National Parks are models for sustainable development, which means helping residents and visitors to national parks live and work in a way that helps local communities and the environment they are part of prosper now and in the future.
Sustainable development advisors help to ensure that national park authority activities and management plans are sustainable. They also work with partner organisations to actively promote the ethos of sustainable development, which can be from informal meetings and advice to formal responses to consultations about future building work, transport or other activities which affect the national park.
In England and Wales, national parks deliver the sustainable development fund, which is a grant scheme to encourage sustainable development projects that help the environment and local communities. The national parks are given money from DEFRA and sustainable development advisors help to decide which projects qualify to receive a grant. They also advise people about grant schemes that could be available to them from other sources.
Although mainly office based, they spend some time out and about in the national park meeting residents and businesses and looking at projects that have applied for funding.
A sustainable development advisor needs to have a good knowledge and understanding of sustainable development issues and how these fit with the polices and purposes of a national park. Knowledge of what sort of grants are available to community groups and how to apply for them is also useful.
Experience of dealing with grant applications, including judging different applications against set criteria in order to determine which ones should get funding, is very valuable.
Good communication skills are very important as the job involves dealing with the public and representing the national park to various groups and organisations.