Infrastructure Projects Team of the Year

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May wins the Infrastructure projects team of the year award this year for its work advising the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) on the Government’s electricity market reform.

The reforms are crucial to the UK in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent as part of the Climate Change Act 2008. It is also integral to enabling the UK source 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

In order to attract the monumental sum of £110bn investment needed to upgrade the UK’s electricity infrastructure, the team advised DECC during the development of contracts for difference (CfD). These contracts were integral to supporting the investment of renewable energy projects.

Slaughters developed the terms and conditions of the contracts so that they would cover a range of renewable energy technologies. They were also designed to promoted investment of the firm while granting generators the assurance that revenue would continue.

The team worked to adapt a version of the CfD to fit with the Hinkley Point C power station. The work extended the term to 35 years to meet the needs of a nuclear project.

Slaughters also gained the European Commission’s approval for the CfD regime, five off-shore wind investment contracts, the dedicated biomass contracts and the Hinkley Point C contract.

Runner up
  • Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co takes second place for its ‘Project Marshal’ deal that will provide £1.5bn in air traffic management services to the MOD. The deal means that over 100 military bases will receive state-of-the-art air traffic control and save the UK Government £1bn over 22 years. The large public-private partnership was signed between the MOD and Aquila, which is a joint venture between National Air Traffic Services and Thales UK. The team had its work cut out dealing with the MOD’s 18,000 page document of technical requirements and showed it could work efficiently when the Mod announced the deadline had been moved forward 12 months.

Third place
  • Bircham Dyson Bell

Bircham Dyson Bell has become a leading infrastructure planning practice and has led the pack by making the most development consent order (DCO) applications.

DCOs are essential for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) such as the Able Marine Energy Park on the river Humber. Although NSIPs have become a specialty for the team, the new Humberside project was the first to be built on a harbour so no precedent could be relied upon.

The project faced many trials along the way including opposition from private individuals and utility providers alike. It also successfully passed a parliamentary challenge and a judicial review from the High Court.

  • Ashurst
  • Bracewell & Giuliani
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Hogan Lovells