Senior Ecologist

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Due to unprecedented demand, we are currently looking to recruit a new Senior Ecologist into
the well-resourced, well supported, and friendly Natural Environment Team at Greater Cambridge
Shared Planning. This addition will complete a team of three ecologists for the LPA. Our team
are busy ensuring that the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain is on track, enhancing our natural
environment through the planning process.

The successful candidate will be joining one of the largest shared planning services in the
country and in the dynamic area of South Cambridgeshire and the Cambridge City, where
development pressures are high, but where the aspirations of Councillors to protect and enhance
our biodiversity are also high. Both Councils declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, with South
Cambridgeshire District Council adopting a Doubling Nature Strategy in Feb 2021, and a
Biodiversity SPD in Feb 2022. The council sees itself as a “green to the core” council and is
eying ambitious targets for Biodiversity Net Gain in its developing Local Plan. The council
also places a great deal of emphasis on staff wellbeing and CPD.

You will sit within an experienced, and motivated team who ensure that planning and development
does not damage our remaining biodiversity but enhances it and you will be working as part of
the Greater Cambridge Planning Service, a joint offering of South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge
City, coming together to make a difference to spatial planning and biodiversity.

To successfully deliver this role, we would need you to provide sound advice and guidance on
planning applications and be able to demonstrate the following attributes:

Essential Criteria

A degree in Ecology or a related subject.

A minimum of 3 years’ experience as Consultant Ecologist or Local Government Ecologist and
knowledge of Ecology within the UK planning system ideally including:

  • An understanding of Biodiversity Net Gain and the use of the DEFRA Metric
  • An understanding of the relevant National Planning Policy Framework
  • Knowledge of Habitat Regs Assessments and Appropriate Assessments
  • Knowledge of EIA Scoping and Screening opinions
  • Knowledge of Environmental Statements for applications that qualify for EIAs
  • Experience of conducting protected species surveys
  • Experience of evaluating reports
  • A familiarity of GIS 
  • Working knowledge of key Judicial Review decisions and how they affect the way planning
    application are dealt with by the planning system (Woolly vs Cheshire East Borough Council, and
    Morge vs Hampshire County Council for example).
  • The ability to handle complex workloads and deliver to deadlines
  • Experience of writing reports for a non-expert audience
  • Ability to make key decisions quickly and efficiently
  • Good time management skills
  • Ability to work alone and as part of a team
  • Excellent communication skills


  • 5 years (or more) experience as a Local Government Ecologist
  • Local knowledge of the Greater Cambridge area
  • Professional membership of CIEEM or equivalent (we can support this)
  • Knowledge of District Level Licensing for great crested newts

We anticipate that this post will begin ASAP.

We are currently taking part in a 4 day working week (32 hours per week) to improve recruitment
and retention and support the wellbeing of our colleagues. You can read more about it
here 4-day week trial or talk to us about the detail of this flexible benefit we have been offering.

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Daniel Weaver (Principal Ecologist)
on 01954 713402, or John Cornell Natural Environment Team Leader on 07766114267

Closing date: 9am 11 June 2024

Interview Dates: To be confirmed

Please note your application will be reviewed prior to the closing date, interviews may be
scheduled ahead of this but the advert will remain open for applications until 11 June 2024.

Find out more & apply

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