Water Framework Directive Specialist (Principal Consultant)

Ricardo Energy & Environment

Manchester, UK 🇬🇧

London, UK 🇬🇧

Sheffield, UK 🇬🇧

Bristol, UK 🇬🇧

Principal Consultant: Water Framework Directive Specialist

Location:  Manchester, London, Sheffield, Bristol

Salary: £44,000 – £55,000

Who we are:

Ricardo is a leading sustainability consultancy combining water and environmental management, energy, climate change and chemical risk expertise with strong IT and economics capability. Operating in the UK and across the world, we work in partnership with our customers to help transform the way they work, empowering business leaders with award winning consultancy advice. With unrivalled sector insight and a reputation for producing innovative solutions, we offer a stimulating and rewarding environment in which to work.

Within the water and environment practice at Ricardo we offer a comprehensive range of specialist services within the water management and environmental consultancy sector.  One of our core areas of expertise lies in supporting water companies to ensure that they are environmentally compliant. Ricardo has a strong track record of completing the component of parts of environmental appraisals (i.e. Strategic Environmental Appraisal (SEA), Habitats Regulation Assessments (HRA), Water Framework Directive (WFD) and more recently Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital) and providing regulatory advice and support to ensure our clients achieve regulatory compliance.  We are both nationally and internationally recognised for our expertise in water resources and water quality management, planning and overseeing complex and sensitive projects. Our skills have been utilised by a wide range of clients notably the UK water companies as well as other private and public infrastructure organisations and developers.

The Role:

Ricardo’s water and environment practice has an extensive and rapidly expanding water resources planning and environmental management projects’ portfolio centred on the UK water companies. We have been successful of winning numerous water company environment-related frameworks across England and Wales.  We are therefore looking for an experienced and expert water resources specialist with a strong understanding of environmental assessment to join our growing team. The successful candidate will need to demonstrate excellent technically skills in terms of delivering and managing all elements of environmental appraisals.  We are looking for someone who can work as part of a multi-disciplinary team of experts to assess the water resources, hydro-ecology, geomorphology and water quality implications of proposed water resource schemes and drought management measures including strategic water resource options and plans.  The successful individual will be expected to be able to demonstrate a relevant technical background with the ability to lead for example key WINEP scheme appraisals and to support the development of Water Resource Management and Drought Plans that are environmentally sound.  The successful individual will be expected to provide a technical lead to a portfolio projects, as well as direct, coach and mentor junior staff on all technical aspects of environmental appraisal to support. The post- holder will also be expected to provide technical input into proposals and to win work under our frameworks and beyond. The post holder must understand the links between appraisal elements, have a strong background in hydro-ecology, interpretation of WFD and an analytical mind.

Key accountabilities:

  • Direct and provide technical input into a wide range of water resource management and drought management environmental assessments and risk analysis.
  • Work effectively with water companies, regulators, planners, developers, design engineers, contractors to achieve positive outcomes for water resource strategies and scheme developments.
  • Build and maintain relationships with our clients through project and bidding activities.
  • Develop/recommend innovative solutions and approaches to answer client’s problems.
  • Direct technical inputs from junior staff and sub-consultants.
  • Lead, mentor and coach junior colleagues in all aspects of water resources hydrology and planning related to environmental appraisal to support asset planning
  • Drive innovation within the field of water resource environmental appraisal to meet future challenges faced by our clients and identify opportunities for develop our services through internal cross-practice working.

Key competencies and experience: 

  • Strong track record in water consultancy and working directly with UK water companies.
  • Understanding technically how environmental appraisal supports best environmental and customer outcomes related water resources planning outcomes and can identify risks and opportunities. 
  • Understanding UK water policy and legislation, water resources management and the how the Water Framework Directive is integral to/embedded with environmental assessments.
  • Taking the lead technically on complex environmental appraisal water resource projects.
  • Regulatory and stakeholder communications and management.
  • Able to interpret models, review and analyse statistical trends.
  • A first degree in a relevant environmentally-based subject with a strong understanding of the links between hydrology, ecology and water resource planning.

Skills and behaviours:

  • Excellent team working and communication skills with a close attention to detail
  • Enthusiastic and self-motivated to thrive in this busy and demanding environment
  • Good IT experience (including ideally understanding of relevant software/models)
  • Innovative thinking
  • Excellent report writing and bid-writing
  • Excellent communicator
  • Ability to give presentations at all levels including to regulators and external stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Clean driving licence

Working here:

This is an exciting and rewarding place to work, with the opportunity to make a difference. You will have a fantastic opportunity to develop your career with us through our broad range of projects, mentoring opportunities and a personalised approach to your learning and development.

We are always keen to hear from people who have drive, ambition and a flair for innovative thinking.

We have an ambitious diversity, equality and inclusion approach.

Our People are important to us and we take pride in our wellbeing programmes and policies that support individuals including flexible working, carers policy, mental health first aiders and readily available support through our extensive Employee Assistance programme.


Once you have submitted your application a member of our Recruitment Team will be in touch. Please be aware that the timing can vary dependent on the volume of applications that we receive for each role and in some cases, we may start to review applications prior to the closing date.