The Green Party has six hard working District Councillors making a real difference in the Forest of Dean, both in their wards and district wide.
Chris McFarling (St Briavels)
Chris is Joint Deputy Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council and cabinet member for planning policy, performance & shared working, and climate emergency, reflecting his expertise and passion in these areas and position as Programme Board Chairman of the Foresters’ Forest HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme. It’s great to have a determined Green voice right at the heart of District governance.
Well-known parish and district councillor Chris has been a volunteer for most of his life, working for charities for the homeless and those in nature conservation. His priorities include the rebuilding of communities and the implementation of an integrated affordable public transport strategy. He has made waves locally not just on the classic "green" issues like recycling, wildlife and promoting better insulation for new housing, but also by fighting inappropriate planning applications (such as for the quarry extension), and supporting high food hygiene standards, for the benefit of all Forest of Dean residents. Whereas we hardly ever see or hear from our current MP, Chris has worked tirelessly on behalf of people in the Forest over many years. He is very well-known locally, and passionately committed to the Forest of Dean, his home. We believe this is essential for anyone representing the people of the Forest of Dean in Westminster. Chris says: "I am committed to tackling inequality and improving the chances for everyone, and in particular our young people. We have to open up opportunities on two fronts at once: working locally on issues such as jobs, education and services, and at the same time, by fighting the global threats to everyone's future such as climate change."
Whilst working as a naturalist guide in Ecuador Chris fell in love with the natural world. Understanding the threats posed by climate chaos and the tragic collapse in biodiversity, he developed a deep green ethic. He joined the Green Party to help encourage a better understanding of our natural world and stand up for its protection.
He worked with the BBC NHU for 7 years.
He believes in rebuilding communities and healing divisions in our society.
He has served, and continues to serve as trustee for charities involved with the homeless, the poor and wildlife conservation.
As a long-standing local school governor and parish councillor he aspires to improving the lives of local people.
In 2015 he was elected as the first green member of the Forest of Dean District Council.
In July 2017, he was asked to serve on the new rainbow cabinet to hold the environment, wildlife, heritage and culture portfolios. He has exercised strategic oversight of environmental health, waste and recycling services ever since.
In May 2019, he was asked to serve on the new cabinet as member for planning policy, performance & shared working, and climate emergency.
He works with the Foresters' Forest HLF Landscape Partnership Initiative to sustain, enhance and raise awareness of the natural, built and cultural heritage of this unique Forest of Dean.
He lives with his family in St Briavels. He works part time as a handyman and continues to serve the community and is an inveterate volunteer.
See the positive things that Sid and Chris McFarling have been doing on the Council here.
Andy Moore (Pillowell)
Andy is a member of the Green Party in the Forest of Dean.
Nicky Packer (Newnham)
Nicky is on Ruspidge and Soudley Parish Council. Nicky is a vocal critic of the Cinderford Northern Quarter development and one of her ambitions in becoming a councillor is to influence forward planning policy in the district to take more account of wildlife. She is delighted to serve the vibrant communities in the Newnham ward.
Nicky Packer was born in Wiltshire, then moved to London to college and then to work. She was delighted to be able to move to Gloucestershire, the county of her father's birth, in 1999. She has lived in Ruspidge since 2009.
Working as an architectural technician has given Nicky a wide experience of the planning system. This has been useful in helping to monitor planning applications for Ruspidge and Soudley Parish Council. While living in London, she successfully challenged development plans. This led to the creation of a community wildlife park and the creation of a wildlife corridor and community footpath.
Nicky has often challenged inappropriate developments in the Forest of Dean.
Sid Phelps (Lydbrook and Ruardean)
Forest of Dean District Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Wildlife, Heritage and Culture (also inc Waste and Recycling and AONB Designation).
As District Councillor for Lydbrook and Ruardean, Sid has raised issues that are important to his ward — sucessfully pushing for the opening of the footpath across Black Bridge, the introduction of beavers to alleviate the flood risk to Lydbrook, questioning the lack of affordable housing provision in new housing developments and Road Safety at Worrall Hill.
Since being elected in a by-election in February 2017, Sid has certainly left his mark on the FoDDC. A motion on Transparency & Openness has resulted in just that, with the default position being all meetings being open to the public unless there is a good reason not to. Also Council meetings are now live-streamed. Further motions on Affordable Housing, Viability Assessments (used for developers to default on obligations) and Empty Homes – shows that the Greens are as passionately concerned about people and society as they are about the environment.
Sid was born in a military hospital in West Germany and settled in the family homestead at Worrall Hill as an infant where he was raised. He left the Forest in the early 1980s to go to university and came home in 2012 after raising a family and having a successful career in environmental regulation and pollution control.
Sid had 4 years experience as an Oxford City Councillor before being elected to the Forest of Dean District council in a by-election in February 2017. Since then, he has certainly made his mark on issues affecting Lydbrook and the wider district. Sid is looking forward to further greening the district council especially on issues of Social Justice and trying to mitigate against the almost inevitable fallout from Climate Chaos.
See the positive things that Sid and Chris McFarling have been doing on the current Council here.
Mark Topping (Lydney West and Ayburton)
Mark was born in London but has lived in Aylburton for 20 years. He is married with two children. He has been a green party member for many years, and is keen to help build a strong, sustainable local
He trained as a journalist and worked on local newspapers in south London, as a press officer for the overseas aid agency CAFOD, and as a BBC Radio producer.
For the last 12 years he has been working as an actor, mainly on stage (he's playing the Duke of Exeter in Shakespeare's Henry V this June at Ludlow Castle) but you might have seen him on BBC TV as Rev John Wesley, or as the Mission Commander at Laser Quest arenas. He also narrates both fact and fiction audiobooks.
He loves his garden and is trying to make it a home for as many nesting wild birds as possible.
Dave Wheeler (Newland and Sling) Campaigns Manager
Dave has lived in Redbrook for over 40 years. For over 25 years he has worked in the social housing sector and is currently employed as part of the homelessness team in a neighbouring local authority.
Dave has been a Newland Parish Councillor for 35 years. David is an active member of Redbrook Together, believing that communities can best help themselves by creating community energy. Working as a homelessness officer, he sees first hand how we are failing the most vulnerable in our society. ‘I passionately believe that everyone has a right to equality of opportunity in employment; education; housing and health care.’
As Campaigns Manager, Dave works with Sid to ensure that our candidates can get their message out to voters and we can get even more Greens elected and making a difference for our communities.
We have a team of volunteer officers and committee members who run the local party and co-ordinate our activities.
Jane Carr - Treasurer
Jane works as an organic gardener. She’s our treasurer, a member of gardening groups, LETS, an acapella group and an activist band. ‘But most of all I enjoy this beautiful part of the world and believe the best way to preserve it is with the Green Party.’ As well as being a local activist, Jane looks after our funds and helps to make sure we have the means to make a difference.
Kate Clarke - Press Officer
Kate is our link with the press locally and ensures that our many activities and succeses are publicly communicated.
Jackie Dale, Jane Prescott and John Turville - Party Co-ordinators
You can contact our local co-ordinators via firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Clarke - Social Media
Andy Baker - Website Manager
Andy is an advocate for social justice and animal rights and when not working as a freelance web developer his passions include rugby and cycling.
If you have any suggestions for this website please contact Andy at email@example.com.
Jane Devlin - Events Organiser