Chris proposed the motion to District Council in December 2018 to declare a Climate Emergency, winning unanimous support from cross party members. Chris has led on climate action in the district council as cabinet Portfolio holder and recently, Chairing the Climate Leadership Gloucestershire Group across the County.
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.
Then in May 2019, Chris was re-elected as a District Councillor in the St. Briavels ward, taking 81% of the vote against his conservative opponent. He was asked to serve on the new cabinet as member for planning policy, performance & shared working, and climate emergency. He was relieved of his duties as a cabinet member on 19th September 2022, on a difference of opinion with the leader.
Chris says: "I am committed to tackling inequality and improving the chances for everyone to flourish, and in particular our young people. We need to provide attractive and affordable alternatives that people can take to reduce their impact on the environment. Greens are about taking the path that helps create a fairer society while tackling the climate and ecological crisis. We are the only party with the will to invest in a cleaner, greener, fairer, more affordable future.
A passionate campaigning figure and leader he has lived and worked in the Forest of Dean for over 20 years. Chris lives with his family on St Briavels Common, working as a part-time handyman when he can. Throughout his life he has volunteered for charities for the homeless and in nature conservation. He has been in office as a dedicated local parish councillor, and school governor for Redbrook and St Briavels Primary schools for more than a decade.
As a child, Chris grew up playing outdoors in the woods and fields around his council housing estate, where wildlife abounded. His commitment to the Green movement was galvanised whilst working as a naturalist guide in Ecuador and then working with the BBC Natural History Unit for 7 years. Chris says: “I have seen the incredible beauty of nature, yet witnessed its destruction from mining, pollution, deforestation and harmful development. We are losing so much and I want to stop that before its too late.”
Chris co-founded the Galapagos Conservation Trust in the UK in 1995, to help protect the incredible wildlife of the enchanted islands Charles Darwin visited in 1835.
Locally, Chris has fought for years against quarry extension in the Dean, particularly at Stowe Hill, Clearwell, where planning permission was unfortunately granted in 2020 to extend the quarry if the status of the Slade Brook SSSI was not compromised.
Chris continues to fight against the expansion of Clearwell Farm’s intensive poultry rearing and feed-mill business on grounds that it is harming the protected bat roosts and ancient woodland that adjoin the site.
He was a fervent supporter of the Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) campaign championed the Hands off Lydney & the Dilke (HOLD) campaign in the face of plans to build one single hospital in the Cinderford area. Chris also Chaired the Programme Board of the truly successful Foresters Forest HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme and hopes to continue working with the Forest community to further protect our natural and cultural heritage through initiatives like the Our Forest forum, and gaining UNESCO Forest Biosphere status.
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 common 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).
The Forest of Dean Green Party has unanimously selected Chris McFarling as its parliamentary candidate in the next General Election.
Chris says 'I am delighted and frankly honoured by the support I have received from Green party members. I can’t wait for the opportunity to show the electorate that we Greens do politics differently. We are hard-working and honest in our approach and we really care. We are the only party serious about fighting climate change and the loss of our beautiful wildlife but that doesn’t mean we are a single-issue party. Far from it, as many residents know from the work Green councillors do in our local communities, we cooperate with others to get the job done'.
Chris will be known to many in the Forest as their first Green councillor. Since he was elected in the St. Briavels ward in 2015, he has continued to serve in public office at parish, district and county level to represent the people he serves whatever their background or political allegiance. As the proposer of the declaration of a climate emergency, Chris understands full well the predicament we are in. As a naturalist by vocation, he brings an incredible world experience to government if elected.
As Chris says 'For me, people and planet come first and I am grateful to the thousands who voted for me at the last General Election. More and more people are fed up with the traditional parties and their infighting, whilst Greens increasingly stand out as supporting the common good. The Forest of Dean Green Party will soon reveal its inspiring local manifesto for a positive change. Please vote Green whenever the opportunity arises'.
Chris can be contacted at