See job eligibility requirements: Freshwater Senior Adviser

Natural England

United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Reference number: 175593

Salary: £32,438

Grade: Senior Executive OfficerSenior Adviser

Contract type: Permanent

Type of role: Environment and Sustainability

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

Number of posts: 5


East Midlands (region), East of England (region), London (region), North East (region), North West (region), South East (region), South West (region), West Midlands (region), Yorkshire and the Humber (region)

About the job


This position is based National

Job description

We are the Government’s statutory advisor for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This describes an ambitious vision, bringing new opportunities to protect and enhance, and to achieve real outcomes for the environment.

At Natural England, we love what we do. We’re here to make sure people and nature can thrive. A healthy natural environment is fundamental to our wellbeing, prosperity and happiness – that’s why we collaborate with scientists, lawyers, project managers and experts to implement environmental policy and shape decisions.

We work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and customers on a huge range of projects, from influencing construction, advising farmers and landowners how they can manage their land in a sustainable way for the benefit of the environment, gathering and analysing environmental data, and carrying out vital statutory duties. Across the country, we’re helping nature to support people and our planet.

We are focusing our efforts on six key programmes:

Greener Farming and Fisheries – supporting those who manage land and sea to operate in harmony with the environment
Sustainable Development – creating great places for people to live and work
Connecting People with Nature – promoting health and wellbeing through the great outdoors
Resilient Landscapes and Seas – protecting and restoring wildlife and natural beauty for future generations
Specialist Science and Evidence – an evidence-led organisation that is driven by science
Managing the Organisation – gathering business data to enable decision making

Natural England staff are inclusive, motivated and ambitious to achieve results for our environment, 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 Natural England accommodates 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.

From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in Natural England is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. Where appropriate there will be offers of training under our apprenticeship schemes.

See more about the work of Natural England at:

As the freshwater agenda continues to grow within Natural England, we are looking to recruit a number of staff to further develop our freshwater related delivery across England. There are a number of roles across Natural England in both local, geographical based teams and in national teams. We are looking for ambitious and inspiring people, who identify and adopt improvements enabling others to act to deliver great outcomes for all.

Area Team Based Roles

The roles will be focused around providing leadership and coordinating the delivery of a breath of work within the freshwater agenda within a local team or providing leadership and support across a narrower freshwater water area across several area teams. Inputting into team planning and engagement of the wider leadership of teams including Team Leaders and Managers around the work. The post holder will work closely with other senior advisers, both locally and nationally, to help contribute to the wider strategic water programme in NE and the local area team Nature Recovery ambitions. You will support the advisers and lead advisers across the geographical area of the post to deliver their work, providing technical leadership and effective networks to support this. You will need to work closely with a range of partners and stakeholders providing strategic engagement and relationship management – such as with the Environment Agency, Local Authorities, landowners and the Water Companies.

The exact requirements of the role will vary depending upon the team. It is expected that candidates will have excellent understanding of freshwater issues. The person should be knowledgeable on water quality and/or resources and how the protected sites system works to be confident to support casework across the team.

National Team Based Roles

The national roles will be working with a wide variety of other Senior colleagues across national directorates including NE programmes and Projects, as well as area-based teams engaged in the water agenda. You will be working with a variety of partners, and stakeholders such as Defra, EA, Ofwat, and water companies. The roles will generally be focused on the strategic leadership and coordination of delivery within a freshwater thematic area, across NE.

The exact requirements of the role will vary depending upon the directorate and team; however it is expected that candidates will have an excellent understanding of freshwater related issues. The person should be knowledgeable on water quality and/or water resources issues and how the protected sites system works to be confident in support casework related queries, supporting policy development and strategic planning projects.

National team roles can be done from any NE office.

You can view a map of our office locations here:

Generic Key Tasks:

• Provision of oversight and direction of the team’s or NE’s engagement and input into Strategic Water Planning Identifying and securing opportunities to address the challenges affecting our water environment e.g. climate change, drought, flooding, abstraction, pollution
• Work with colleagues from across the business, both local and national, and lead on technical input into major water projects,
• Strategic engagement and relationship management of key partners (such as the EA, Water companies etc.) to maximize joined up and effective delivery of opportunities.
• Seek innovative and novel solutions to long standing intractable site-based issues working with other to implement;
• Champion Nature based water solutions and put our water programme at the heart of Nature Recovery;
• Build and lead effective networks to facilitate and influence thinking in this area, sharing information across the team or thematic area;
• Provide risk oversight and act as the escalation point for high risk casework in the local area team or strategic issues in England in accordance with NE’s schemes of delegation;
• Anticipate casework and input demand and work to ensure resource is allocated accordingly.
• Where required in the role lead the development of our chargeable services and support delivery of chargeable advice for our freshwater work;
• Provide technical leadership on hydrological issues, maintaining an overview of the delivery of water related Protected Sites casework, ensuring our advice is timely, professional and robust and complies with current guidance;
• Provide mentoring and training to grow the capability and capacity of our teams to provide technical water advice, and create resilience in this work area;
• Engaging with our sustainable development programme to embed opportunities to deliver water outcomes in strategic plans e.g. net gain, and maximize the use of these tools to support our water ambitions.
• Support our freshwater Lead Advisers and Advisers with;

o Technical advice on water related consultations
o Completion of Diffuse Water Pollution Plans with the Environment Agency and embed the roll-out of their actions.
o Provision of Discretionary Advice Service (DAS) work related to statutory water company plans (drought plan, water resource management plan and business plan) in particular Drought Plan Environmental Assessment Reports (EARS).

• Work with others to input or develop protected sites monitoring strategy, which integrates all aspects of our work;
• Provide oversight of Water Environment Grant projects across the Area Teams, supporting Lead Advisers and acting as link with national leads;

Technical/specialist knowledge

• Familiarity and experience of Strategic Water Planning, e.g. River Basin Management Plans, Flood and Coastal Risk Management, Diffuse Water Pollution Plans, Water Level Management Plans, RAPID and Price Review 19/24.
• Understanding of the challenges affecting our water environment e.g. climate change, drought, flooding, abstraction, pollution etc.
• Understand how an ecosystem functions, recognising and advising on impacts which could affect the resilience of an ecosystem (including ecological networks)
• Understand the use of Habitats Regulations and give appropriate consent, assent and advice
• Identify and apply relevant planning and environmental legislation, policies and processes to deliver effective and proportionate evidence-based solutions and advice
• Understand the environmental value of designated sites and explain that to partners, stakeholders and customers.
• Knowledge of freshwater ecology and systems including open waters, rivers, standing waters and estuarine environments
• Knowledge of wetland ecology and systems including bogs, fens, reed beds and grazing marshes
• Knowledge of water supply, quality and resource protection issues, including catchment-sensitive farming
• Knowledge of Hydrology and hydrogeology
• Ability to oversee complex technical cases/issues in the team

A Driving Licence is not essential for the role

How to apply

We’ll assess you against the competencies below during the selection process. When completing the application form you should present relevant examples using the STAR format. STAR stands for:

• Situation
• Task
• Action
• Result

Examples should be given in no more than 250 words for each competency. Please ensure you read the Candidate Information Pack before you begin completing the application form.


Competence 1 – Professional competency
Detail: Putting People at the Heart of the Environment
• Listen to and understand our diverse partners and customers so that you achieve the best outcomes for them and Natural England. (Practitioner)
• Nurture trusting partnerships and collaborate to achieve pragmatic outcomes that help deliver Natural England’s vision, mission and aims. (Practitioner)

Competence 2 – Professional competency
Detail: Personal Effectiveness
• Make and explain objective decisions which combine your professional judgement and evidence. (Expert)
• Be ambitious, identify and adopt ways to make improvements in your team and throughout the organisation and inspire others to act. (Practitioner)

Competence 3 – Professional competency
Detail: Work delivery
• See the big picture so you can set your team’s work within the context of the organisation’s vision, mission and aims, and help them understand how their work relates to and supports this. (Practitioner)
• Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines. (Expert)

Competence 4 – Professional competency
Detail: Creating resilient landscapes and seas
• Identify and apply relevant planning and environmental legislation, policies, and processes to deliver effective and proportionate evidence-based solutions and advice.(Practitioner)
•Understand how an ecosystem functions, recognising and advising on impacts which could affect the resilience of an ecosystem (including ecological networks). (Practitioner)

Competence 5 – Professional competency
Detail: Technical Skills /Specialist Knowledge – essential
(There is no requirement to use STAR format to demonstrate this competency)
• Experience of working on and within relevant environmental and water legislation, policy and governance frameworks.
• Understanding and experience of the challenges affecting our water environment e.g. climate change, drought, flooding, abstraction, pollution etc. as well as the wider environmental opportunities.
• Understand and advise on appropriate management techniques to maintain, enhance or restore the condition of freshwater and freshwater related habitats or systems.


Please refer to Job Description


• 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

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Further information on nationality requirements

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

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name : Helen Rawson
Email : [email protected]
Telephone : 07795265508
Recruitment team :
Email : [email protected]

Further information


Candidate Pack Natural England v1.5 Opens in new window(docx, 1192kB)




IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development