Chemical pollution is one of the top five drivers of biodiversity loss. The UK is setting out its overall approach to chemical management which requires delivering the policy and regulatory decisions across several regimes to ensure UK standards in the environment are protected, and trade systems influenced to support higher standards and sustainability.
Natural England has a distinct role in providing advice on overarching biodiversity-related outcomes for decisions around chemicals, particularly in relation to risks and impacts on protected habitats and species, and in the wider terrestrial environment. We provide technical input into wider work around chemicals, e.g. the UK Chemicals Strategy and development of chemicals monitoring and indicators under the 25 Year Environment Plan & the Pesticide National Action Plan.
Our work also supports integrated pesticide management (IPM) and sustainable use of agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals to reduce their harmful effects to wildlife, enhance soil health and water quality.
Natural England is both a user of and adviser on chemicals. We use chemicals, e.g. herbicides, in the management of our National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and we provide advice to a range of customers. Natural England has a statutory and non-statutory role with regards to advice on chemical impacts to the environment and we work closely with the lead authorities on managing chemical risk from production and use, ie Defra, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA)
Chemicals (including pesticides) that get into the natural environment can affect plants and animals. Natural England also draws from knowledge and techniques in the fields of ecology and toxicology to study the effects of toxic chemical or biological agents on biological organisms at the population, community or ecosystem level. This role will require expert knowledge and understanding of the evidence on environmental risks and impacts of chemicals & pesticides to help build the evidence base to inform both policy and delivery for this extensive and growing work area. A solid understanding of delivery through key mechanisms such as regulatory regimes, Agri-Environment schemes, Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF), and NE and other government agencies’ broader roles in environmental monitoring is desirable. The role will play a critical part in helping Natural England meet its aspirations of being an evidence-led organisation.
You will be working closely with other colleagues, particularly Principal and Senior Advisers for Chemicals, Air Quality and Water across Natural England. You will also be expected to develop strong relationships with key stakeholders, especially DEFRA, Health & Safety Executive (HSE), CRD (Chemicals Regulation Directorate) Environment Agency, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), farming and environmental NGOs, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and other key partners, including academic researchers. Key tasks and principal accountabilities:
Specific responsibilities will develop and change over time and the post holder will need to maintain a flexible and adaptable attitude and approach. Initial broad work areas will be drawn from some of the following:Provide evidence to support reforms in response to evolving government policy and legislation including: Defra’s new Chemical Strategy, the UK National Action Plan for pesticides, Defra Nature Strategy (including targets under Convention on Biological Diversity).Provide evidence to support Natural England’s role in advising on appropriate regulatory goals and end points in chemical and pesticide regulation e.g. as a statutory consultee on aerial pesticide spraying, and on any risk assessment guidance development/ reviews.Develop evidence base for risk management measures to be included during regulatory process/advice on pesticide use; including good practice advice for alternatives to chemical use.Provide evidence to inform Natural England’s future role in environmental Monitoring for Chemicals in the terrestrial environment to support the development of chemical indicators work under the 25 YEP and future pesticides environmental monitoring requirements.Gather intelligence and influence delivery of good practice in pesticide use through key mechanisms which we oversee; Environmental Land Management, Catchment Sensitive Farming and the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme.Provide technical expertise to area teams on challenging and novel casework involving chemicals and pesticides impacts.Provide advice for species licensing and targeted advice on chemical impacts on vulnerable or protected species.Work closely with NE’s leads in delivering solutions to reduce chemical and pesticide contamination through farm advice (Catchment Sensitive Farming) and current and future agri-environment schemes to facilitate integrated advice on chemical and pesticide impacts from agriculture.Help build capability within area teams by training and mentoring via internal networks and providing training where appropriate.Represent Natural England alongside colleagues in other teams on external groups and networks e.g. Expert Committee on Pesticides, Advisory Committee on Releases the Environment, Bracken Control Group, UK Chemicals Stakeholder Forum, Pesticide Delivery Board and Voluntary Initiative (VI)Provide technical advice and thought leadership on appropriate modelling, monitoring and research programmesDevelop evidence base, engaging with veterinary medicine and public health sectors to reduce concentrations of harmful pharmaceuticals in the environment and develop innovative approaches to chemical management in the environment.
Additional Information: This is a nationally dispersed team, so the location of the role is flexible. Some travel will be required with occasional overnight stays. This requirement is subject to restrictions to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. National team roles can be done from any NE office. You can view a map of our office locations here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/natural-england-office-locations
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is Security Clearance. See our vetting charter. We may use a reserve list of candidates who pass at interview for any future opportunities that arise at the same grade in Natural England where similar skills are necessary.
The role will involve some travel and the potential for some fieldwork. A driving licence would be advantageous.
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:SituationTaskAction 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.