Environment Agency in recruitment drive for senior staff

The Environment Agency (EA) is recruiting a raft of new senior positions, particularly within its waste department.

A job list seen by ENDS shows the regulator is seeking to recruit at least 37 positions including 22 advisors on waste within the waste regulatory reform division, half of whom at a senior level.

It is also seeking three senior technical officers in the waste regime operational service, and the most senior position the EA is recruiting - a waste regulatory reform lead representative for international engagement.

While the positions are currently not listed publicly, ENDS has been told that many of the skills and knowledge the agency are looking for can only be found in the consultancy sector. 

Commenting on the recruitment drive, Graeme Kennett, a senior consultant at 360Environmental, said: "As with all other sectors, there’s shortages, so it looks as though they are pricing the roles accordingly. 

“If it wasn’t for the multitude of resource pressures in the EA they would be good roles, as the salary is attractive and so are the benefits." 

The EA is also under a lot of public scrutiny for its regulation of landfill sites. Just this week the regulator is in court facing a challenge over its regulation of notorious landfill site Walleys Quarry and the noxious smells emanating from it. The action is being taken by the family of five-year old Mathew Richards, whose health doctors say will not recover unless he has access to clean air.

It’s not just in the waste sector that the EA is looking to fill senior roles.

Amongst the jobs publicly listed on the agency’s website are multiple senior positions looking after flood risk management, including two team leader positions in its flood and coastal management team, and two senior positions working on international strategy.

There are additional senior roles for the waste department also listed publicly, including an environmental permitting regulations team leader.

READ MORE: Are permitting delays threatening the government's growth agenda?

This recruitment drive follows another one last month when the EA advertised for 50 agriculture regulatory inspection officers, following widespread condemnation of its failure to regularly check environmental compliance and enforce farm rules.

The environmental watchdog is also currently in the midst of a pay dispute with its four recognised staff unions, two of whom have rejected a government pay offer they describe. as “miserly”.

Last week, unions GMB, Unite, Unison, and Prospect wrote to the environment secretary, George Eustice, seeking an urgent meeting with DEFRA over what a pay offer to employees that they say amounts to a real terms cut.

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