Jobs with RFS Corporate Members

Woodland Officer / Woodland Creation Officer

Yorkshire and North East England

Job details

Location

Yorkshire / North East England

Salary

£34,080-£36,934

Hours of work

Full Time

Contract

Temporary

Closing date

May 27, 2024

Location

There are 3 roles based in Yorkshire and 2 roles based in North East England. For the Yorkshire roles, candidates will work in a hybrid homeworking fashion with Foss House, York as the reporting point. For the North East roles, candidates will work in a hybrid homeworking fashion with Tyneside House, Newcastle as the reporting point.

Length of Employment

1 x Permanent role and 4 x Fixed Term Appointments ending 31st March 2025 with the possibility but no guarantee of extension or permanency.

About the Job

The Forestry Commission are the Government’s forestry experts, and facilitate the protection, improvement, expansion and connection of England’s trees, woodlands and forestry sector. Never has there been a more important time for trees and forests to help tackle the climate emergency and provide a much-needed sanctuary for people and wildlife. Our Prime Minister and our government are committed to creating 30,000 hectares of woodland a year across the UK by the end of this Parliament. This acceleration in current planting rates in England will contribute to meeting the net-zero by 2050 ambitions, and to government’s wider environmental targets. This was supported by the announcement of £640m for a new Nature for Climate Fund ‘to support natural habitats like woodland and peat’.

The Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Forestry Commission have setup a joint tree planting programme for England to support the forestry sector, landowners and communities in the delivery of these ambitions.

If you are passionate about the role of forestry in creating a better future for England, and want to play a key part in realising that, we want to hear from you. By joining the Forestry Commission, you will become part of a team of passionate, committed colleagues, and be able to build on a wealth of expertise to take this ambitious work forward. You will be able to make your mark by helping the Forestry Commission to revolutionise how we work together and reach new stakeholders. Our staff engagement levels are consistently well above the Civil Service average and staff turnover is well below. We value our people, we look after them, and we will look after you. We hope you will join us for the challenge.

The Yorkshire and North East Area contains over 212,000 hectares of woodland ranging from important habitat networks of Ancient Woodlands through to large productive conifer forests. In the North East the predominant woodland type is conifer (64.5%) whereas in Yorkshire and the Humber broadleaves form the most significant component (41.5%). This diverse range of woodland types extends over 4 National Parks, 3 Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and through the urban woodland resource is also connected to Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. The Area Team operates from the Defra Office (Kings Pool) in York and the Environment Agency Office in Newcastle.

Job Description

We are seeking five dynamic individuals to join our team, with experience in forestry and/or land management, who are quick to learn and inspire and enthuse others. The Woodland Officer (WO) and Woodland Creation Officer (WCO) role can be seen as the ‘face’ of the Forestry Commission to landowners, managers and stakeholders. Each team member has their own geographic area of primary responsibility, enabling them to develop a strategic view of the local landscape, a network of local stakeholders and understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

The vacancies available are described in detail below.

Woodland Officer Role (2 positions available)

In your ‘patch’, you will be at the forefront of delivering the Forestry Commission’s incentives and regulations, and able to provide advice and support to the private forestry sector in addition to Local Authorities and Defra colleagues. Internal team working is also integral in the Woodland Officer role, for example across the Area Team (e.g. assisting others in ‘alleged unlicensed felling’ incidents) and the wider Forestry Commission (e.g. opportunity for review of national guidance and procedure). Through both, you will have the ability to assist the Forestry Commission build strong working relationships to help create and manage diverse, resilient multi-purpose woodlands.

The main job roles include: 1. Expand woodland cover:

  • Champion the multiple benefits of new woodland as business opportunities for land owner and as natural capital (including biodiversity, water quality, flood management, carbon sequestration/substitution, etc) for the wider environment and society;
  • Facilitate the design and delivery of new woodlands optimising the benefits they can deliver to the owner and as natural capital;
  • Administer the forestry Regulations relating to woodland creation (Environmental Impact Assessment); and
  • Administer/process applications for grants.

2. Protect our existing trees and woodlands:

  • Administer Forestry Regulations to include: i. Forestry Act – Felling Licences to ensure tree felling is carried out legally in accordance with the principles of the UK Forestry Standard as appropriate; ii. Environmental Impact Assessments – afforestation, deforestation, forest roads and forest quarries, and iii. Habitats Regulations – re forest operations within Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation;
  • Advise on the links with other legislation such as those pertaining to European Protected Species; and
  • Provide specialist advice to planning authorities re the impact of proposals on existing woodland and how new trees and woodland could be used to enhance new developments. 3. Improve the condition and resilience of our existing woodlands and wider treescape:
  • Champion the benefits of actively managed woodland;
  • Support woodland owners and managers in responding to key challenges of pests and diseases including Chalara ash dieback, Phytophthora ramorum, deer and grey squirrels;
  • Work to increase resilience within woodlands to the challenges of a changing climate; and
  • Facilitate closer working across the forestry sector – for instance between markets, contractors, managers, etc

4. Engaging partners, stakeholders and the public:

  • Encourage, enthuse and support key partners and stakeholders to help facilitate the expansion, protection, improvement and connection of our woodlands and treescape; and
  • Champion the many values of trees and woodland to the wider public helping them understand and appreciate the importance and values of active management.

Woodland Creation Officer (3 roles available)

The Woodland Creation Officer role ensures the delivery of Government’s woodland creation targets through the effective use of advice and incentives. The role provides an important interface between Forest Services and landowners and forestry agents, promoting, advising on, and helping to administer diverse woodland creation proposals. The post-holder will be expected to advocate the benefits of woodland creation and proactively communicate with and advise landowners and investors considering woodland creation. The post-holder will also understand and advise on the regulatory aspects of individual woodland creation applications where required, though the post does not have any direct regulatory remit.

Like the Woodland Officer role, this role has their own geographical ‘patch’ within the area. The post-holder will operate as part of the Area Delivery Teams, and also have close working links to the national Incentives Development team and the Promotion and Engagement workforce. They will work closely with the national policy team to ensure that woodland creation proposals meet the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard. Regular travel across the Yorkshire and the North East area and occasional overnight stays will be required.

The main job roles include:

  • Engaging and enthusing landowners on how new woodland can deliver their aspirations while also delivering multifunctional benefits to the environment, society and the economy;
  • Advising on funding options: grants, carbon funding, nitrate offsetting and sponsorship;
  • Explaining the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)’s woodland design and planning requirements;
  • Working as part of the wider Area teams to proactively identify and engage with landowners/agents with an interest in woodland creation;
  • Supporting landowners and forestry agents in identifying consultees, sources of information and relevant contacts to facilitate the preparation of high quality UKFS compliant woodland creation design plans;
  • Liaise with relevant stakeholders (tenants, NGO’s, Government organisations) to ensure plans take into account relevant views and issues;
  • Administration of woodland creation proposals and grant scheme applications;
  • Acting as the point of contact for Woodland Creation Planning Grant applications and general woodland creation enquiries;
  • Liaising with Area teams and colleagues in the Incentives Development Team over the processing of grants;
  • Advising the Incentives Development Manager and Admin Officer when applications are complete or need further input from either applicants or national colleagues;
  • Responding to queries on applications;
  • Liaising with statutory consultees and Defra-group colleagues over proposals, as appropriate.
  • Engaging as part of the Area team in routine activities and discussions including health and safety, team meetings, vision and culture and business change and improvement;
  • Communicating and sharing lessons learned and good practice on woodland creation proposals;
  • Leading and supporting local targeted initiatives aimed at promoting woodland creation opportunities in Yorkshire and the North East;
  • Developing and managing good working relationships with advisers and stakeholders;
  • Cultivating relationships with advisers and consultees, specifically encouraging and facilitating proposals being shared and discussed as early as possible with relevant stakeholders;
  • Presenting Government’s forestry policy clearly;
  • Requesting support from National Office and Area team colleagues as required.

Person Specification

Essential

  • Knowledge and experience of upland and/or lowland forestry
  • Degree/Higher Diploma in forestry / land management / countryside management or similar, and/or related experience in forestry / woodland practice.
  • Good interpersonal and influencing skills demonstrating the ability to build and maintain effective working relationships with internal colleagues and our customers.
  • Ability to prioritise and manage a varied workload.
  • Good computer skills with experience of MS Office and Excel
  • Ability to proactively deal with complex and contentious issues relating to people and woodland interests, leading to the delivery of project outcomes and development of work areas as necessary.

Desirable

  • Working knowledge of the UK Forestry Standard
  • Experience and knowledge of forestry regulations, incentives and tree health
  • Experience of promoting, designing and establishing new woodland
  • Experience of working in partnership across delivery organisations, including with stakeholders who may have conflicting views or objectives
  • Experience in facilitating market growth in the forestry sector
  • Membership of (or working towards) a relevant professional institute (e.g. Institute of Chartered Foresters)
  • Evidence of maintaining Continuous Professional Development.

Full job details and how to apply.