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Countryside Officer (GCN District Licensing Scheme)

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction

The role of the GCN District Licensing Officer is to understand the extent, scope, and detail of the District Licensing scheme. You will raise awareness of the scheme within the local planning authority, understand planning and licensing requirements, and monitor and advise on compliance and enforcement measures.

You will work closely with developers, private sector ecologists, and Council colleagues to provide a complete package of support on the operation of the District Licence for GCN, covering everything from identifying GCN constraints within planning applications, to supporting the creation of compensatory habitats, and providing ad-hoc guidance to both developers and operational colleagues.

You will benefit from working within a tight-knit and likeminded team of ecological and environmental professionals within the Council and gain access to a network of peers and industry leading experts through collaboration with the NatureSpace Partnership. You will work largely independently as either a home-worker with regular travel to Milton Keynes and nationally as required, or as a site-based officer.

The role provides the opportunity to undertake work across development, conservation, and species monitoring contexts. You will have the opportunity to undertake regular CPD and expand your skillset by consulting on wider protected species and biodiversity considerations in response to planning applications and the operational works of the Council.

Main Responsibility

  • Provide guidance and support to planning officers, developers, and ecologists in relation to the Great Crest Newt District Licencing Scheme and act as the main point of liaison with the licence administrators, the NatureSpace Partnership.  Ensure the correct processes are followed and that obligations of the District Licence Scheme are met by applicants and the planning authority. 
  • Issue licence authorisations under the district licensing scheme in accordance with the obligations and processes of the scheme and undertake monitoring of compliance with the requirements of the licence. Maintain internal project tracking and undertake reporting of licensing outcomes in the borough when required for a range of partners and purposes.
  • Maintain consistent and clear communication with the NatureSpace Partnership on scheme monitoring, best practice, and opportunities for collaborative projects, and report to Council departments and Members as necessary.
  • Respond to planning consultations in relation to the council policies on ecology and biodiversity – providing clear and pragmatic advice on ecological considerations including mitigation, enhancement, and biodiversity net-gain.
  • Work with internal and external partners to identify opportunities for Great Crested Newt habitat creation, restoration, and enhancement. Provide ad-hoc operational advice to Council departments and sub-contractors in relation to Great Crested Newts and wider ecological considerations.
  • Plan and coordinate monitoring of Great Crested Newt distribution within the Council’s portfolio of landscape assets.

The Ideal Candidate

  • A relevant degree in ecology or environmental management.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the UK planning system, including ecological impact assessment and/or biodiversity in planning.
  • Knowledge of European protected species legislation, licensing, planning, and licensing policies.
  • A genuine enthusiasm for ecology and conservation in the UK.
  • A full driving licence with access to a car for business travel.
  • Highly organised, methodical, and conscientious - able to juggle and prioritise multiple cases, enquiries, and tasks, and work efficiently to meet tight deadlines.
  • An excellent communicator with good inter-personal skills - able to liaise proactively and confidently with developers, consultants (e.g., ecologists, planners), regulatory authorities, NGO partners and colleagues.
  • Highly literate, able to prepare documents quickly and diligently to a high standard, following defined processes, protocols, and guidance.
  • Excellent I.T. skills
  • Self-motivated and independent - able to work flexibly and with minimal supervision.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as necessary

Package Description

​We are really proud of the benefits we are able to offer our staff here at Milton Keynes Council, including:-

  • Local Government Pension Scheme, considered to be one of the best employer contribution rates of 18.8%
  • 27 days annual leave per year in addition to statutory and public holidays, rising to 31 days after 5 years
  • Holiday Purchase Scheme
  • Our Professional Development Centre provides access to courses such as in-house management development programmes endorsed by the Institute of Leadership, Apprenticeship Programmes (junior and senior), coaching and mentoring and access to our Smarter Learning portal
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Health Cashplan
  • MK Advantage benefits package – a range of savings on a wide range of retail, leisure and entertainment products and services such as Pizza Express, M&S, B&Q, John Lewis and Arriva Travel.
  • SmartGo – Aimed at encouraging low-carbon transport and healthy lifestyle with discounted travel e.g. Halfords, Arriva, Europcar, National Railcards and Stagecoach.
  • Homebuy Scheme (for eligible roles)
  • Smarter working which provides the opportunity to work from various locations including from home for a proportion of your role (subject to business needs)
  • A full range of family friendly policies including enhanced Maternity, Adoption and Paternity entitlements
  • Childcare Subsidy

About the Company

Milton Keynes is a diverse, welcoming, and expanding place, built on smart ideas with even bigger plans for the future. We have world class attractions, beautiful open spaces, and a great standard of living.

Milton Keynes Council is one of the largest employers in the region, making a difference every day for local people. We’re responsible for all local government services in MK including education, housing, highways, and social services - around 240 services in all.

Our values are to be dedicated, respectful, and collaborative. If this sounds like you, join us for a stimulating and fulfilling career measured on results, and a rewarding work-life balance.

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