Sarah specialises in the environmental and planning aspects of project consenting, regulatory compliance, real estate, commercial and corporate transactions, and wider sustainability and governance. The depth and breadth of her practice has been recognised through the award of both Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and Chartered Waste Manager (MCIWM) status.

Her experience in environmental impact and Habitats Regulations assessments for infrastructure projects includes on and offshore wind farms, waste facilities, transport schemes, gas and electricity power, urban development and tourism schemes. Sarah is experienced in working in multi-disciplinary teams and in a variety of roles to deliver client objectives efficiently and effectively.

She advises clients in the private, public and third sectors across the UK on all aspects of environmental law, including waste law, environmental permitting, contaminated land, species protection, sustainable development and governance, and risk minimisation and allocation. Sarah works on novel and complex issues, including those at the interface of regulatory and consenting regimes.

Sarah lectures extensively. She is co-opted to the Chartered Institute of Waste Management South West Centre Council, belongs to RenewableUK and the UK Environmental Law Association (formerly a trustee) and has worked on projects for the European Commission, Scottish Executive and several Government departments.


Examples of experience include advising:

  • The MetroWest Authorities promoting the development consent order (DCO) to reopen the Bristol to Portishead Railway, in particular on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and Habitats Regulations assessment (HRA) of the MetroWest Phase 1 project
  • Greater Cambridge Partnership on two Transport and Works Act Orders for rapid transit schemesto the west (Cambridge to Cambourne) and to the south east (Cambridge South East Transit) of Cambridge in particular advising onEIA, HRA and biodiversity net gain (BNG) 
  • National Highways on environmental impact assessment, Habitat Regulations assessment and environmental law aspects (compliance with water environment environmental objectives, environmental permitting and other consents and licences) in respect of DCOs for trunk road improvements (including the A12 and four schemes on the A47)
  • Multiple developers of onshore and offshore wind farms since the first wind farm in the UK (Delabole) in 1990, advising on consenting processes in England, Scotland and Wales and the associated EIA and HRA processes
  • Yennadon Stone Limited on securing planning permission and common land consent for the extension of a quarry on common land in a national park and a subsequent section 73 application to extend the operating life of the quarry. 

 "Sarah Holmes has incredible expertise and is able to convey complex issues in simple plain English that allows decision making that supports our strategic goals. I have used her to speak at public events on a number of occasions as I know she is eloquent, helpful and a safe pair of hands. I frequently recommend her and her work". 

The Legal 500 UK 2022 

"Excellent lawyer".

Very knowledgeable".

Chambers and Partners 2020

"She is very capable and knowledgeable and can put a good defence together in litigation." 

Chambers and Partners 2021

"The "excellent" Sarah Holmes is "very knowledgeable and negotiates hard for clients," say sources. Her broad workload includes the environmental aspects of infrastructure projects and a variety of regulatory matters. Clients appreciate that "she really cuts to the point very quickly." 

Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession 2018

"With her wealth of experience and professionalism, we are delighted that Sarah has progressed to Chartered status and we look forward to working with her, both in an individual capacity and through CIWM’s South West Centre." 

CIWM’s deputy chief executive Chris Murphy, July 2017