Newt Officer - South Midlands District Licensing Project

NatureSpace Partnership

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
£24,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract 07722 942709 Sarah Garratt

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Friday, 1st June 2018   5 days left

This is an exciting opportunity for an early-career graduate to work on a nationally important ground-breaking new project, embedded in the public sector but working with and for both private and NGO sectors, to help deliver a step-change in the conservation of great crested newts. The role is full-time on an fixed term 18 month contract, but with the expectation of renewal.

Natural England have awarded a 'District Licence' for great crested newts to seven Planning Authorities in the South Midlands that allows them to authorise (under strictly defined terms) activities that may harm newts at the same time as granting planning permission. The District Licence scheme has significant advantages for developers in simplifying and streamlining the processes they need to go through to meet their legal obligations to the great crested newt - a European Protected Species. Equally though, the scheme offers very significant conservation benefits to newts by funding and delivering a region-wide conservation strategy that creates high quality aquatic and terrestrial habitat at a landscape scale, plus long-term management and monitoring, in compensation for development impacts – and in doing so, improves the conservation status of great crested newts and much other wildlife across the region.

The District Licence scheme has been designed and administered by NatureSpace (a private sector company), is adopted by the Local Planning Authorities, is regulated and approved by Natural England, and is supported by the country's leading amphibian NGOs - the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and the Freshwater Habitats Trust. The habitat creation is being delivered by a new not-for-profit Community Benefit Society - the South Midlands Newt Conservation Partnership which works with landowners to create and manage new ponds and habitats.

As part of the scheme, each Local Planning Authorities is hosting a 'newt officer', who will work alongside planning and ecology colleagues in the LPA. The 'newt officer' will be employed by NatureSpace but seconded to the Local Planning Authority. This advert is for one such post working with Aylesbury Vale District Council and based in Aylesbury.

The LPA 'newt officer' will be desk-based, but with flexible home-working and some field work visits. They will:

1. Raise general awareness of the District licensing scheme

  • with developers and their consultants and ecologists – through LPA websites, literature etc
  • within the LPA - promote the scheme, and the newt conservation strategy, across all appropriate staff.

2. Enable good planning decisions

  • Ensure LPA planning staff are familiar with the scheme and the process (dealing with NatureSpace certificates and reports)
  • Provide specific advice to LPA planners on any NatureSpace Partnership reports
  • Help ensure that licence requirements are translated appropriately into planning conditions
  • Help ensure that any developments which are not covered under the scheme revert to business as usual for great crested newt procedures (survey, impact assessment, mitigation proposals and subsequent licence application to NE)
  • Monitor developer compliance with any newt-related planning conditions under the scheme

3. Provide a point of contact for newt-related matters for the LPA to liaise with NatureSpace Partnership, the South Midlands Newt Conservation Partnership and Natural England as required

4. Ensure relevant Planning Authority staff and Members are informed of the outputs and outcomes of the scheme, as appropriate.

The job would suit early-career graduates, perhaps with some environmental consultancy experience, looking to join a small friendly company that is working with Planning Authorities to deliver a step-change in sustainable development and newt conservation. The successful candidate will have:

  • A genuine enthusiasm for ecology and conservation in the UK 
  • An organised approach to work, with a high level of independence and motivation
  • Good communication skills - both written and verbal, and good administration skills
  • A full driving licence
  • A degree in a Natural Science, Nature Conservation or a related subject

The successful candidate is highly likely to have the following knowledge and experience:

  • Good understanding of the planning system and its ecological requirements
  • Experience of working with and/or for relevant stakeholders including planning authorities, ecological consultants and developers
  • Experience of working with great crested newts
  • Knowledge of legislation and licensing in respect of great crested newts

Please apply in writing, submitting a 2 page CV and covering letter, to Sarah Garratt at the email address above - the closing date for applications is 1st June 2018.

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