Burges Salmon launches new research on consenting and permitting for hydrogen infrastructure projects

Burges Salmon launches new research on consenting and permitting for hydrogen infrastructure projects

Patrick Robinson

Law firm Burges Salmon has launched data-led research report exploring ways to support the consenting and permitting process for the anticipated growth in the number of low-carbon hydrogen infrastructure projects in the UK over the coming few years.

With the potential to overcome some of the trickiest decarbonisation challenges facing our economy, low-carbon hydrogen has a critical role to play in the UK’s transition to Net Zero.

Net Zero (the UK Government’s commitment to offset all greenhouse gas production by 2050) has been a significant driver in the growing conversations around the role and use of hydrogen in the UK’s energy mix.

Over the next few years, multiple hydrogen projects will seek consent for planning permission and environmental permits in addition to considering how to satisfy health and safety requirements. This poses a potential challenge for regulators and stakeholders who will not necessarily be familiar with hydrogen, the significant role it can play and its characteristics. With timing a concern, the most sought-after changes to consenting are: a full framework of legislation, policy, guidance and safety; public education on the benefits of hydrogen; and a reduction in the risk of legal challenges.

Burges Salmon has conducted research based on a quantitative survey of 100 respondents and qualitative research-based online report. This includes hydrogen and planning specialists, distribution network and public sector representatives. The report explores ways to support some of the most significant processes involved in the anticipated upcoming growth in hydrogen projects.

Contributors to the report include:

  • Karina Almeida, Hydrogen Safety Technical Lead, Gexcon
  • Jon Clipsham, Chief Commercial Officer, Protium
  • Rebecca Evans, Consents Manager, Cadent Gas
  • Jack Davies, Head of Hydrogen Projects, Scottish Power
  • Neil Kermode, Managing Director, European Marine Energy Centre
  • Philip Ridley, Head of Planning and Coastal Management, East Suffolk Council
  • Patrick Robinson, Hydrogen projects planning specialist, Burges Salmon
  • The Environment Agency

Burges Salmon has been advising on hydrogen for many years particularly in the electrolyser sector and we are now at the heart of the hydrogen conversation in the UK: our lawyers sit on the Executive of the UK Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, and were part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Hydrogen Task Force working group for standards and regulation. The firm promotes industry dialogue through regular round-table events and seminars.

Acting for government and agencies, developers, shippers, offtakers and landowners, Burges Salmon advises on every part of the hydrogen cycle. From obtaining permissions and consents, through procurement and deployment of plant, to commercial arrangements where hydrogen is the sole focus or embedded in wider subject matter such as real estate or financing, we offer highly experienced, practically focussed expertise. In a rapidly changing sector, our teams are fully adaptable to meet each client’s unique needs to ensure that taking legal advice on hydrogen issues becomes a market advantage for you.

Patrick Robinson, hydrogen projects planning specialist at Burges Salmon, commented: “If the UK’s hydrogen goals are to be achieved, they must be accompanied by a programme of education and awareness-raising at every point in the energy ecosystem, from developers to regulators and the public.

“This research is all about finding out what’s happening on the ground. We looked for those people who are already engaged in making these early hydrogen schemes a reality. Insight from the viewpoint of developers, technical advisors and the local authorities managing the planning consent process have answered some key questions on what’s happening, where it is working, where things aren’t working as they should and, if so, why.”

Read the firm’s new hydrogen report here.

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