James has extensive experience of acting in cases involving major infrastructure projects, across a broad range of sectors. He was ranked as one fo the top 3 silks for Major Infrastructure Projects in Planning Magazine's 2017 survey of the Bar. He is an editor of The Infrastructure Planning Handbook (2ed., Bloomsbury Publishing).
His specialist knowledge of planning, environmental law, compulsory purchase and compensation brings valuable experience to any infrastructure case. Chambers and Partners have described his Development Consent Order work as "first class".
Examples of infrastructure projects James has been involved in include
- Waste: Whitemoss Landfill (DCO made in 2015). Acted or the successful waste planning authority resisting the extension of the major landfill site at Brogborough, Bedfordshire. Promotion of Waste Local Plans.
- Pipelines: Willington C gas pipeline (DCO made in 2014).
- Energy projects: acted on behalf of Galloper Windfarm for major proposals of the Suffolk Coast (DCO made in 2013); acted on behalf of DONG energy for part of the BUrbo Bank windfarm project; acted for RWEN in respect of the Pembroke CGT power station and Tilbury C power station.
- Roads: Heysham Bypass: objections on behalf of Lancaster and Morecombe College (oral DCO hearing, 2012).
- Airports: Stansted G2 Project - instructed by BAA as one of the team of counsel promoting the proposals for a second runway at Stansted Airport.
- Multimodal facilities: West Midlands Gateway SRFI.
- Railways: Docklands Light Railway Extension - instructed as junior counsel to promote the DLR extension to Dagenham Dock.
- Community facilities: one of the team of counsel who successfully promoted the CPO for the Olympic Park in order to facilitate the 2012 Olympic Games.
- Ports and Harbours: Great Yarmouth Harbour CPO.
- Industrial development: currently advising in relation to expected DCO for major industrial development in north east.
James's court experience includes defending, or challenging, decisions to approve infrastructure projects including
- R (Scarsbrick) v SSCLG  EWCA Civ 787 - successful defence of challenge to Whitemoss Landfill DCO.
- Holiday Extras v Crawley BC  EWHC 3247 (Admin) - challenge to policies relating to parking provision at Gatwick Airport.
- Griffin v Tower Hamlets LBC  EWHC 53 – successfully acting for London City Airport resisting a challenge to the increase in flight caps.
- Barbone v Secretary of State  EWHC 463 (Admin) - acted on behalf of Stansted Airport defending a challenge to the planning permission to expand the capacity of Stansted (the G1 consent).
- R (Friends of the Earth) v Sussex County Council  EWHC (Admin) - challenge to a waste incinerator permission.
- Bown v Secretary of State  EWHC 819 Admin, a challenge to a by-pass CPO for failure to comply with the Wild Birds Directive.