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logo: Warwickshire County Council

Job Profile: Landscape Officer

Name: Catherine Laidlaw

Employer: Warwickshire County Council

Location: Warwickshire

 

Job Responsibilities:

I work within a new Natural Capital team, based within a larger Ecology, Historic Environment and Landscape (EHEL) team at Warwickshire County Council. The Council piloted, established and delivers the only functional Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) market in the country, ahead of mandatory BNG being introduced nationwide from November 2023. We are developing other ecosystem service markets and, also have tree planting targets which we are aiming to deliver through Natural Capital Investment. This will help fund other climate change and biodiversity initiatives.

 

At the moment, my main responsibility is to develop woodland creation projects and increasing tree planting across the county. This includes:

  • Identifying tree planting locations and opportunities in both urban and rural areas.
  • Developing partnerships with other local councils, organisations, and groups
  • Creating tree planting projects and project coordination.
  • Site assessments and planning, assessing potential sites for woodland creation projects, considering factors such as soil, topography, existing land use, ecological value, and connectivity with other woodlands.
  • Developing planting plans and woodland creation schemes, and carrying out any requirements for planning permission.
  • Liaising with our Forestry team to arrange the supply and planting of trees.
  • Assisting landowners and organisations to access available funding and grant schemes for woodland creation.
  • Providing advice and guidance to landowners, farmers, local communities, and other stakeholders, helping them to understand the benefits of woodland creation, assessing site suitability, and helping to navigate the woodland creation process.

 

Our roles across the different disciplines are flexible within the wider EHEL so everyone has an opportunity to help out in a different activity if they want to or are needed to which is great and keeps the roles broad and adaptable. I also help the Planning team out on tasks that are more typical of a local authority Landscape Officer such as reviewing and commenting on planning applications, providing advice to planning officers, and inputting into strategic plans. The Council’s Landscape Officers also work with the County’s Highways, Flood and Property Services teams on projects, providing landscape architecture design services. We have a Records team that manage and maintain data such as biological records, historic environment records, as well as the county’s landscape character assessment. I am currently updating the format of this as large parts of it are not digitised (it was one of the first assessments completed in the country in the mid-nineties!).

My time is mostly computer based, with a lot of data crunching at the moment in GIS and spreadsheets. However, I do get out to do site visits and assessments, including checking tree planting locations.

 

Qualifications needed:

I have a Postgraduate qualification in Landscape Architecture. I undertook a conversion route as my undergraduate degree was not in a related field. I was then able to complete the postgraduate qualification. I have a background in land-based roles such as horticulture and food production. I think having some kind of practical experience and feel for how things grow, different soils, how different landscapes and land-uses work is really helpful as a foundation for anyone .

Skills needed:

  • Technical skills – being able to use mapping software, CAD, spreadsheets etc.
  • Design skills
  • Interpret and analyse varied and complex information or situations, and to produce solutions.
  • Being able to communicate complicated information with varied audiences, and being able to provide a rationale for decisions in a clear, uncomplicated way.
  • Working collaboratively with other disciplines such as ecologists, and other organisations.
  • Being able to persuade others to adopt a course of action which is not necessarily their preferred approach.
  • The motivation and desire to stay up to date with all the information and changes happening in the environmental and land-based sector.

 

If you have any queries about this role or would like to ask a question of the job holder please contact CJS by email.

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