Farmland Conservation Lead Adviser

Natural England

Crewe, Kendal, or Manchester
£26,224 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, food, farming & horticulture

Closing date: Sunday, 10th July 2022  

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Do you want to make a real difference and secure significant environmental gains in the present and the future? Do you enjoy working in a team? Can you see yourself advising land managers, communities and customers to maximise gains for the Natural Environment?

If this appeals to you, a career at Natural England offers rewarding opportunities to secure environmental improvements and play your part in creating a better future for people and nature.

In 2022 we have an ambitious plan to build a resilient natural environment. We want to create flourishing landscapes that are a source of rich biodiversity, pride, rural employment, access and enjoyment. We want to continue to develop and expand our farm advice to deliver more benefits across mosaics of habitats for biodiversity, water quality, air quality, flood management, climate change and the wider farmed environment, by designing new Countryside Stewardship agreements and integrating Catchment Sensitive Farming with local Nature Recovery.

We are looking for a motivated individual who will enjoy working with farmers, landowners, land managers and organisations in partnerships, with an aim to safeguard, restore and enhance the natural environment by providing technical advice on agri-agreement schemes (Countryside Stewardship and Higher-Level Stewardship extensions) and improving habitat management, across a variety of habitats, from the majestic uplands to the beautiful coast.

We are seeking individuals with a range of knowledge, skills and experience covering for example agricultural practices, land management, applied ecology and habitat management, and negotiation to provide comprehensive technical advice on farmland conversation matters. Our advice is built around the integration of positive environmental outcomes such as improving water quality and protecting habitats and wildlife within viable farm businesses. Applications from those with a background in agriculture or other sectors are very welcome, provided an understanding and interest in the fundamental principles of farmland conservation and ecology can be demonstrated.

  • You need to be a team player, and enjoy working closely with colleagues but also thrive when working independently and taking responsibility for your own projects
  • You will lead projects and effective working relationships that can made a real difference in the natural environment
  • You have strong communication skills including the ability to explain technical information and provide balanced and well-justified guidance and recommendations to a range of people
  • You have a track record of applying good judgement and decision-making to complex issues, negotiating, influencing and working in collaboration to find solutions.
  • You enjoy solving problems, taking on challenges and finding creative solutions
  • You don’t get flustered easily and if you don’t know the answer, you will dig until you find it
  • You pay attention to the detail. As far as you are concerned, anything worth doing, is worth doing right. You stay focussed and nothing falls through the cracks
  • You can think on your feet. You like learning new things and can learn quickly. When things change, you can adapt
  • You are motivated and driven. You like to volunteer for new challenges and make a difference

The post-holder will deliver a range of activities including:

  • Promoting nature conservation, protecting biodiversity and identifying opportunities to deliver better air and water quality and tackle the effects of climate change.
  • Working with farmers, landowners and other interested parties for the benefit of priority habitats and species, identifying issues, solutions and opportunities and facilitating delivery through agri-environment schemes (Countryside Stewardship and Higher-Level Stewardship extensions
  • Developing new Countryside Stewardship applications through habitat assessment and working closely with applicants. Drawing up proposals which meet the positive environmental goals of the scheme and practical farm business considerations, while working within rules and eligibility criteria.
  • Conducting field assessments and discussions with farmers and land managers to monitor the success of existing Stewardship agreements and help find solutions where there are problems
  • Working with farmers, landowners, public bodies and other land managers providing advice on how to manage and improve the quality of protected sites (SSSI, SPA, SAC) and working to fulfil our statutory duties towards these sites (e.g. consenting/assenting and other statutory casework)
  • Contributing to monitoring and condition assessments of protected sites
  • Supporting our response to casework in respect of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations, Environmental Damage Regulations and Agricultural EIA Regulation
  • Building and maintaining good relationships with partner organisations and stakeholders, collaborating to help secure better outcomes for the natural environment

We are looking for individuals who have a broad combination of technical skills set out below:

  • A relevant higher qualification (e.g. HND, level 5 NVQ, degree /postgraduate) in an environmental discipline /conservation/agriculture, OR significant practical experience of working in the environmental, conservation or farming sector;
  • A broad understanding of Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan, England’s biodiversity commitments and conservation legislation
  • An understanding of farm management, managing the land for environmental outcomes, farmland ecology and the links between them;
  • The ability to identify common plants and priority habitats
  • Experience of conducting fieldwork would be advantageous;
  • Some understanding of agri-environment schemes such as Environmental Stewardship or Countryside Stewardship would be advantageous, and you should at least have an awareness of the schemes that are currently available;
  • Knowledge of ecological principles and the ecology of one or more habitats or species group is desirable.

The role will require travel to sites, farm holdings and meetings across the Cheshire to Lancashire Area, so a full driving licence is essential.

Find out more & apply