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Rural Surveyor

Flexible within Scotland
£28,420.00 - £40,854.00 Per Annum
Closing date
25 May 2022

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Contract Type
Fixed Term Contract
Conservation, Land Surveying, Rural
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Job Details

Rural Surveyor - Peatland Restoration (Fixed-Term)
Location: Flexible in Scotland
Salary: £28,420.00 - £40,854.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave
Duration: 3 years

RSPB via its Peatland Restoration Programme wishes to restore c 7,000 ha of peatland on RSPB reserves for biodiversity and climate benefits, in line with our corporate strategy, ‘RSPB’s Strategy to 2030.’ Whilst the focus will be on the RSPB reserves across Scotland including the islands, there will be occasions where we will be working on, or facilitating work on, land owned by 3rd parties.

The restoration will be financed via the sale of carbon offsets, finance from corporate partnerships and substantially, Scottish Government funding via the Peatland Action Fund. A pipeline of Peatland Code projects on RSPB reserves is being developed.

You will need to take an innovative approach to applying rural surveying professional skills to delivering peatland restoration objectives. As a growing area of work for RSPB, the work programme will be challenging, interesting and rewarding work. You will be encouraged to be out of the office, providing professional advice to staff, to minimise risk and optimise financial returns for the RSPB Scotland nature reserves. You will demonstrate initiative, motivation and flair, and be a talented individual who understands the needs of the modern Scottish rural land holding.

An understanding of the current thinking around climate change and Peatland Code, would be advantageous.

Key activities will include:

Land and property management –  carrying out the due diligence to identify, mitigate and manage the legal, financial and reputational risks of peatland restoration proposals on RSPB reserves and 3rd party land e.g. land tenure legal checks for impediments to restoration, operational contracts including CDM requirements, compliance with grant conditions, submitting planning applications (including, an understanding of Permitted Development and Prior Notification procedures) in a peatland restoration context. 

Risk management – Supporting the implementation of the existing risk management systems to manage the RSPB’s exposure to legal, financial and reputational risks arising from the use and management of land and buildings for peatland restoration.  Produce Codes of Practice relating to peatland restoration; roll out the peatland elements of the risk management system to end-users including the provision of training and advice and undertaking site audits to ensure compliance.

Reserve acquisition work – Implementing the UK Acquisition Strategy to extend existing/acquire new natures reserves for peatland restoration. Lead on securing, if required, specific peatland project buildings (e.g. workshops/residential.)

Legacy properties – Assisting the RSPB Legacy Dept with reviewing and implementing agreed plans for land and properties left to RSPB as legacies restricted specifically to peatland restoration.

To assist with general estate management and negotiations for acquisitions on the existing RSPB reserves as required and requested.

You will be part of our Surveying Team of 8 Rural Surveyors in Scotland plus one building surveyor and a grazing advisor.  We work closely as a team with a strong team ethos, with enthusiasm and dedication. We share professional expertise, knowledge and information at regular Surveying Dept meetings, and have a clear programme of supporting and paying for CPD. We work throughout Scotland, and maximise opportunities for individuals to use their expertise wherever it is required. We have a strong support team who allow the Rural Surveyors to concentrate on delivering the professional work, and to see projects through from beginning to end.

Essential skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience:

  • Corporate member of RICS or other relevant equivalent professional organisation.
  • Demonstrable post qualification knowledge of estate management work in the rural environment.
  • Knowledge of project management principles and application.
  • Ability to communicate in plain English, complex estate management issues.
  • Ability to communicate verbally, and in writing, to all levels within RSPB and to external audiences.
  • Ability to make quick, pragmatic, reasoned and practical decisions/recommendations/alternatives based upon sound analysis and reason. Ability to positively influence wider audiences and demonstrate credibility both internally and externally.
  • Ability to negotiate and achieve the required corporate outcomes.
  • Ability to work alone and as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Ability to manage oneself to prioritise high volume competing objectives.
  • Ability to travel widely without the use of public transport. Demonstrable post qualification experience of estate management work in the rural environment.
  • Experience of project management principles and application.

This is a full-time, fixed-term contract for 3 years.

Closing date: 23:59, Wednesday 25th May 2022
We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 30th May 2022.

For further information please contact

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.


Our work is driven by a passionate belief that we all have a responsibility to protect birds and the environment. Bird populations reflect the health of the planet on which our future depends.

The need for a leading conservation charity has never been greater.  

The RSPB could not exist without its supporters and members. Whether you join us, give a donation, purchase items from us or undertake voluntary work, your support is vital to the future of birds and the places where they live.

How many surveyors currently work for RSPB?

We have a national team of 19 Rural Surveyors and 2 Building Surveyors who between them are responsible for providing professional property advice on over 150,000 hectares across all four countries of the UK and for several million pounds of built estate.

What is it like to work for the RSPB as a surveyor?

Challenging, because to meet RSPB’s ecological requirements, the standard commercial answer isn’t always the right one; and rewarding knowing your contribution will make a difference to saving nature and the public good. Each rural surveyor carries out a wide variety of work, covering a broad range of professional work as per private practice. Specialisms occur but no-one is pigeon-holed.

Why should someone apply to the RSPB?

Because you get to carry out the full range of private practice work on the land of most conservation value, in the most spectacular scenery in the UK and make a professional contribution towards towards overcoming the conservation challenges faced in the rural environment often using groundbreaking techniques. There are targets, objectives and budgets to meet, but you will not have the private practice requirements of time sheets, fee targets or be expected to generate new clients. Nor will you be on-call for tenants. The work undertaken offers you a chance to shine professionally, as well as opportunities to further develop your career and knowledge.

What are the working values at the RSPB?

RSPB’s working values are:

  • Focused – clarity of direction, united around a common purpose
  • Together – power of working together, be open to influence, respect other people, and share power
  • Bold – go for growth, give and take responsibility, be decisive, and be open to new ideas
  • Supportive – everyone matters, all skills of all people, people grow too, and set people up to succeed.

RSPB has 7 core competencies that it expects from all its staff:

  • Direction - You ensure you have a clear direction and sense of common purpose that guides what you do and how you approach your work.
  • Energy - You bring energy and urgency to the RSPB to motivate people to do the best they can.
  • Capability - You build your own and other people’s capabilities, directly and indirectly.
  • Relationships - You communicate effectively and build productive internal and external relationships.
  • Change - You support continuous improvement and change and constantly look for way to do things better.
  • Advocacy - You act as an advocate for the RSPB.
  • Performance - You get things done, achieve ambitious goals and the RSPB’s aims.

The following behaviours are expected of RSPB Rural Surveyors in delivering the competencies:

  • Is prepared to take on new challenges outside their comfort zone.
  • Makes the effort to collaborate with others, even when under pressure.
  • Always assumes positive intentions in others.
  • Listens to other people’s ideas and suggestions.
  • Treat other people as equals.
  • Shares new ideas with colleagues.
  • Is an advocate for what RSPB stands for and is trying to achieve.
  • Understands what is expected of them in their role.
  • Places their main focus on important priorities.
  • Demonstrates accountability for getting things done.

What do they offer? (Eg: Flexible working / Learning and development)

Competitive salary, career performance and development planning, flexible working, start on 26 days holiday plus bank holidays plus a Christmas shutdown for all surveyors, 7% employer contribution to defined contributions pension, life assurance of 5 x basic salary, maternity/paternity/adoption leave, childcare vouchers, sickness pay, employee assistance scheme, staff association, learning and development opportunities with fees paid for those required for CPD, RICS professional subscription fees paid, 1 day volunteering pa, 1 month sabbatical every 5 yrs of service, green loans for season travel tickets or to buy a bicycle, 20% off in RSPB shops.

What do RSPB do that may not be common knowledge?

RSPB surveyors carry out all the work of a private practice surveyor: acquisitions and disposals of land and buildings on the open market, assisting in delivery of in-hand farming operations, farming and livestock subsidy claims, CPO work on national projects, wayleaves, major engineering projects involving major planning applications/EIA/statutory consents, optimising financial returns from and diversifying income on the RSPB Estate eg solar, wind and hydro schemes, yurts and glamping.

Our buildings have won regional RICS building awards and shortlisted for RIBA Sterling Award. RSPB habitat projects have won regional RICS awards and Constructing Excellence National Award for sustainability.

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