National Grid Gas Plc, Regina (on the Application of) v The Environment Agency: Admn 17 May 2006

The claimant sought a judicial review of the decision to hold them responsible for necessary works of remediation. They were statutory successors to British Gas Corporation.
Held: The legislation clearly attempted to hold the contaminator primarily responsible for works of remediation. Where the contaminating owner was no longer available to pay the cost, its successors were to be held responsible.
Forbes J: ‘at the time of the relevant transfers the transferring company or body had undertaken activities which had resulted in a situation where contaminating substances were caused to be present on the site. That was in itself sufficient to give rise to liability on the part of that company or body under Part IIA, once those provisions were enacted and had come into force . . it is entirely consistent with the intention of Parliament in enacting the Gas Acts transfer provisions, that the transferee company (acquiring as it did, all the assets, rights and liabilities of the transferor) should step into the shoes of the transferor, not only in terms of current actual liabilities, but also in respect of liabilities that would come into being in the future in respect of the past activities of the transferor. In other words, the transferee would assume the exposure of the transferor (which would cease to exist under the scheme of the Gas Act in question) to future liability relating to past actions of the transferor. ‘
Forbes J
[2006] JPL 1823, [2006] EWHC 1083 (Admin), Times 31-May-2006, [2006] ACD 88, [2006] 1 WLR 3041, [2006] Env LR 49, [2007] 1 All ER 1163
Environmental Protection Act 1990, Gas Act 1972
England and Wales
CitedCaledonian Railway Company v North British Railway Company HL 1881
The House considered the principle of the literal construction of a statute: ‘The more literal construction ought not to prevail, if . . it is opposed to the intentions of the Legislature, as apparent by the statute; and if the words are . .
CitedParochial Church Council of the Parish of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley, Warwickshire v Wallbank and another HL 26-Jun-2003
The owners of glebe land were called upon as lay rectors to contribute to the cost of repairs to the local church. They argued that the claim was unlawful by section 6 of the 1998 Act as an act by a public authority incompatible with a Convention . .
CitedNash v Rochford Rural District Council CA 1917
A claim was made against the local highway authority for personal injury resulting from the defective construction of a highway drain. The plaintiff failed to prove that the defendant highway authority had been responsible for the construction of . .
CitedRegina v HM Attorney-General for Northern Ireland and Another Ex Parte Devine CANI 1992
An inquest was held into three deaths thought to be at the hands of British soldiers. The coroner had admitted written evidence from statements taken by British officers on the basis that the makers of the statements were not compellable as . .
CitedWalters v Babergh District Council 1983
An action was brought for for negligence and/or breach of statutory duty under the 1936 Act. The plaintiff alleged that Melford Rural District Council (‘Melford’: the Defendant Council’s predecessor) had failed to inspect with reasonable care the . .
CitedIncome Tax Commissioners for City of London v Gibbs HL 1942
Lord Macmillan considered the construction of the word ‘person’ in the context of a partnership under Scots law: ‘The word ‘person’ is in the singular, but it includes the plural and also any body of persons corporate or unincorporate: . .
CitedRegina v Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ex parte Graham CA 1955
On a true construction of section 104(5) of the Agriculture Act 1947 a sub-committee or a district committee of a county agricultural executive committee is not excluded from being ‘a person’ who may be appointed by the Minister to hear . .
CitedBaxter v Stockton-on-Tees Corporation 1959
The court was asked to set out the responsibilities of the local authority as highway authority for any failure to construct, maintain and provide signage on its roads: ‘As to the hypothetical case against the county council, there is, as we have . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromNational Grid Gas Plc, Regina (on the Application of) v The Environment Agency HL 27-Jun-2007
The Agency sought to impose liability on the appellant to remediate land which had been polluted by the appellant’s predecessor, the East Midlands Gas Board, claiming it to be a responsible as successor.
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 April 2021; Ref: scu.241748