Principal Sustainability and Built Environment Specialist - Working for Essex
Salary: Up to £56,097 per annum - pay award pending
Closing date: 16 Apr 2023
Location: Chelmsford
Hours: Full-time
Req ID: 12038
Role: Economic Development
About the role

Principal Sustainability and Built Environment Specialist

Fixed Term, Full Time

Up to £56,097 per annum - pay award pending

Location: Chelmsford

Working Style: Anywhere worker

Closing Date: 16th April 2023

This post is initially fixed for 3 years with opportunity for extension, dependant on budget and successful outcomes. 

Delivering net zero carbon development: are you passionate about tackling climate change and keen to be at the forefront of climate action, pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve?  

Are you an experienced built environment, development or construction professional or work in a closely related discipline?  Do you have extensive technical knowledge of delivery of low or zero carbon development and wider sustainable building techniques with a strong record of providing such expert design and build advice/guidance/performance monitoring on development schemes and within policy documents? 

Are you seeking a new opportunity to tackle climate change across Essex and challenge existing approaches and positions, pushing for innovation in building, construction and environment design and operation to meet net zero goals?  

Essex County Council (ECC) is committed to taking robust action on climate change and significantly reduce carbon emissions.  With 180,000 new homes expected across Essex, we’re determined to achieve the very highest standards of climate change mitigation and adaptation in new developments. This is a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the climate change agenda within Essex and help to achieve and implement strong recommendations recently published by the Essex Climate Action Commission (ECAC). A key recommendation is that all new homes and commercial buildings granted planning permissions will be net zero carbon by 2025 and carbon positive by 2030. 

The Opportunity

This principal role requires a proactive and innovative approach, influencing and providing expert technical and professional input majoring on key development proposals (including a series of new garden communities) as well as also helping the team to apply innovation new net zero local plan policies.  

Working to help district authorities and partner institutions you will ensure that all new developments meet national and local climate action goals through the planning and building process. You’ll also have opportunity to help establish new approaches to monitoring and maintain this service, especially consideration of how the performance of new-build developments can be tested and reviewed. 

You will need plenty of drive and ambition, and an ability to work to deadlines and under your own initiative, coupled with an excellent technical knowledge on low carbon and wider climate change mitigation and adaptation techniques.  Your creative approach to problem solving will help to deliver high quality environmental and climate solutions and secure net-zero and sustainable development across the Essex. 

Moreover, we are seeking a highly motivated and experienced person with an engaging and professional attitude and who has extensive experience in securing a higher level of sustainable measures in development. The successful candidate will need good analytical skills and be able to communicate complex processes and topics to a varied audience including local authority officers, elected members, developers, partner organisations, as well as members of the public.  


· Provide expert technical professional advice and responses on net-zero and wider sustainability objectives to emerging development proposals at pre application, masterplanning and formal planning application stage. This will involve working with district officers and developers and will include influencing and supporting the development of schemes, including new or garden communities, nationally significant infrastructure projects as well as major settlement extensions.

· Liaise with and provide technical sustainable building advice to the Lead Planning Officer (Climate Action) to support the ongoing partnership work with Essex authorities on drafting local planning policies and supplementary planning documents relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation to ensure policies can deliver net-zero ambitions and wider sustainability objectives. Prepare professional statements and evidence and attend as an expert witness to support local authorities at hearings, public examinations, committee meetings and planning appeals.

· Explore opportunities to establish a system of monitoring, including certification as appropriate, where the performance of new build development can be reviewed to ensure it is meeting the climate action standards that were committed to in the planning application, and subsequent work with enforcement officers as appropriate.

· Work with the Lead Planning Officer (Climate Action) leading on and implementing and monitoring the ECAC New Build Built Environment recommendations.

· Provide detailed expert technical and professional advice and guidance to County officers and Members regarding planning and exemplar schemes in relation to climate change.

· Actively participate in networks in respect of climate action to influence as well as exchange and produce best practice ideas and maintain a reference library of such best practice.

· Maintain an up-to-date understanding of relevant climate change legislation, policy, and other relevant guidance.

· Manage, provide support and guidance to other officers within the wider team, and, assist with management of budgets and commissions on behalf of the service, as required.

Skills, Knowledge and Experience

· Educated to degree level in a relevant architectural / surveying / environmental / sustainable building engineering / building science degree or equivalent by experience.

· Extensive technical knowledge on low carbon buildings, energy efficiency and renewables, water conservation, building techniques, construction practice, climate change mitigation and adaptation, retrofit of older buildings, and wider sustainability measures in the built environment.

· Practical on-site experience of sustainable building techniques would be highly desirable.

· Good appreciation of the Building Regulations and awareness of the remit of the Planning System including national environment and climate policies and legislation such as the Future Homes/Building Standard /LETI Standards.

· Experience of working with a variety of stakeholders and contributing to the delivery of climate change and mitigation strategies and high-quality environmental initiatives through providing expert design advice/guidance on development schemes and/or policy documents.

· Able to communicate confidently and present complex topics with different stakeholders including other ECC and Essex Local Authority officers, Members, and partner organisations as well as negotiate robustly with developers and consultants.

· Have excellent analytical skills and confidence in analysing data and providing clear recommendations to stakeholders from analysis undertaken.

· Have a good ability to prioritise and manage competing demands.

· Good understanding of the structure of local government and processes including procurement.

To read more about us please visit: Economy, Investment and Public Health

Essex County Council is proud to be a Disability Confident Leader. We're committed to interview all disabled applicants who choose to apply under our Job Interview Scheme if they meet the minimum requirements of the job. Please speak to our Recruiters if you require reasonable adjustments during the process. 

We’re also committed to interview all veterans and care leavers, who meet the minimum requirements of the role for which they are applying.

Essex County Council is proud to offer an excellent benefits package to all its employees. More information can be found here pay and reward

To view our Organisational Behaviours information please follow this link.

What you should do next

If you are interested in finding out more about this role, we would love to hear from you. Please apply via the Working for Essex website.

As part of employment with Essex County Council (ECC) should your role require a DBS check you will be required to register with the DBS update service. The DBS update service ensures all registered DBS certificates are kept up to date and allows authorised parties to view the status of your certificate. This is an annual subscription, and you will be responsible for ensuring this is maintained. For further information on the DBS update service please go to

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