Sustainable Development Officer (Flood Risk / Drainage)

Sustainable Development Officer (Flood Risk / Drainage) 

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Sustainable Development Officer to join the Water Management Alliance (WMA) group of Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs). IDBs manage flood risk and land drainage within areas of special drainage need.

As a Sustainable Development Officer, you will work within a team to ensure that developments and third-party works are carried out sustainably, and in a manner which will not increase flood risk. 

For more information about the role and how to apply please see the application pack available at, or contact Cathryn Brady (Sustainable Development Manager) on 07881 384260.

While experience working within the water, civil engineering or flood risk management industries would be desirable, we recognise that this role may attract candidates from across a number of disciplines.

The appointment offers a competitive salary depending on qualifications and experience, together with access to BUPA and the Local Government Pension Scheme.

The closing date for receipt of applications is noon on 27th October 2021. 


The Water Management Alliance is a group of several large Internal Drainage Boards (“IDBs”) who have chosen to jointly administer their affairs in order to strengthen the individual organisations and increase influence at both a national and regional level. The WMA Boards share their progressive vision, values and standards, and resultantly the WMA offers a stimulating and rewarding work environment for anyone with an interest in flood risk and water level management. 

Internal Drainage Boards (“IDBs”) are local public authorities that manage flood risk and land drainage within areas of special drainage need in England. IDB’s work to reduce flood risk and to manage water in a way that meets the local needs of business and agriculture, whilst also dealing with its obligations and commitments to the environment.

The Sustainable Development Team within the Water Management Alliance use each Board’s powers to regulate works on, or affecting, the watercourses within their Internal Drainage Districts. The Sustainable Development Team also advises Local Planning Authorities. The ultimate aim of the team is to ensure that works, such as new developments, will not increase flood risk within the Internal Drainage District.

As a Sustainable Development Officer you will be assisting with the WMA’s regulation of third party works, to ensure these works will not increase flood risk in a variety of landscapes. Your work will be very diverse and will include assessing and influencing works such as major residential developments, flood risk management schemes and National Infrastructure Projects.

While you will be working within the team’s three core areas of work (below) it is expected that the majority of your time will be spent working within the consenting area. 

Core Areas of Work


The primary aim of the ‘Consenting’ area of work is to assess applications for Land Drainage Consent, to ensure that third party works (e.g major developments) will not increase flood risk or hinder the work of the Internal Drainage Board. In doing so you will:

• Interpret relevant legislation such as the Land Drainage Act and the Board’s Byelaws.
• Support the application of the Boards policies.
• Interpret and analyse technical designs, plans and model outputs.
• Consult with colleagues (e.g. engineers and operations teams) when assessing proposals.
• Liaise and negotiate with applicants, agents and other authorities.
• Attend site visits and meetings to assess proposals.
• Apply relevant conditions of consent, to promote sustainable practices. 
• Engage with proposed ‘National Infrastructure Projects’.


The primary aim of the ‘Planning’ area of work is to liaise with Local Planning Authorities, developers and agents regarding individual planning applications and their drainage strategies, to help ensure that these do not increase flood risk. 


The primary aim of the ‘Compliance’ area of work is to safeguard the Board’s regulatory regime and to ensure ongoing efficiency of flood risk management infrastructure. In doing so you will liaise with and assist residents, landowners and other parties to help with general drainage enquiries and undertake both informal and formal enforcement action as required. 

Person Specification Summary 

Essential Qualifications:

• A relevant degree in an engineering, geographical or water management-related subject OR at least 1 year experience working within the water, civil engineering or flood risk management industries.
Essential Experience:

• Experience with effective customer liaison and negotiation.
• Experience interpreting technical plans and information.

Desirable Experience:

• Experience working within the water / flood risk management industry, civil engineering or a Risk Management Authority (RMA) such as the Environment Agency or Lead Local Flood Authority (“LLFA”).
• An understanding of the structure of local government and of working within a democratic process.
• Experience interpreting legal documentation.

Essential Skills/Knowledge:

• Ability to prioritise and organise workloads to meet deadlines and to remain calm under pressure. 
• Effective analytical and negotiation skills as well as a methodical approach to work, demonstrating an attention to detail as well as accuracy in record keeping.
• An understanding of the Land Drainage Act 1991.
• An understanding of the planning system.
• An understanding of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM). 
• An understanding of GIS software.
• The ability to interpret and apply technical information (e.g. British Standards, Codes of Practice, technical reports and plans).
• Good written communication skills (including report and letter writing).
• Good spoken communication skills (including presentation skills and interpersonal, communication).
• Ability to competently use computer software such as Microsoft packages (Access, Excel, Word and Outlook).
• Ability to work well with others at all levels both internally and externally.
• A full and valid UK driving licence. 

For further information please see the application pack available at

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