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 ward)
As Joint Deputy Leader at Forest of Dean District Council, Chris proposed the motion at Council both recognizing and winning unanimous support for Council to declare a Climate Emergency in December 2018.
He is a hard-working Parish Councillor and School governor at St. Briavels and Redbrook Primaries as part of the Wye Forest Federation. He has continued to support the Federation 5 years after his own son graduated to secondary school.
Chris lives with his family in St Briavels working as a part-time handyman. Throughout his life Chris has volunteered for charities for the homeless and nature conservation.
His commitment to the Green movement began whilst working as a naturalist guide in Ecuador, though he also worked with the BBC Natural History Unit for 7 years. Chris co-founded the Galapagos Conservation Trust in the UK to help support the pacific islands Charles Darwin visited in 1835.
Locally, Chris has fought for years against quarry extension in the Dean, supported the Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) campaign and is now championing the Hands off Lydney & the Dilke (HOLD) campaign.
In 2015 he was elected as the first ever green councillor on 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 exercised strategic oversight of environmental health, waste and recycling services
In May 2019, he was asked to serve on the new cabinet as member for planning policy, performance & shared working, and climate emergency. 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, fighting global threats to everyone's future such as climate change and plastic pollution of our oceans."
A passionate campaigning figure and leader who lives and works in the Forest of Dean, Chris was elected as a District Councillor in the St. Briavels ward in May 2019, taking 81% of the vote against his conservative opponent.
Chris has a genuine love for the Forest district, considers carefully all ways in which he can improve people's lives and the place we live in, and fosters partnerships to work together to tackle problems collectively. No wonder he stood as a parliamentary candidate in the general election of december 2019, winning an encouraging 9.1% of the vote (the 7th highest % for a Green candidate nationally). He is keen to stand again should the opportunity arise to lead the Forest to a healthier, happier and more prosperous future.
See the positive things that Sid and Chris McFarling have been doing on the Council here.
Andy Moore (Pillowell ward)
Andy is a member of the Green Party in the Forest of Dean.
Nicky Packer (Newnham ward)
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 ward)
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, 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 Aylburton ward)
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 ward)
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.’
We also have nine Parish and Town Councillors working to make a differece in the Forest:
We have a team of volunteer officers and committee members who run the local party and co-ordinate our activities.
Rachel Pardoe - Treasurer
The Green Party is not funded by big business, nor is it funded by the Unions. All of our money comes from our membership, direct debits, voluntary tithe from our District Councillors and one-off donations from supporters.
Andy Wright - Press Officer
Andy is our link with the press locally and ensures that our many activities and succeses are publicly communicated.
Contact Andy at email@example.com
Jackie Dale - Party Co-ordinator
Jackie Dale has lived in Yorkley for four years but has lived in the Forest of Dean all of her life other than a short spell in Cornwall. She works for the NHS as a Bereavement and Medical Examiner's Officer and previously worked as a registered nurse for the NHS specialising in renal medicine and for a charity in Cornwall specialising in drugs and alcohol detox and rehabilitation.
Since living in Yorkley she has helped to set up the Yorkley Newsletter, has joined the local gardening group, and regularly helps out at the Mend and Repair café. She loves the Forest of Dean, its extraordinary diversity, and quirky character. She cares deeply about the welfare of the people who live here and the wonderful woods and wildlife that surround us. This is what motivated her to join the Green party.
You can contact our local co-ordinators via firstname.lastname@example.org
John Turville - Party Co-ordinator
I have owned property in the District for the last 30 years and have lived here for the last 15 years.
Farming has been my background business for most of my life. However, I have been fortunate to develop other business interests alongside which add to my experience and understanding. These have been in international production and trade but more currently are with commercial property development and operation and in consultancy services linked to renewable energy production and agriculture.
I have no intention of leaving the district and feel that now is the time to provide energy and support for local public and environmental gain by serving as a district councillor for the Ward of Hartpury and Redmarley. My interests are set in protecting the environment and preserving a future for our children’s children. Therefore, as a councillor I will exert any influence I can to prevent damage to, mitigate against and to enhance the ecosystem and its environment.
The future for our children and their children should be any opportunity for the district to develop and set as a national example. The district council have declared that we are facing a climate change emergency and I feel the council in acceptance will be able allow and support innovation to get us through the effects of climate change and create a future.
You can contact our local co-ordinators via email@example.com
Andrew Clarke - Social Media