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Planning Principal Adviser - Major Casework (Ref: 5720)

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate, CSR, EMS
Location England (Yorkshire & Humberside) - UK, England (North East) - UK, England (North West) - UK, England (West Midlands) - UK, England (East Midlands) - UK, England (East Anglia) - UK, England (South West) - UK, England (South East) - UK, England (South Central) - UK, England (London & Greater) - UK
Salary Additional Information Salary: £48,434 / Permanent
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior Level
Deadline 01/03/2024
Company Name Natural England
Contact Name
Natural England logo
Directory Entry : We're the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. We help to protect and restore our natural world. We were established by an Act of Parliament in 2006. Our purpose is to help conserve, enhance and manage the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development. Our vision is ‘Thriving Nature for people and planet’. We aim to achieve this through our mission ‘Building partnerships for Nature’s recovery’. You can see the Natural England vacancies on the Civil Service job site. You can slso view their jobs and similar roles at environmentjobs.co.uk
Also Listing:

A Civil Service Pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Contract type: Permanent

Working pattern: Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Location: National 

The team

Do you want to make a difference for people and nature? Do you have a passion for securing significant environmental gains in the present and the future? Do you enjoy working in a team? Can you see yourself advising 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. 

The priority work Natural England is delivering includes:

  • Establishing a Nature Recovery Network to help wildlife thrive.
  • Providing ways for people to better connect with nature, including green social prescribing.
  • Advising on plans for new developments to maximise gains for nature.
  • Monitoring environmental changes to identify and help reduce the effects of climate change.
  • Working with farmers and landowners to develop greener food production methods.
  • We are the Government’s advisor for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, an ambitious vision which brings new opportunities to protect and enhance and to achieve real outcomes for the environment. 

See more about the work of Natural England at:

Natural England staff are inclusive, motivated, and ambitious to achieve results for our environment, and for everyone.  We welcome and encourage applications from all communities and we operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for the role. 

Wherever possible we will accommodate requests for both full-time and part-time hours and other flexible working patterns to help employees achieve a good work/life balance and maintain their health and wellbeing. 

Summary of the Role

This is an exciting opportunity to make a strong contribution to Natural England’s engagement in planning work, including some of the most important development proposals in the country.  The role has a particular focus on advising Natural England’s operations teams on our engagement with Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, or NSIPs.  NSIPs are major planning schemes that present both challenges and significant opportunities for the natural environment.  They cover a wide range of proposals, from renewable energy to water resources, ports, airports and major new road and rail schemes. 

Working with colleagues in both your team and across the organisation, you will help ensure that the natural environment is fully considered through the planning process, seeking to maximise gains for nature.  Our aim is to ensure that all development is truly sustainable, not only protecting what we have but also contributing to nature recovery. 

Role Description

This exciting role will work within the Flexible Casework Team in Natural England.  The team is focused on managing and advising on a portfolio of the highest priority development and infrastructure casework in Area Teams, and this role will have a particular focus on providing advice on NSIPs.  Through engaging with stakeholders on developments in more non-statutory pre-application work we will deliver better environmental outcomes and customer service.  As other higher priority casework emerges the Team’s portfolio will flex and change to ensure we are managing the highest priority casework.  The team will be involved in our normal cost recovery processes to support its costs. 

The Principal Adviser will work with our Area Teams on high priority major development and infrastructure casework on land and sea, and play an important part in shaping Natural England’s response.  The post-holder will provide leadership and oversight to the Area Teams, enabling them to respond to planning consultations/ marine licence applications and associated environmental assessments, and provide planning advice, both internally and externally.  The Principal Adviser will work across a number of internal teams to ensure that all aspects of casework are well managed, including risks, legal challenges, communications and stakeholder management.  You will liaise, as required, with senior management to ensure the organisation is well sighted on relevant casework and associated risks. 

The post-holder will work with our planning Advisers and national Specialists to contribute to wider networks, building effective working relationships with national teams and other Area Teams.  As a Principal Adviser you will fulfil a key leadership role and will be expected to be a role model for Natural England’s ways of working. 

Key Accountabilities

  • Work collaboratively across the organisation to establish the Flexible Casework Team as a positive resource for all teams handling and supporting complex and high priority casework.
  • Provide expert technical advice to operations teams on casework and spatial plans, including environmental impact and habitats regulations assessments, with a particular focus on NSIP cases.
  • Providing guidance and support in the resolution of specific case issues/ thematic areas.
  • Providing guidance and support to ensure that across the team, cost recovery practices are being used to ensure that the team is effectively supporting its costs.
  • Quality assure and support major infrastructure and other planning casework, as set out in Natural England’s non-financial scheme of delegation.
  • Work with project teams to support the effective case handling and delivery of timely and evidence-based advice, attending meetings and public inquiries/hearings as appropriate.
  • Manage risks and resolve issues as they arise, escalating and briefing upwards as required.
  • Oversee and proactively engage with key partners and customers in case handling to ensure effective communications and excellent stakeholder relationships.
  • Work with partners and national staff to identify and disseminate lessons learnt that can improve future casework delivery.
  • Develop the capability and capacity of case teams through mentoring, coaching, and contributing to relevant learning and development opportunities, especially in the delivery of Natural England’s advice on NSIPs. 

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Specific knowledge, skills and experience required:

  • The ability to see the big picture, so you can steer sustainable development work within the context of the organisation’s vision, mission and aims, and help colleagues understand how their work relates to and supports this.
  • The ability to build collaborative relationships with colleagues (both internally and externally) to help make things happen and deliver outcomes, including with senior leaders.
  • Experience of leading significant change, and maximising resource efficiency and effectiveness through a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Ability to direct, coach and support staff to deliver on sustainable development objectives.
  • The ability to resolve problems and manage risks that requires significant levels of judgement and interpretation with innovative solutions. 
  • Excellent planning, prioritisation, and organisational ability to manage complex delivery areas with competing demands.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills.
  • Robust and current knowledge of relevant legislation and guidance and how to apply and interpret it to NE’s activities and duties.
  • Strong understanding of environmental protection in England and the legislation that underpins them.
  • Demonstrable experience of UK ecology with a broad understanding of priority habitats and species.
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