nd October 2017

Megan Thomas represents homeowner in successful High Court appeal where enforcement notice declared a nullity

Megan Thomas succeeded in quashing an enforcement notice on the basis that it was a nullity and no better than waste paper. One of the steps required by the notice was to remove a two storey side extension to a dwelling but no two storey side extension existed.

29th June 2017

William Upton and Megan Thomas speaking at RTPI Planning Law Update Conference

William Upton and Megan Thomas are speaking at the RTPI Planning Law Update Conference in London today.

19th April 2017

Judicial Review: Tactics for Winning, Recent Developments and “Abuse of Power”

Six Pump Court presents the first in our series of environmental and public law seminars to be held this year: Judicial Review: Tactics for...

8th March 2017

Resisting gentrification and refining general conformity with the local plan

Neighbourhood plans continue to generate controversy in the Courts. Megan Thomas has successfully defended the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan in R (Swan Quay LLP)...

8th June 2016

Transfer of Power: the Energy Act 2016 and Wind Farms

Following a request from Lexis PSL, Megan Thomas provides comment on the impact of the Energy Act 2016 on large onshore wind farms and...

26th April 2016

Important Green Belt Ruling

Megan Thomas has successfully represented Epping Forest District Council in the High Court and Court of Appeal against a challenge to a grant of...

16th October 2014

Mock Public Inquiry – Friday 7th November

Six Pump Court in association with The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London will be presenting this Mock Inquiry on Friday...

5th October 2014

On-shore Wind Turbines Dismissed at Appeal

In a climate where commercial on-shore wind farms enjoy considerable national policy support, a Planning Inspector has bucked the trend and refused planning permission...

5th October 2014

High Court grants injunction to remove mobile home

Megan Thomas has been active and successful on behalf of Sedgemoor District Council in Somerset.  The Council sought an injunction in the High Court to...

25th September 2014

Megan Thomas in First Environmental Damage Public Inquiry

Megan Thomas has represented Severn Trent Water Ltd at the first appeal ever to be heard under the Environmental Damage (Prevention & Remediation) Regulations 2009....

21st July 2014

Members of Six Pump Court ranked in Planning newspaper’s 2013-2014 Planning Law Survey

Members of the Six Pump Court have been ranked highly in Planning newspaper’s annual Planning Law Survey for 2013-2014. Members featured in all three...

Events

30th June 2022

Planning Law Update

We are delighted to offer another in our series of Planning Law updates.

24th January 2022

Public Rights of Way Webinars – Highway creation, adoption, and extinguishment

The third webinar in our Public Rights of Way series will consider some of the issues which can arise when new highways are created in conjunction with new development.

29th November 2021

Recent case law from the Planning Court – Women in Planning

Women in Planning together with Six Pump Court Chambers are hosting this webinar rounding up recent case law from the Planning Court.

28th June 2021

Planning Law Update Webinar

We are very pleased to be hosting a Planning Law Update webinar this month.

19th June 2020

Webinar: Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions

On Friday 19th June Six Pump Court will host a webinar entitled Heritage Assessment and Design in Planning Decisions.

Contact my clerks

Ryan Barrow

Ryan Barrow

First Junior Clerk