The team

The North West is home to two major cities and some of the most stunning countryside and natural environments in the world. Natural England’s Cheshire to Lancashire Team provides environmental leadership in an area of 6 million people with major urban areas of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region and magnificent natural assets including the Pennine and Bowland hills, the wetlands of Cheshire and Great Manchester and the wildlife-rich Irish Sea coast.

All team members work in partnership with communities, businesses, land managers and other partners to build a resilient natural environment that contributes to a healthy, prosperous place to live and work, contributing to of Defra’s 25 year Environment Plan

Job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic ecologist to work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including landowners, land managers, utility companies, NGO’s, local authorities and other interested parties, to help develop and deliver a Nature Recovery Network across Cheshire and Greater Manchester. This role will champion and deliver the Integrated Wetland Network within the Natural Course EU Life IP programme identifying opportunities to restore, protect and enhance the existing network of protected sites including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and those with European Designations, whilst developing opportunities to ensure that key stepping stones and bottlenecks in the network are overcome. You will also contribute more widely to the Natural Course project providing project monitoring/management support as required and will be required to be a flexible team player to able support wider team objectives as required.

This post will be primarily focused on the Cheshire Meres and Mosses and The Great Manchester Wetlands NIA including the Manchester Mosslands. It may also cover other parts of the Cheshire to Lancashire area when required and may also include related work on river environments where these are important for connectivity and continuity.

Reference number: 68856
Salary: £25,215
Grade: Higher Executive Officer, Lead Adviser
Contract type: Permanent
Business area: Other
Type of role: Environment and Sustainability
Working pattern: Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Key tasks and areas of work will include:

  • Refine and develop as required the Integrated Wetland Network to use as an evidence base to inform the Nature Recovery Network, influence planning policy, target wetland and woodland net gain and fluvial natural capital benefits.
  • Develop user acceptance testing to ensure that we have a robust methodology that will allow the network to be incorporated into strategic planning frameworks and be used as the sound basis for planning advice.
  • Ground truth the model to ensure feasibility of delivery and develop pilot projects to test deliverability of the model both in respect of protected site enhancement and opportunity areas.
  • Develop a pipeline of projects and identify associated funding opportunities through working in partnership with wider stakeholders. This will be particularly key in bridging the gap in the network between Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
  • Develop a stakeholder engagement plan to help support the delivery of the network.
  • Support the Senior Advisor working on the Greater Manchester Local Nature Recovery Pilot including the potential new urban National Nature Reserve.
  • Provide support to the Cheshire Hub Lead advisor in the development of Natural Capital approaches to farmland conservation.
  • Undertake project management and monitoring to support the Integrated Wetland Network project as well as wider project management to support the Natural Course Team Leader as required.
  • Develop a pipeline of Phase 4 Natural course projects and the ‘After Life’ succession plan.

Skills and knowledge:

  • Understand and apply the relevant environmental legislation to your work and specifically an understanding of WFD and the mechanisms that can be applied to support its delivery.
  • Have a good understanding of Ecological Network Modelling techniques including the ability to use ArcGIS and ideally Condatis, Biomod and R programming.
  • Have good wetland and fresh water ecological skills as well as an understanding of hydrological systems including lowland raised bog and river systems.
  • A good understanding of habitat management will be required as well as the ability to take a practical and innovative approach to problem solving
  • Recognise, identify and interpret environmental features such as priority habitats and SSSI features.
  • Full driving licence essential and willingness to travel regularly across Cheshire and Greater Manchester.


Competence 1 – Professional competency

Creating resilient Landscapes and Seas (Practitioner)

  • Understand and apply relevant legislation, policy and governance frameworks to your work.
  • Understand and apply knowledge of wetland and fresh water habitats, hydrological systems and Water Framework Directive to your work.

Competence 2 – Professional competency

Personal Effectiveness – communication (Practitioner)

  • Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively partners and land managers in a practical, helpful, trustworthy and impartial way.
  • Address challenging issues and manage conflict.

Competence 3 – Professional competency

Putting people at the Heart of the Environment (Practitioner)

  • Work proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders and partners to identify and secure opportunities to deliver gains for people and nature.
  • Demonstrate ability negotiate and influence in a well-informed and timely way (in line with customer service standards) to achieve pragmatic outcomes.

Competence 4 – Professional competency

Work Delivery (Practitioner)

  • Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines.
  • Consider the financial implications of your work and seek income from our products and services.

Competence 5 – Professional competency

Working Safely (Practitioner)

  • Demonstrate ability to apply risk assessment and safe working practices to everything you do.


Please refer to Job Description


Full driving license


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

Please refer to Job Description
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Job contact:

Name: Petula Neilson
Email: Petula.Neilson@naturalengland.org.uk
Telephone: 02080261167

Recruitment team:

Email: defra-recruitment-enquiries@gov.sscl.com