These jobs can range from getting involved in developing national or local environmental policy, managing land (or water, coastal areas and our seas) to benefit nature and to help reduce the impacts of climate change, providing advice to others, reviewing plans and projects put forward by others to make sure that they don’t damage the natural environment and helping the public, including school-age children, learn more about the natural world and why we need to protect it.
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There are 398 local authorities in the UK and 31 in Ireland. Local authorities (which may be called councils, districts or unitary authorities) employ ecologists to assist with protecting and enhancing nature through the planning system (so, for example, making sure new housing developments or road construction projects don’t harm protected habitats and species). They may have roles that require them to advise on how to manage green spaces within the local authority area to benefit nature and to provide educational activities and information to local residents.
Government departments and statutory nature conservation bodies (SNCBs), which are also known as arms-length government bodies, employ ecologists, advisers, researchers, policy makers and project managers. Most national governments will have a department that deals specifically with legislation and policy affecting the natural environment. In the UK and Ireland the government departments that are most likely to be offering green jobs for nature are
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – England
Climate Change and Rural Affairs Group (Wales)
Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform (Scotland)
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) – Northern Ireland
Department of Agriculture, the Environment and Marine (Ireland)
These civil service jobs are most likely to be related to developing environmental legislation and policy and monitoring its effectiveness.
The SNCBs are ‘arms length’ because they have their own independent structure from central government although they are funded by government and oversee the implementation of government environmental policy. These jobs might involve research and the gathering of scientific evidence , data management and mapping, providing advice to landowners and land managers, managing projects and services to implement environmental policy at a large scale, managing national nature reserves and producing ecological and environmental advice and guidance. These are also civil service roles.
Some well-known SNCBs in the UK and Ireland are Natural England, NatureScot, Natural Resources Wales, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Marine Management Organisation, Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Forestry Commission and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
National Parks are large areas of countryside that are highly valued for its landscape, nature and cultural importance., such as the Brecon Beacons, the Lake District and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. There are 10 national parks in England, 2 in Scotland and 3 in Wales. There are 6 national parks in Ireland.
National parks are ‘run’ by national park authorities that have some similar responsibilities to a local authority, certainly in terms of managing planning applications, supporting the local economy (which often includes tourism as an important source of money for the area), providing advice to land managers and farmers, providing ways for people to enjoy the countryside and coast and managing some land and coastline directly. They can provide many green jobs for nature across all of these areas of activity.
There are other organisations, similar to National Park Authorities, that manage smaller areas that are important for landscape and wildlife. These include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Scenic Areas and Community Forests.