Burges Salmon completes tenth land acquisition to support Oxygen Conservation’s ambition to ‘Scale Conservation’

28/09/2023

INDEPENDENT UK law firm Burges Salmon has completed its tenth UK land acquisition for Oxygen Conservation, a company committed to protecting and restoring nature and the built environment through conservation projects focused on delivering positive environmental and social impact.

With the ambition to ‘Scale Conservation’, Oxygen Conservation tackles the climate emergency and biodiversity collapse through the purchase and management of land to protect and restore natural processes. It achieves this through carbon sequestration and storage by creating new woodland and restoring peatland, landscape connectivity, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy generation and sustainable development.

Burges Salmon has been supporting Oxygen Conservation since it was founded in June 2021 and has advised on all its acquisitions to grow its land portfolio, stretching from the moors of Devon to the glens of the Scottish Highlands. Across all ten projects, the firm has provided specialist advice across a range of legal disciplines including real estate, employment, environmental, energy, intellectual property, planning, tax and charity law.

In Scotland, Burges Salmon has advised on the acquisition of two major landholdings, namely the Invergeldie Estate, near Comrie in Perthshire, and Blackburn and Hartsgarth, part of Langholm Moor. Together, both estates cover more than 22,500 acres. Alongside these significant purchase transactions, the firm also advised on a landmark multi-million-pound loan facility made by Triodos Bank UK in what is believed to be the largest conservation-focused commercial debt package in the UK to date. 

In England, projects have included the acquisition of The Leighon Estate, at the heart of the Bovey Valley on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park, where Oxygen Conservation is working with Dartmoor National Park, the Woodland Trust, and Devon Wildlife Trust on creating a unique wilderness reserve connecting the neighbouring landscape and providing communities and visitors with an opportunity to reconnect with this rare and special environment.

This summer, Oxygen Conservation completed a further two acquisitions. The first, a historic West Country estate on the southern edge of Exmoor National Park spanning over 770 acres and, the second, a beautiful 690-acre residential farm in south-west Norfolk. Both estates present enormous opportunities to enhance biodiversity and will kickstart Oxygen Conservation’s vision for its own unique ecotourism offering.

Rich Stockdale, Managing Director and Founder of Oxygen Conservation explains: “Buying land in rural areas can be a difficult and lengthy process and none of our acquisitions would have been possible without Burges Salmon’s expertise and timely advice. In some instances, we were able to work with them to complete sales in just a few weeks and we’re grateful for the firm’s continued support and guidance.”

George Pawley, Head of Legal at Oxygen Conservation notes: “Burges Salmon’s lawyers, led by Ross Simpson, have gone above and beyond to help us secure our first ten sites. They have become a genuine extension of our own team by taking the time to really understand how we like to work and representing us in an incredibly professional, diligent and positive manner.”

Ross Simpson, Real Estate partner at Burges Salmon says: “We are incredibly excited to see how Oxygen Conservation is transforming and enriching these ten sites for the good of our planet and our communities, and we look forward to continuing to support its journey and ambition which is redefining what it means to do conservation. Sustainable forward-thinking is embedded within our culture at Burges Salmon and, as a responsible business, we are proud to share, to inspire and to be part of that vision with Oxygen Conservation.”

Kate Seymour, Real Estate director at Burges Salmon, comments: “We have felt incredibly fortunate to work alongside Oxygen Conservation on such potentially transformative and valuable projects, and we are looking forward to supporting them in the next phase of their future acquisitions.”

Burges Salmon’s Real Estate practice is one of the largest in the UK and includes a large number of dual qualified lawyers meaning the firm is uniquely placed to advise on UK-wide projects. The firm’s specialist Estates and Land team advises a broad range of estate and landowners as well as institutional and international investors in rural property, entrepreneurs, farmers and owners of historic estates on the full spectrum of legal issues from property transactions, tax, estate management, environmental, finance and commercial matters.

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