Jobs with RFS Corporate Members

Woodland Officer X2

West Sussex / West East Sussex

Job details


West Sussex and East West Sussex


£34,080 - £36,934

Hours of work

Flexible Working



Closing date

June 9, 2024


Based at our offices in either Bucks Horn Oak, Worthing or Bedgebury. These posts will cover Eastern West Sussex and Western East Sussex.

About the Job

Job Summary

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 as part of the Environmental Improvement Plan to increasing the tree canopy cover across England from the current 14.5% to at least 16.5% by 2050 – this means 34,000 ha of new tree cover by 2028. 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 in the 2021 budget of £640m for a new Nature for Climate Fund ‘to support natural habitats like woodland and peat’ and the publication of the England Tree Action Plan.

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

Forestry Commission will lead the delivery of the following parts of the tree-planting programme:

  • Developing sector capacity.
  • Woodland creation on public land.
  • Woodland creation on private land.

If you are passionate about the role of trees, woods and 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.

Job Description

We are seeking a dynamic individual with experience in forestry and/or land management, who is quick to learn and inspire and enthuse others.

The Woodland Officer role can be seen as the ‘face’ of the Forestry Commission to landowners, managers and stakeholders. Each Woodland Officer 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 an understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

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’ investigations) 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.

There are two posts available: Eastern West Sussex (35.2 hours per week) and West East Sussex (44 hours per week).

The substantive offices will be as follows: Bucks Horn Oak or Worthing (for the West Sussex post) OR Bedgebury (for the East Sussex post). If you live within that area then you have the opportunity to work in a blended manner directly from your home, once you have become fully established in the role.

New Woodland Officers are expected to attend your substantive office 2 to 3 days per week to allow you to learn the role from managers and colleagues.

When fully established we would expect you to spend 1-2 days per week in their respective office. If your home lies out with your work area you will be expected to travel to your work area or office in your own time and cost.

Please note, this is an operational post. The post holder will work 44 hours per week (West East Sussex) or 35.2 hours per week (East West Sussex).


Champion the multiple benefits of new woodland as business opportunities for landowner 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.

Protect our existing trees and woodlands:

  • Administering Forestry Regulations including:
  • Forestry Act – Felling Licences to ensure tree felling is carried out legally in accordance with the principles of the UK Forestry Standard;
  • Environmental Impact Assessments – afforestation, deforestation, forest roads and forest quarries;
  • Habitats Regulations – re forest operations within and/or impacting 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.

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.

Engaging partners, stakeholders and the public:

  • Encourage, enthuse and support key partners and stakeholders to help facilitate the expansion, protection and improvement 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.

We are seeking two Woodland Officers who will cover one of the following geographic areas:

  • Western East Sussex (Wealden, Lewes and Brighton & Hove)
  • Eastern West Sussex (Horsham and Mid Sussex)

Person Specification


  • Forestry or land management-based degree (or equivalent qualification) and/or significant forestry or land management experience.
  • 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.

Please clearly demonstrate how the above apply to you throughout your application. Failure to do so will mean that your application is automatically sifted out.


  • Experience of practical woodland management.
  • Experience and knowledge of forestry regulations, incentives and tree health.
  • Experience in promoting, designing and establishing new woodland.
  • Experience working in partnership across delivery organisations.
  • Experience in facilitating market growth in the forestry sector.
  • Experience in supporting integrated land/woodland management.
  • Practitioner-level understanding of landscape.
  • 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 Apply Here.