Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Consultant

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Consultant 

North Devon UNESCO Biosphere is an important meeting place of rich natural and cultural heritage in a stunning world-class environment from dunes, grassland and moors, towns and villages to 12 miles beyond Lundy Island into the Bristol Channel.  As part of the global MAB network, our Biosphere provides an open forum for bringing people together with their natural surroundings, to empower them to unlock their potential and using their local and scientific knowledge to model solutions for sustainable living.  North Devon UNESCO Biosphere is also a vibrant landscape for scientific research and is host to a number of ecological pilots.

Project Background

Local Planning Policy recognises the importance of environmental assets to the Biosphere and all development will be expected to provide a net gain in biodiversity where feasible. Where biodiversity assets cannot be retained or enhanced on site, local authorities support ‘biodiversity offsetting’ to deliver a net gain in biodiversity off-site in accordance with the offsetting strategy (Rebuilding Nature in the Biosphere Reserve: North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Offsetting Strategy). 

Biodiversity gain can best be achieved across northern Devon as a whole by enhancing the existing network of habitats, especially outside designated areas. Offsetting should generally occur close to where habitat has been lost, with future provision supported by a green infrastructure strategy. 

This project will include identifying and engaging landowners with advice and project deployment for receiver sites. It will work to help landowners identify grants and incentives working in coordination with our other nature improvement projects and the Natural Capital Marketplace to sell investments in ecosystem service improvements as match funding to maximise the impact of projects. It will also seek to involve local communities by providing advice and engaging volunteers to participate in nature improvement projects.

One of the first projects will be to act as conservation advisor to support the reintroduction of water voles in the Braunton Marsh. This will entail the education and engagement of local landowners and the general public on water vole conservation and ecology to gain their support for the project. This will be in coordination with the Water Vole consultant working to monitor mink population as well as other key partners such as the Environment Agency, Devon Wildlife Trust and Natural England.

Project Objectives 
• Identify and secure measurable net gains for biodiversity
• Work with landowners to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain 
• Maximise impact of nature improvement projects through other projects and partners to help access grants, incentives and offsetting investments.
• Community engagement and awareness of Biodiversity Net Gain

Project Deliverables

You will be responsible for delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain projects across the North Devon Biosphere, through engaging landowners and communities ensuring onsite developments are to the standard required or, through practical work to deliver nature improvement.

• Provide a focal point and coordinating role for the first phase of water vole reintroduction in Braunton Marsh. (December 2021 to March 2022)
• Compile report for reintroduction potential and stages for water vole in Braunton Marsh 
• Work with landowners and farms helping them to access ELMs, BNG, other schemes
• Develop a pipeline of suitable BNG provision to satisfy Development of Biodiversity Net Gain  demands from developers and the local planning authorities
•  Identify and map suitable locations for the delivery of biodiversity net gain projects
• Assessing possible sites for habitat improvement;  Site surveys Phase 1; Priority habitat identification; Condition assessments
• Prepare BNG delivery plans/ contracts
• Be responsible for delivering the creation of new / restored / enhance habitats through practical habitat work and use of contractors, where necessary
• Managing contractors and volunteer work parties 
• Utilising the ‘Biodiversity offsets’ to fund works; working within those budgets and keeping detailed accounts.  Also monitoring and reporting outputs of projects
• Working in partnership with key partners such as the district/county council, South West Water, the Environment Agency, Devon Wildlife Trust, Westcountry Rivers Trust
• Input on Nature Recovery Strategy
• Coordination with our communication team to provide key messages and information highlighting project benefits, gaining stakeholder support and calls to action. 
• Engage public in citizen science activities which promote and monitor biodiversity net gain

The Candidate

• Be a driven and passionate conservationist / ecologist and experienced in delivering conservation management plans
• Practical experience of habitat creation / restoration and management 
• Have demonstrable experience working with landowners and farmers
• Experience in manging land management contractors and volunteers
• Have great identification and surveying skills (botany is particularly important)
• Have a working knowledge of biodiversity metrics / be willing to learn
• Have the ability to work in partnership with different organisations
• Be highly motivated, independent and organised to work efficiently
• Have excellent record keeping and reporting skills


At least 2 year + practical experience of habitat creation, restoration/ enhancement and management on a range of habitats, including grazing management Essential
Commenting on planning applications and associated documents Desirable
Experience in advising around UK legislation on protected species Desirable 
Demonstrable experience of managing projects Essential
Familiarity with BNG metrics and calculation methods Desirable 


Ecological surveying & monitoring expertise including botanical (e.g Phase 1, UKHab) Essential
A good understanding of ecology and wildlife conservation. Advantage in knowledge of North Devon species conservation Essential
Habitat creation/ restoration/ enhancement and species management Essential
Species ID and knowledge Essential
GIS / Mapping skills / Drone Desirable 
A degree or higher (or equivalent experience) in ecological or environmental subject Essential


Excellent written, verbal and IT skills Essential
Appropriate licences for practical and survey work Desirable 

Personal Qualities

Self-motivated, with minimal supervision needed Essential
Flexible can- do attitude, willing to go extra mile Essential
Great communication skills and passionate to engage people with nature Essential
Remote working with ability to travel across North Devon Essential

Project Management 

As a minimum, the Contractor is required to provide a fortnightly informal project update via email during the contract to Biosphere Land Management Projects Leader. Any key decisions made must be documented by the Contractor. All reports and data to be maintained in an agreed location. 

Contract terms

Part Time; Equivalent to 0.3 FTE.  
12 month Contract which may be extended depending on circumstances. 
£30,400 pro rata (inclusive of VAT, if applicable)  

How to apply

For further information contact  JOBCODE BNGC1

Closing Date:

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