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Suffolk County Council

Ancient Woodland Inventory Officer

£21,748 - £25,481 (pro rata for part time)

37 hours per week

Fixed Term / Secondment for 2 years

Reference: 805

We are committed to flexible working. To view the types of flexible or part time working available for this role, please see the Job and Person Profile.

A great opportunity to join the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service (SBIS) team as Ancient Woodland Inventory Officer, working from The Hold, Ipswich.

This role will help deliver our vision of Suffolk's natural environment being appreciated, understood, considered, and improved. If you have a passion for data and Suffolk's natural environment and believe that decision-making based on good quality information is vital, don't miss this chance to join SBIS.

  • Do you have good GIS mapping skills?
  • Do you have experience interpreting historical maps?
  • Are you interested in woodland ecology and conservation?

Your role

Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service is recruiting an Ancient Woodland Inventory Officer to join our team. This new role is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated person to make a significant contribution to the conservation and protection of ancient woodland in Suffolk by ensuring this habitat is accurately documented.

Natural England's Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI) is an essential reference tool. However, it currently contains omissions and inaccuracies and needs updating. You will lead this update by creating an accurate record of ancient woodland across Suffolk. This will add to the evidence base available to inform planning and conservation decisions and assist with the protection of this irreplaceable habitat.

Ancient woodlands are identified following a quality-controlled methodology, already used in other regions of England. You will identify and map long-established woodland through GIS analysis of current data sources, and then determine ancient woodland status by sourcing and interpreting additional historical evidence (e.g., historic maps). You will also be responsible for directing a complementary field-based survey component, to be delivered by contractor surveyors. The output of

the project is a GIS dataset, produced to agreed data standards. The project will involve liaising with a wide variety of stakeholders, including land managers, local authorities, and conservation organisations.

You will:

  • be a proficient user of GIS software and have excellent data management skills
  • have a demonstrable interest in woodland conservation and ecology
  • have experience of building relationships with stakeholders to make decisions or influence outcomes
  • be organised, self-motivated and reliable
  • possess good communication skills and have a keen eye for detail.

Experience in interpreting historical maps is an advantage.

Your responsibilities

The work on updating Suffolk's Ancient Woodland Inventory will require you to:

  • identify long-established woodland in Suffolk through comparison of current data sources (aerial photographs, Ordnance Survey MasterMap, the National Forest Inventory, current survey data) and 'Epoch 1' Ordnance Survey maps within GIS software (Mapinfo)
  • source, and interpret, historical evidence (e.g. historic maps) in order to determine if Suffolk's long-established woodlands are ancient
  • direct a prioritised woodland survey programme to gather further evidence on the ancient status of selected woodlands.

You will manage external contractors who will carry out the ground surveys.

You will need:

  • a Degree or equivalent in environmental science or equivalent experience
  • proficiency in data editing and manipulation using GIS software
  • (MapInfo preferred but not essential)
  • an understanding of the importance of responsible handling, management and verification of both environmental and personal data
  • good organisational and time management skills; able to self-motivate and to meet deadlines on time.

You can view a full list of requirements in the Job and Person Profile.

If you think you have what it takes to be successful in this role, even if you don't meet all the requirements, please apply. We would appreciate the opportunity to consider your application.

The team

The Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service is the one-stop-shop for biodiversity information in Suffolk. Operating as an independent and

objective centre for biodiversity data we collate, manage and mobilise species and site information for the benefit of Suffolk's wildlife as a whole.

We are a small team, covering a large county and we work closely to support each other. We are always looking for new ways to improve and deliver our services. We share our knowledge and experience freely and provide an environment where people can enhance their skills and flourish. As part of SCCs Natural and Historic Environment team, we interact with a wide range of professionals and, when we move into The Hold, we will share offices with a brilliant team of archivists and their knowledge of Suffolk's historic environment.

SBIS is a great place to work for anyone interested in the natural environment; we work with a wide range of people in local government and non-government organisations (NGOs) to make sure they get the best information for decision making.

We will offer you:

  • a fantastic opportunity to improve your GIS skills whilst undertaking a really interesting study with clear and defined outputs that we know will have direct benefits for conservation
  • the opportunity to gain skills in interpreting maps and historical evidence, learn a great deal about the history of Suffolk's natural environment and how to manage a team of voluntary surveyors.

The skills gained during this work will be applicable to a wide range of jobs, particularly in Local Environmental Records Centres and county archives but also for a broad range of countryside jobs in district and county councils, wildlife trusts and other NGOs.

Travelling requirements for your role

We positively encourage the use of technology to communicate and engage, but on occasions, there may be a requirement for you to travel using reasonable and suitable means available to you. If you require a reasonable adjustment due to a disability to meet the travel requirements of this role, please speak with the contact detailed below.

For an informal discussion about this role, please contact Martin Sanford on 07930 908746 or email:

To apply and for more information, please click here and take note of the application instructions.

Closing date: 11.30pm, 22 September 2021.

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, we have strict limitations on staff working in our offices and most of us are being asked to work from home. If you wish to discuss how that might impact your working arrangements, please contact the recruiting manager.

This authority is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. DBS checks or police vetting will be required for relevant posts. We are also committed to flexible working.

Suffolk County Council - welcoming diversity.

Closing Date: 22/09/2021  Location: Ipswich, Suffolk

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