John Clayton specialises in environment, planning and government law. He has worked extensively both with government authorities and private developers.

John's practice covers a wide range of issues, including Federal and State planning and environmental impact assessment, compulsory acquisition and land valuation, and the relationship between administrative law and government decision-making and policy. He has a keen interest in the interaction between administrative law requirements and the commercial imperatives of statutory authorities.

John also provides specialist environmental and planning advice in relation to corporate and property transactions.

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Government Services

RMS/TfNSW - Sydney Gateway Project: advising on the planning and environmental aspects of the Gateway project. With the significant interaction with Sydney Airport, John has advised on the way in which the state planning and legislative processes interact with the Commonwealth regime, and has provided strategic advice on the relevant planning pathways available

Western Sydney Airport: advising on environment and planning issues for the Western Sydney Airport. This has included assisting in the preparation of a specific approvals regime within the Airports Act 1996 (Cth), advising on the interaction of Commonwealth and State environmental laws, advising on a wide range of environmental issues for the project, negotiating transaction documents (including detailed risk allocation mechanisms) with particular regard to the project transaction structure, reviewing the EIS and liaising with Commonwealth and State regulatory agencies. 

TfNSW / Sydney Metro – Sydney Metro Northwest: advising on all planning and environmental aspects of this project including reviewing proposed legislative amendments, reviewing and providing comments on environmental impact assessment documentation, providing strategic planning advice on a range of issues and providing advice in connection with the requirements of Commonwealth planning legislation, and providing strategic advice on land acquisition issues and ongoing land use within and around the corridor. John is also currently advising Sydney Metro on its property reconciliation strategy for SMNW.

TfNSW - Newcastle Integrated Services Package: advised on the Newcastle urban renewal project, including negotiating corridor access, land acquisition and infrastructure transfer agreements. John conducted litigation on an urgent basis arising from a challenge under section 99A of the Transport Administration Act 1988, concerning the alleged closure of a part of the Newcastle railway line. John developed a robust property and roads acquisition strategy, including in respect of the RMS and Council interfaces, and providing advice on planning pathways and environmental impact assessment documentation.

TfNSW/RMS: advising on environment and planning issues associated with several major infrastructure projects, including the M5 East Freeway and the M4 East Motorway and the Pacific Highway Upgrade. John also has considerable experience in relation to land acquisition and compensation issues associated with the Cross-City Tunnel, the Lane Cove Tunnel and the North-West Transitway. Many of these matters have involved appeals in the Land and Environment Court and the NSW Court of Appeal.

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Environment and Planning

Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Barangaroo (2011 – ongoing): Providing advice on all environment and planning issues associated with this major urban renewal project including acting in third party judicial review challenges to approvals under the EP&A Act, other contractual disputes and advising on application of Part 3A transitional arrangements and alternative planning approval pathways, disclosure of information under the GIPA Act and general statutory advice including declaration of the Authority as the roads authority and advice on related road transport legislation.

Inland Rail Programme, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC): Since 2014 John has assisted in advising on preliminary strategic planning aspects of Inland Rail including the integration of existing planning approval pathways, existing rail infrastructure and three different jurisdictions with the proposed Programme. He has advised on the application of Commonwealth approvals regimes in the context of a multi-jurisdictional Programme. He has also advised on the likely general environmental issues to be faced by the Programme.

Sydney Water: Advising on environmental incidents and regulatory compliance, in a broad range of contexts.on.

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Real Estate

Sydney Metro Northwest (TfNSW): Providing strategic advice on land acquisition issues and ongoing land use within and around the corridor. John is also currently advising Sydney Metro on its property reconciliation strategy for SMNW.

Electricity authorities: advising on various planning and environment issues affecting various electricity authorities, including the interaction of environmental laws with the authorities' statutory powers. Providing strategic advice in relation to land acquisition matters, including strategies involving compulsory acquisition. Acting for electricity authorities in various litigation, including in the Land and Environment Court in relation to compulsory acquisition, and the NSW Supreme Court in relation to the enforcement of easement rights and other property-related issues. 

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