Lead Adviser – Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer

Natural England

Norwich/Cambridge
£26,224 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, conservation & wildlife, water & hydrology

Closing date: Sunday, 1st November 2020   7 days left


Natural England

We are the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.

Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Team

Our fantastic team is responsible for delivering environmental outcomes across Norfolk and Suffolk. We use a range of mechanisms including land management and planning advice, engagement with stakeholders and direct management of our own land, to achieve the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and landscapes. We are uniquely placed, amongst our partners, to be able to blend regulation, incentives and advice to create positive land use change and nature's recovery and are passionate about doing so.

As a Team we aim to work flexibly and support each other and collaborate with others across the region to increase awareness and appreciation of our landscapes and wildlife. Our successful delivery of nature recovery will rely on us explaining the benefits people derive from our special environment, fantastic landscapes and helping people and local communities grow and nurture connection with their natural environment.

Role description

Natural England delivers Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) in partnership with Defra and the Environment Agency, aiming to help meet Water Framework Directive targets and drinking water quality standards, contributing to delivery of the Government's 25 Year plan for the Environment. CSF operates through a network of Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers (CSFOs) and local partners who advise farmers on land management practices to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA).

Catchment Sensitive Farming contributes to the delivery of our environmental ambitions for the Norfolk and Suffolk area team, complimenting tools such as agri-environment schemes, statutory planning work, regulation and enforcement. We work with a range of partners, customers and national colleagues to further our delivery of local environmental priorities, working at a landscape-scale to protect and enhance terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

The role of the CSFO is to:

  • Lead delivery of a catchment campaign to help farmers and land managers reduce DWPA, using a wide range of tools including:
    • One to one farm advice
    • Group events and workshops
    • Catchment newsletters and social media
    • Agri-environment scheme delivery
    • SSSI casework and monitoring and DWP plans
    • Biodiversity Net Gain
  • Evaluate and understand DWPA issues within the specified catchment(s) using nationally provided data, which is validated locally.
  • Secure agreement and ownership of farmers in the catchment on key pollution issues and solutions. Achieve behavioural change and a reduction in DWPA from farmers and land owners.
  • Work with Natural England colleagues to provide a joined up approach to delivery of catchment objectives.
  • Communicate, advocate and promote CSF activity externally with farmers, land managers and partners.
  • Work with partners and stakeholders such as the Environment Agency, water companies, Defra’s Catchment Based Approach partners, other NE staff and others to deliver a joined-up approach including developing formal partnerships where appropriate.
  • Support Countryside Stewardship (CS) applications by advising farmers on suitable land management options and/or capital items, endorsing Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship applications and giving advice on water quality options/ items in Higher Tier applications. Led on delivery of Higher Tier agreements where improving water quality is the main focus.
  • Give ‘aftercare’ advice on management of Agri-environment options particularly options to reduce DWPA. Offer general advice on other CS options such as those addressing biodiversity and/or signpost applicants to additional advice from other sources where priorities overlap.
  • Undertake annual Audit process to ascertain the extent of advice uptake.
  • Work with the Contract Manager to provide timely information for tenders for group events and farm advice. Conduct quality control to agreed processes and deadlines.
  • Record interactions and advice given. Monitor the effectiveness of engagement with farmers and land owners.
  • Understand the relevant Diffuse Water Pollution Plan(s) and incorporate into CSF advice delivery where appropriate.
  • Understand and advise on management and actions to improve the condition of freshwater SSSIs within the catchment.

Technical/specialist knowledge/qualifications

  • The ability to communicate effectively with farmers and persuade them to engage with CSF.
  • Knowledge of Arable and / or livestock farming practices
  • Good level of agricultural knowledge relevant to the specified location.
  • Good knowledge of agricultural water pollution.
  • Basic project and contract management skills and experience.
  • A working knowledge of Environmental Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship.
  • Basic knowledge of ArcGIS or of using similar GIS software. Training can be given.

Key capabilities

Creating resilient landscapes and seas

  • Recognise and identify the effects of diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA)
  • Understand and apply the Water Framework Directive to your work
  • Understand and select most appropriate measures, to address DWPA at source, pathway and receptor for individual sites

Personal Effectiveness

  • Use insight to identify target audiences and partners and to inform communication objectives, messages and solutions
  • Use clear and appropriate language, communication styles and techniques that engage your audience
  • Be ambitious, identify and adopt ways to make improvements in your team and Natural England and inspire others to act
  • Make and explain objective decisions which combine your professional judgement and evidence

Putting people at the heart of the environment

  • Listen to and understand our diverse partners and customers so that you achieve the best outcomes for them and Natural England
  • Nurture trusting partnerships and collaborate to achieve pragmatic outcomes that help deliver Natural England’s vision, mission and aims
  • Understand and explain the outcomes that we seek in your local patch and how these fit in with local and national issues

Work Delivery

  • Apply the relevant methodologies for collecting and collating data / evidence
  • Use relevant data / evidence to analyse and interpret trends, outcomes and issues
  • Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines

Additional role information

Location: Norwich / Cambridge Office

The post holder will be required to visit farms regularly during their day to day work.

The post holder will be required to hold a full UK driving license.

Some national travel may be required, which might involve overnight stays.

Flexible working patterns will generally be accommodated unless stated otherwise.

CSFOs are supported by a CSF Coordinator and a Team Leader, as well as by the National CSF Team. They are also supported by the Farm and Land Management Advice Contract Manager for the procurement and delivery of specialist training and advice. At the national level, CSFOs are supported by nationally developed project planning tools, campaigns and services. The effectiveness of advice campaigns in changing farming practices to reduce DWPA within priority areas is reported by the CSFO and then evaluated by the national CSF Evidence Team.

For further details and to apply please click here.


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