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Principal Ornithologist

  • Edinburgh
  • Negotiable
  • Permanent

Our client a reputable environmental consultancy is seeking a Principal Ornithologist to join their team on a permanent basis.

Salary negotiable

Loactions felxible across the UK

Home working available

The Principal Consultant role covers individuals who demonstrate high level of technical skills, e.g. sufficient to perform as an Expert Witness, but additionally take a leading role in the management of staff resources and business activities, whether within a specific office location or in respect of a specific business sector. In this case, the Principal Ornithologist will perform specialised technical services relating to avian ecology across all office locations, as well as being a key role in the team.

Client relationship management, business generation and staff line management are a significant aspect of the Principal Consultant's workload. Individuals' progress within this role will be assessed at their Professional Development Reviews against the skills indicated below, which, because of the broad nature of the experience amongst staff are necessarily described in terms of a continuum.


  • To provide a high standard of Technical Direction and Quality Assurance of scoping, survey design, survey capability and factual, interpretative, advisory, Ecological Impact Assessment and legal/licensing reporting output. Developing a particular emphasis on innovative methods for addressing non-standard issues. Adhering to deadlines and working in an accurate, timely and effective manner, and ensuring project and line charges do the same.

  • To act as Project Manager for larger and more complex ecology projects awarded to the company, across a range of development types, and also providing technical direction and QA functions for less complex ecology projects within his/her specialism.

  • To act as a company-wide source of expert advice in respect of ornithology and promote its integration with the wider team and/or business sector specialisms. Named as licensee or licensee's agent on ornithological licences.

  • To take a lead role in the delivery of ornithological input to all types of project including the authoring and reviewing of Environmental Statement chapters, Habitats Regulations Assessments, and Habitat Management and Restoration Programmes.

  • To effectively manage the commission of sub-contractors and to quality check that the work and deliverables are undertaken/provided to the standard required.

  • To line manage, mentor and develop 3 - 5 Senior Consultant or Senior Ecologist staff.

  • To play an active part in attracting new clients and generating new business for the company, and will be allocated role as Key Account Manager for one or more especially valued Clients.

  • To operate in compliance with the Staff Handbook, appropriate Code(s) of Professional Conduct and with strict regard to relevant legal requirements.

  • To continue to develop professionally and to make a positive contribution to the overall performance of the Company.

Core Duties

The core duties of the Principal Consultant (Ornithology) post are as follows:

  • To perform the role of Project Director for Ecology/Ornithology projects across a range of development types. These will mainly be large, sensitive, or complex projects, or smaller ones with especially valued Clients or in a new and desirable business sector, and may include ecological issues outside of their technical specialist area. As Project Director the Principal Consultant (Ornithology) will be responsible both for day-to-day liaison with Project Managers, and for providing clear guidance on health and safety and biosecurity matters, the technical work required and time available to other ecologists (including sub-contractors) in the project team(s). He/she may be supported in their role with health and safety, accounts and administration and filing assistance, by Technical Directors, Board Directors, the Group HR & Finance Team and the Accounts Team.

  • To assist in recording, auditing and reporting to the SMT, Technical Directors, Board Directors, the Group HR & Finance Team and the Accounts Team, on project/team performance metrics, as and when requested. In doing so, he/she will always be able to draw upon support provided by Technical/Board Director colleagues.

  • To continue to develop responsibility for reducing risks and minimising liability. Including, in particular, being responsible for both personal and the team's health and safety through ensuring that the projects for which the Principal Consultant is project director comply with Health & Safety Procedures, and ensuring that the team on any project for which the Principal Consultant is the Project Manager complies with the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

  • To practice strict budgetary discipline, and minimise all aspects of commercial risk to the Company, in particular by ensuring that the scope of work and the time available is clearly understood and communicated to the project team that the Principal Consultant (Ornithology) is directing before commencing work on any given task. To draw upon the support available from Technical Directors, Board Directors, the Group HR & Finance Team and the Accounts Team in respect of any project (or member of staff) for which the Principal Consultant is manager, by adequate planning and monitoring of the workload and budgets, to ensure that there is no avoidable overspend.

  • To continue to undertake ecology surveys and recording to a high technical standard, but mainly in order to scope and devise survey protocols, maintain own skills, or for site familiarisation, not for routine surveys.

  • To act as a company source of reliable expertise on specific technical areas (primarily, but not exclusively ornithology) or business sectors, and should increasingly provide mentoring or training to colleagues and others on these specialisms. Will be authoritative with respect to ornithological best practice guidance in the UK, and take a leading role in ensuring the changes and updates are disseminated effective through the team. May also be asked to contribute to ISO Quality Management System by the production of Work Instructions or other guidance and staff training programmes.

  • To be entirely confident with legislation and aware of Case Law pertaining to nature conservation, able to teach it to junior staff, apply it to projects and negotiate subtleties with third parties, including planning authorities and statutory agencies.

  • To be entirely confident in dealing with interface between ornithology/ecology and development planning, including pro-active appreciation of potential for synergies/conflicts with other disciplines.

  • To ensure that project and line charges deliver accurate and well-presented factual baseline, interpretative, advisory, legal compliance, licensing and Ecological Impact Assessment reports, demonstrating an excellent standard of written English and high level of presentation.

  • To contribute to and lead marketing activities, e.g. marketing campaigns and materials, press releases, snippets for website, twitter, articles, identification and attendance at suitable conferences, exhibitions, clients to visit, etc.

  • To attract new Clients and generate new business for the company, not just by reactively writing tenders/proposals, but also by proactively identifying and contacting prospective clients in accordance with priorities set out in the Business Plan and/or as agreed with their Line Manager. Likely to be allocated role as Key Account Manager for one or more especially valued Clients with whom he/she has developed a good working relationship.

  • To act as the first point of contact in the line management chain for relevant staff within the Ecology Team, for whom he/she will have special responsibility in terms of mentoring and the allocation/management of workload. He/She will be actively involved in undertaking the annual Professional Development Review (PDR) and Objective-setting and subsequent reviews with these line charges.

The Principal Consultant (Ornithology) will work with their Line Manager to agree his/her own personal PDR Objectives and identify training courses to attend and other activities to undertake as part of his/her Continuing Professional Development

Charlie Gray
Point of contact
Charlie Gray

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