Operations Manager - Forest Management

Santon Downham, Brandon
Competitive Salary
26 Jul 2018
26 Aug 2018
Job Function
Contract Type
Full Time

Forestry Commission England is seeking an Operations Manager in East England Forest District (EEFD) to lead the Forest Management Team in delivering our forestry management, protection and maintenance programmes; ranging from the restoration of ancient woodlands sites right the way through to large scale tree establishment programmes in Thetford Forest.

This exciting and challenging leadership vacancy is based at Santon Downham, within EEFD. The District with over 130 directly employed staff covers an area of 35,000 ha from North Norfolk to Brighton; including Thetford Forest and the outlying beats of Sandlings, Kent, East Sussex, Chilterns and Thames Chase Community Forest.

Thetford Forest is England’s largest pine forest (around 19,000ha) with a high proportion of Corsican pine. It is a major centre in England for timber production as well as an important national resource for people and the environment (as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area).

The core part of the Operations Manager role will be to navigate the challenges of achieving and evolving the existing 200ha per annum restocking programme that provides habitat for the SPA, whilst also leading our new 250ha per annum underplanting programme that will diversify tree species planted below the Corsican pine overstory. Combined with the restocking programme, the Operations Manager will lead the Wildlife Team to secure the successful establishment of the trees and deliver the wildlife conservation programme.

The Thetford block is facing some tough challenges, and the Operations Manager role will be critical in managing the response. Dothistroma needle blight (DNB) has significantly impacted on growth and mortality of Corsican pine and presents a significant challenge to achieving future objectives.

Through Thetford’s Forest Resilience programme which manages the response to pests, tree disease and climate change in Thetford Forest, the Operations Manager will help develop and embed new management approaches to future proof the Forest.

The post holder will be responsible to the Head of Land Management, John Bruce who will be the Reporting Officer, and Tristram Hilborn will be the Confirming Officer.

While the post will be based at the District Office at Santon Downham the post holder will be required to travel around EEFD on a regular basis to provide leadership to beat teams on their Forest Management programmes.

Purpose of the Job

To lead, manage and co-ordinate all forest management activities within the Forest and Land Management team. Lead on raising standards on health, safety and environmental management. Lead on Forest Management decisions within the Forest Resilience Programme to provide a resilient forest that optimises social, environmental and economic benefits.

Key Work Areas

  • Play an active leadership role in the District, championing forest management, working closely with the Operations Manager (harvesting), and participating in various forums to help set priorities, define work and monitor outputs.
  • Lead & support staff in the efficient restocking / natural regeneration and establishment consistent with approved Forest Plans. Co-ordinate plant supply, chemical use and other associated systems and periodically audit all beats for compliance.
  • Sit on the Forest Resilience Programme Delivery Group as a key technical advisor and translate the plans to work on the ground.
  • Lead on forest maintenance, protection, general estates issues, as well as the District Tree Safety Programme.
  • Take a lead role in emergency planning, ensuring emergency plans are up to date and procedures are tested. Act as the main Incident Controller for any major incidents in the District, including fire and storm events.
  • Lead Wildlife Management supporting the Wildlife Manager to deliver effective mammal control and develop a Deer Management Strategy to optimise effectiveness of their team of 8x Wildlife Rangers and the Deer Control Licences.
  • Line manage 5x Foresters and 1x Wildlife Manager, while acting as Confirming Officer for their staff. Continually review training needs to ensure individuals in your team have the required skills and competencies.
  • Co-ordinate and manage the preparation of the annual Business Plan, and monthly Business monitoring for the Forest Regeneration, Maintenance & Protection and Species Management activities, liaising closely with Beat Cost Centre Managers and other colleagues.
  • Take an overall lead of the District machinery and vehicle requirements that meet the needs of the business working closely with our in-house Mechanical Engineering Services Business Unit.
  • Act as coordinator for the Santon Downham Yard; to ensure environmental, safety and quality standards are maintained across this important site.
  • Seeing the Big Picture

    Ensure your area/team activities are aligned to Departmental priorities.

    Actively seek out and share experience to develop understanding and knowledge of your work and of team’s business area.

    Making Effective Decisions

    Make decisions when needed, even if they prove difficult or unpopular.

    Invite challenge and where appropriate involve others in decision making to help build engagement and present robust recommendations.

    Leading and Communicating

    Communicate in a straightforward, honest and engaging manner with all stakeholders and stand ground when needed.

    Recognise, respect and reward the contribution and achievements of others, valuing difference.

    Collaborating and Partnering

    Establish relationships with a range of stakeholders to support delivery of business outcomes.

    Encourage collaborative team working within your team and across the Department.

    Delivering Value for Money

    Recommend actions to achieve value for money and efficiency.

    Monitor the use of resources in line with organisational procedures and plans and hold team to account.

    Managing a Quality Service

    Develop, implement, maintain and review systems and service standards including health and safety to ensure professional excellence and expertise and value for money.

    Work with team to set priorities, goals, objectives and timescales.

    Delivering at Pace

    Take responsibility for delivering expected outcomes on time and to standard, giving credit to teams and individuals as appropriate.

    Coach and support others to set and achieve challenging goals for themselves.

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