Previously employed as Principal Counsel by the Environment Agency, Syan has prosecuted more than 200 cases involving waste, pollution, fisheries, flood defence and radioactive substances.
He has prosecuted complex multi-handed cases in the Crown Court (including one involving fourteen defendants) without a leader.
He has appeared in the Court of Appeal and the High Court. His in-depth knowledge and extensive experience of this area of law means he often appears against senior juniors and Queen’s Counsel.
Differently constituted benches of the higher courts have variously described the law of waste as ‘difficult’, ‘opaque’ and ‘Delphic’. Syan is adept at prosecuting cases involving waste in a manner that makes them accessible to juries.
His expertise of waste extends to all aspects of this area of the law, having dealt with cases relating to the definition of waste, unpermitted waste operations, non-compliance with environmental permit conditions, fly-tipping, exemptions, hazardous waste, the trans-frontier shipment of waste, statutory notices, waste recycling credits, breaches of the duty of care, registration of carriers and producer responsibility.
Syan has been involved in cases brought following the pollution of fresh, marine and ground waters, by hydrocarbons, sewage, farm effluent and various chemicals.
He also has experience of cases involving serious air pollution. Examples include the release of landfill gas (with a particularly high concentration of Hydrogen Sulphide) that descended upon a school and the escape of a cloud of gas that impacted upon nearby workers following an incident at a plastics factory. He has also prosecuted cases of nuisance caused by odours from composting operations and other waste facilities.
Syan has prosecuted offences featuring illegal fishing methods for salmon, sea trout, elvers, and coarse fish.
Syan has prosecuted several cases involving interference of flood defence works on the Somerset Levels. He has also appeared in arbitration regarding flood defence matters.
Syan has dealt with cases involving the loss of radioactive sources at hospitals and farms, as well as cases of excessive radioactivity at a steel works (involving the isotope Polonium 210) and a kaolin mine.
ss 79-82 & Schedule 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 deal with Statutory Nuisance. Syan has expertise in dealing with noise, odours and other forms of Statutory Nuisance, and is intimately familiar with the various statutory defences and exceptions that makes this a complex area of law. He has provided training on Statutory Nuisance to both investigators and lawyers.
Tree Preservation Orders
Syan has successfully prosecuted a number of trials involving TPO breaches including a man accused of devastating a ten-acre woodland with the aim of building eight £5 million pound houses, a solicitor responsible for the destruction of a multi-stemmed Oak and a case involving multiple historic breaches of a TPO.
Wildlife and Habitats
Syan has prosecuted and defended in cases under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, involving invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and protected species such as bats.
Health and Safety
Syan has appeared in a number of Health and Safety matters, including prosecuting a case where failures by a well known supermarket led to a customer suffering catastrophic injuries, and another where food containing nuts was fed to an infant who was allergic to them at a nursery, and acted for a corporate defendant that had attracted the attention of the HSE regarding alleged failures in relation to saw dust.
Other Regulatory Matters
Syan has been instructed to prosecute and defend in Animal Health (successfully prosecuted appeals in cases instructed by Hampshire County Council and Wiltshire County Council), Drinking Water (instructed by a large water company in a prosecution by the Drinking Water Inspectorate) and Food Safety (including prosecuting a meat wholesaler to conviction in 2016, instructed by West Sussex County Council).
Ideally qualified to deal with cases with an environmental aspect recent examples of Syan’s Public Law practice include a Judicial Review involving a National Park Authority, a Statutory Planning Review involving a Local Authority and a planning appeal involving the environmental permit conditions of a clinical waste transfer station. He also has experience in Licensing hearings and appeals.
Syan has been instructed as independent counsel in order to identify and remove LPP material from material seized during raids of premises. In a number of cases he has been involved in searching for material held digitally, as it is becoming increasingly common for investigating bodies to download files in situ or to seize computers.
Syan has expertise in cases where confiscation proceedings are brought subsequent to conviction in environmental cases, having prosecuted numerous examples including the first significant Environment Agency confiscation case. He has particular expertise in confiscation cases involving waste, and also in more novel circumstances, for example where an intensive pig farm breached the conditions of its environmental permit by housing too many pigs.
He has also acted for the prosecution in a case involving theft by a former metropolitan police officer where the main available asset was the defendant’s police pension.