This case concerned contamination of land that had been the site of a gas works operated by National Grid. National Grid was known previously under many guises. In particular: Transco plc; British Gas plc: British Gas Corporation; and East Midlands Gas Board. The land had been sold and developed for housing before the contamination was discovered.

The Environmental Agency decided that National Grid was an "appropriate person" within Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) in respect of the contamination, thereby making National Grid liable for a proportion of the costs of remediating the contamination in question.

National Grid argued that it was not an "appropriate person" and that the Environment Agency's decision was wrong in law because:

1 Transco did not itself cause or knowingly permit the contamination in question;

2 There was no existing liability at the time of transfer from East Midlands Gas Board to British Gas Corporation (pursuant to the Gas Act 1972) or British Gas Corporation to British Gas plc (pursuant to the Gas Act 1986); and

3 Even if there was such liability under any of the statutory regimes, the Gas Acts could not operate so as to transfer liability under the EPA because such liability only arose under a statutory regime that was not in existence at the times of the transfers.