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Mrs Sarah Lovell

Professional Description:

Principal Consultant, Chartered Waste Manager


MCIWM BSc (Hons)

Ricardo Energy & Environment
Gemini Building
Fermi Avenue
OX11 0QR
Area of work:



Sarah is a Chartered Waste Manager with over 18 years' experience in waste management regulation and environmental consultancy. She is an expert in regulatory compliance, having specialised primarily in environmental permitting and advising clients on compliance issues related to associated waste management and environmental legislation and government policy. Having been a consultant for 14 years, Sarah leads on environmental permitting and regulatory compliance and works with a team of senior specialists on commercial and regulatory due diligence and waste sector expert witness services.

Sarah’s background is in waste regulation, with 5 years’ experience with the Environment Agency, where she developed an in-depth working knowledge of waste legislation, policy and regulatory guidance through her work in regulatory waste and strategic permitting teams. As a senior specialist, Sarah ensured that operator proposals met the requirements of all relevant legislation and provided pre-application advice to customers. Sarah’s experience in determining applications has provided invaluable insight when preparing permit applications, undertaking regulatory due diligence for developments and investments, and providing expert advice in disputes and criminal cases. As a consultant, Sarah has continued to work closely with the UK regulators and has recently been involved in the drafting and updating of a range of regulatory guidance, addressing matters such as end of waste, baseline site condition reporting and operator competence.

As a recognised expert, Sarah is also a member of the steering committee for the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s (CIWM) Special Interest Group on Waste Regulation which acts as a forum for information exchange relating to legislation and regulation of the resource and waste management industry within the UK.

Sarah has been an expert witness since 2019, applying her regulatory experience as a permitting and compliance expert to a range of commercial disputes and criminal proceedings. Sarah has reviewed prosecution evidence and written clear and well-reasoned expert reports in accordance with Criminal and Civil Procedure Rules. Several cases have involved analysis of evidence in relation to the quantities and types of waste, applicable rates of landfill tax, EA Compliance Assessment Reports (CARs), EA decision documents and whether the regulator followed its own guidance. Sarah has also given evidence in Court under cross examination on a number of occasions.

Sarah’s expert witness experience includes the provision of expertise on a range of compliance issues and Environment Agency prosecution, including those related to waste duty of care, exempt waste operations, end of waste, Best Available Technique (BAT) and appropriate measures, Environmental Management Systems (EMS), Fire Prevention Plans (FPPs), landfill tax and waste recovery plans.

Sarah works with a team of senior experts with extensive, in breadth and depth, technical, commercial, operational, market and regulatory insight in the waste sector and waste treatment technologies and infrastructure. Sarah leads on environmental permitting and waste regulation and works with a senior team of  experts on matters including expert opinion and due diligence relating to energy from waste (EfW), combustion (incineration), anaerobic digestion (AD), advanced conversion technologies (ACT) including gasification, pyrolysis and waste to liquid bio-fuels, Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT), composting including in-vessel composting (IVC), materials recovery facilities (MRF), aggregate recycling, waste transfer, metals recycling, deposit of waste for recovery, landfill, mining waste, leachate and effluent treatment,  and refuse derived fuel (RDF) and solid recovered fuel (SRF) production facilities and export.

• Defence expert witness in Environment Agency prosecutions
• Expert opinion in commercial disputes, claims and adjudications
• Regulatory compliance assessment, due diligence and permitting
• Technical, market and commercial due diligence
• Definition of waste and end of waste

Sarah is diligent, methodical and has excellent written and verbal communication skills. She has been commended by Counsel on the high quality of her written reports and conveys complex technical and regulatory information in Plain English. She is experienced in providing expert opinion in dispute and adjudication processes as well as prosecutions by the regulators.

Sarah’s expert advice is founded on broad knowledge in waste regulation and site operations, as well as her understanding of the technical, commercial and environmental risks and mitigation measures relevant to a range of waste facilities and installations, including sites storing combustible waste. Sarah has provided expert opinion and acted as an expert witness in a number of complex and broad ranging cases as set out below.

Duane Morris LLP for a confidential client (2021) Expert Opinion for the defence in a breach of warranty claim brought by the buyer of a hazardous and non-hazardous waste treatment facility for various alleged breaches of the warranties related to compliance with the environmental permit.

Acuity Law for a confidential client (2020) Expert Opinion in a contractual dispute related to End of Waste status of biomass boiler fly ash for use as a fertiliser

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP for a confidential client (2020) Expert Witness in an EA prosecution case and severance application, in relation to whether there had been specific failings by the regulator in granting a permit and the subsequent regulation of a deposit of waste for recovery activity.

Eusko Jaurlaritza - Gobierno Vasco - the Basque Government of Spain (2020) Expert Opinion on the integrated environmental permit (“IEP”) issued to Verter Recycling 2002 S L for the operation of the Zaldibar non-hazardous Landfill and whether it met the requirements of relevant EU Directives.

Shoosmiths LLP for a confidential client (2020) Expert Opinion in the matter of a possible adjudication regarding whether the process of obtaining the necessary EA consent to allow the transfer of liquid fuel oil from an existing tank to new oil storage tanks had been followed

Burges Salmon LLP for confidential client (2020) Expert Opinion on whether there was any evidence of non-compliance with the environmental permit and/or waste-related planning conditions at a deposit of waste for recovery operation.

A. Williams & Co for confidential client (2019) Expert Opinion regarding the nature, origin, and purpose of material categorised as waste by the Environment Agency and transported to and deposited at a quarry in Worcestershire.

Cartwright King Limited for confidential client (2019) Expert Witness on Confiscation Pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002

Confidential local authority client (2019) Expert Opinion on Fire Safety Measures at a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility in relation to a contractual dispute 


Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management

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