Planning Advisor

£40,613 - £44,241
29 Jan 2019
25 Feb 2019
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Level

 Full time, Part time, Job-Share


The team is based from Bristol, although location in other Forestry Commission office locations in England will be considered.

About the job

Job description

Britain’s woodlands are a precious resource. Each year they produce over 11 million tonnes of timber, remove 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and attract over 600 million visits from the public. They remove pollutants from the air and soil, offer natural flood protection and enhance biodiversity, both in towns and the countryside. They also support other sectors, notably agriculture and tourism.

The Forestry Commission England’s Forest Services (FS) are the Government’s forestry experts responsible for enabling land owners and managers, businesses, civil society organisations, and local communities to protect, improve and expand England's woodlands. It achieves this through regulation, incentives and advice.

Within Forest Services (FS), the multi-disciplinary Policy and Advice team (PAt) helps the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and other government departments to develop forestry and woodland policy that works. It does so by drawing on Forest Services’ wide-ranging forestry and woodlands experience, expertise, evidence and networks.

This role, reporting to the Principal Advisor - Social Forestry, will focus on the interface of the planning sector and development with woodland and forestry. It aims to consolidate and improve our engagement with planning processes to supporting better outcomes for woodland in England. The role will also engage with the developing work on net gain and natural capital accounting, to ensure that the benefits of trees and woodlands are maximised through the planning system.

The post will operate in an interdisciplinary environment, working directly with policy, incentives and regulations leads, and Area delivery teams in Forest Services. You will also need to rapidly develop collaborative relationships with colleagues in Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Planning Inspectorate, local authorities, and wider government.

Purpose of the job

  • enable the forestry sector to protect, improve, and expand England's woodland resource through:
  • providing specialist expertise to FC England, Ministers, and other public bodies on managing the impact of planning decisions on woodlands and maximising the woodlands provision of ecosystem services through the planning system
  • driving and co-ordinating national scale projects focusing on the planning system, as part of the Cultural Services team, led by the Principal Adviser(s) – Social Forestry

Key work areas

1) Ensure Forest Services provides a quality service when engaging with the Planning System

  • ensure that internal and external guidance on our statutory and nonstatutory roles in the planning system, and regulations which underpin it, is clear, accessible and up to date.
  • proactively engage with the planning system, confidently navigating planning processes and documents to support Area teams in preparing our consultation responses
  • champion the role of trees and woodland in the planning system and with key stakeholders/partners
  • support the Principal Adviser - Natural Environment to ensure the benefits of trees and woodlands are well represented in developing approaches to the planning system, such as net environmental gain.

2) Ensure effective engagement with major development projects, including

  • responding to HS2 Ltd consultations in regards the impact on woodlands. This will be in parallel with advisory work for HS2 Ltd and the delivery of the HS2 Woodland Fund
  • co-ordinating Forestry Commission input into the Ox-Cam Arc
  • supporting Area team colleagues engaging with Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

3) Work with others

  • develop a robust professional network in FC, Defra other government departments and sector stakeholders
  • contribute to the delivery of PAt and Cultural Services team plans and objectives to promote values and benefits of trees, woods and forestry, both internally and externally
  • support the Principal Adviser – Social Forestry as required in relation to planning


Seeing the big picture

Understand the strategic drivers for your area of work Seek out and share experiences to develop knowledge of the team’s business area

Changing and improving

Work with others to identify areas for improvement and simplified processes to use fewer resources.

Clearly explain the reasons for change to colleagues and how to implement them, supporting individuals with different needs to adapt to change.

Making effective decisions

Analyse and use a range of relevant, credible information from internal and external sources to support decisions.

Present strong recommendations in a timely manner outlining the consideration of other options, costs, benefits and risks

Working together

Establish professional relationships with a range of stakeholders. Actively seek and consider input of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Managing a quality service

Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and services to ensure delivery of professional excellence.

Person specification

• Essential

Proven track record of engaging with the planning, land use, and development sector to influence land use change.

Proven ability to enable and inspire others, working in partnership to develop shared objectives and deliver agreed outcomes.

• Desirable

Experience of implementing new approaches though the planning system

Experience of demonstrating how trees, woodlands or natural capital assets benefit wider society.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together
  • Managing a Quality Service

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Planning
  • Degree or equivalent qualification in Planning/related discipline or equivalent experience 
  • Membership of a relevant professional institute (e.g. Royal Town Planning Institute / Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors / Chartered Environmentalist/).



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

If a high volume of applications is received, the sift will focus on Experience and Technical.

The interview will include a short 5 minute presentation, topic to be confirmed to those selected for interview.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

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 equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

For further information on the role please contact Tina Shilleto, / 07788 308 286 (until 19th February) and (from 20th February) Helen Townsend, / 07887 633776.

To apply please click on the 'Apply Button'

Sift/interview dates and location

The sift will occur on 28th February, with interview on Monday 11th March. The interview will occur at the Forestry Commission England offices, 620 Bristol Business Park, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1EJ

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