Principal Ecologist

Country:  United Kingdom
Position Location:  Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Contract Type:  Permanent
Work Pattern:  Full Time
Sector:  Water
Discipline:  Environment
Job Ref:  1288
Recruiter Contact:  Emma Cantley

Mott MacDonald


We’re a global engineering, management, and development consultancy. 
Our purpose is to improve society by considering social outcomes in everything we do, relentlessly focusing on excellence and digital innovation, transforming our clients’ businesses, our communities and employee opportunities. 


A fundamental part of this is respecting each person’s differences and striving to meet their needs. 


We are proud to be a one of Glassdoor’s top employers to work for in the UK, as well as being recognised as a Top Inclusive Company in the UK.


Our values: Progress, Respect, Integrity, Drive, Excellence. 


About the division 


Environmental and social considerations are central to Mott MacDonald’s Purpose and its offerings across all sectors and territories. Our environment and social business provides essential services and innovative solutions which anticipate our clients' needs across all sectors. 


Overview of role


Do you live in Newcastle upon Tyne and surroundings or are you looking for an exciting change?


Our Northern England Environment and Social team, based in Newcastle, is increasing in size in line with our work locally. We are looking to recruit a principal ecologist to establish a new ecology team in our Newcastle office to sit within our team of environmental professionals. We have varied projects in Northern England including renewable, road, and power schemes which the new team would be involved in, as well as working closely with our Leeds, Sheffield Altrincham, and Liverpool teams. You would be part of a team of over 140 ecologists nationally with specialists in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecology.   


We are a highly collaborative team across all environmental disciplines, which makes Mott MacDonald a great place to work. While we are an employee-owned company, our ecology teams are small enough to have a family feel but large enough to work on some of the UK's biggest projects. These are led and supported by a fantastic mix of specialists with a wealth of experience and a culture of supporting and learning from others, coaching, and mentoring.


We pay our ecologists in line with their engineering colleagues with the ability to earn performance-based bonuses throughout the year. Our projects are diverse, interesting, and technically challenging and we excel in offering innovative solutions. Our ecology teams across the UK are highly experienced in their fields and are proactive when working together imparting knowledge. We are a well-respected company with strong values.


We have a dedicated wellbeing network that can help you with advice and information and share key resources. Our Environment and Social division hold environment forums and numerous knowledge-sharing webinars on a range of topics such as biodiversity net gain and climate change, bird surveys, environmental impact assessments and development consent orders, and floating wetlands for water treatment. Through our corporate social responsibility work we aim to make a positive difference and staff are supported to participate in activities to support their local communities.


Our Newcastle office is Time Central, 32 Gallowgate, 6th Floor, Newcastle on Tyne (GBNE01)


We are seeking a principal ecologist who enjoys leading and working within a close-knit team that operates in and is supported by larger regional and national teams. You should have or be developing, an effective record of project and people management and a high level of technical knowledge. You should be able to confidently provide direction and support as an ecology discipline lead on a variety of projects. You will be passionate about using your experience and knowledge for the natural environment and professional excellence, leading the team the development of innovative solutions both for our wide range of clients.


You would contribute to the growth of our people within your team in Newcastle as well as the wider UK ecology team.

You will enjoy rising to a challenge, working across disciplines, finding ways to add value for our customers, using and promoting integrated solutions and innovative technology, and above all, ensuring quality is maintained. Most importantly you will be helping us to build a lasting and sustainable environmental business.

This opportunity is not a one-way street as we will give you an exciting space in which to develop yourself as well as support in developing the team. You will be visible within our business, working with other ecology team leads across the UK and providing you with the opening for your reputation to grow, allowing you to influence peers both internally and across the sector. 

Candidate Specification




  • Experience in the UK ecological consultancy market, with a strong external-facing, client-orientated approach. 
  • A degree in Ecology (or a directly related subject).
  • Full member of CIEEM.
  • Strong knowledge and experience in the interpretation of wildlife legislation, key policy, and guidance to advise clients and manage ecological projects.
  • Experience in overseeing the design of, and leading, ecological surveys for small and large-scale projects including Phase 1 habitat surveys and protected species surveys (notably bats). 
  • Proficiency in writing and quality assurance of reports, ensuring high standards and good attention to detail.
  • Experienced in the production of Ecological Impact Assessments and Habitats Regulations Assessment reports. 
  • Good commercial awareness, experience of winning work and and the ability to deliver contracts on time and within budget. 
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Excellent business development skills with drive and ambition to grow these key areas. 
  • Willingness to mentor and develop junior staff. 
  • Willingness to encourage innovation and digital services. 
  • Willingness to travel throughout the UK.



  • A masters or higher degree in Ecology (or directly related subject).
  • Chartered Ecologist or Environmentalist.
  • Experience in people management and training / mentoring junior ecologists.
  • Have held Natural England protected species development licence(s), ideally for great crested newt and / or bats.
  • Experience in using the UKHab classification and the DEFRA biodiversity net gain metric.
  • Basic GIS skills.





Equality, diversity, and inclusion 

We put equality, diversity, and inclusion at the heart of our business, seeking to promote fair employment procedures and practices to ensure equal opportunities for all. We encourage individual expression in our workplace and are committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels they can contribute.



We want you to perform your best at every stage in the recruitment process. If you are disabled or need any support to enable you to apply or attend an interview, please contact us at and we will talk to you about how we can support you.


Agile working 

Happy to talk Flexible Working and how we can support your responsibilities beyond the workplace.


We offer some fantastic benefits including:


Health and wellbeing

  • Private medical insurance for all UK colleagues.
  • Health cash plan to support you with every day health costs and treatments.
  • Access to Peppy, providing free support from menopause experts for all UK colleagues.
  • A variety of wellbeing support is available through our comprehensive wellbeing program, including access for you and your family.
  • Ability to flex your salary to opt into a wide range of health benefits, many of which can be extended to your family too.

Financial wellbeing

  • We match employee pension contributions between 4.5% and 7%.
  • Life assurance equal up to 4 x your basic salary, with an option to increase the level of cover to 6 x your salary.
  • Our income protection scheme provides a financial benefit, as well as absence and return to work support due to long-term illness or injury.
  • Flexible benefits, including increased life assurance cover, critical illness insurance, payroll saving and will writing.
  • As an independently owned business we share the financial success of the business with all our colleagues in various ways including annual bonus schemes.


  • A minimum of 33-35 days holiday each year, inclusive of public holidays and dependent on level, with the ability to buy or sell leave through our flexible benefits programme.
  • Holiday entitlement increased to a minimum of 35 days after 5 years’ service.
  • Variety of employee saving schemes and discounts from high-street retailers.

 Enhanced family and carers leave

  • Enhanced family leave policies, including 26 weeks paid maternity and adoption leave, and two weeks paid paternity/partner leave.
  • Our shared parental leave matches maternity leave meaning we pay up to 24 weeks at full pay.
  • Up to five additional days leave are provided for those with significant caring responsibilities, two of which are paid.

 Learning and development

  • Primary annual professional institution subscription.
  • A broad range of opportunities to enhance both technical and soft skills through mentoring, formal training, and self-development options.

Networks, communities, and social outcomes

  • Join a wide range of groups including our Advanced Employee Networks which support our LGBTQ+, gender, race and ethnicity, disability, and parents/carers communities.
  • Make a difference within our communities through our social outcomes.

Apply now, or for more information about our application process, click here.