The target area for Local Action in the Forest of Dean covers the District Council's Parish and Ward boundaries which consist of 41 Parishes and 27 Wards. The area currently has a population of 80,900 living in an area covering 526 square kilometres. Over 120 sq kilometres of this is woodland, managed by the Forestry Commission and others. The Forest of Dean area is set between the Rivers Severn and Wye and is an area of outstandingly beautiful countryside which attracts many visitors. Other than the four "market" towns the Area has a dispersed settlement pattern. It has a "specialness" important to local people arising from its cultural identity and high quality natural environment. 42% of the population are based in the four market towns of Coleford, Cinderford, Newent and Lydney with the remaining 58% living in smaller, rural and widely scattered settlements. The Forest of Dean is intrinsically very attractive, has less multiple deprivation than the national mean, but in economic terms it has historically tended to be a lagging area due to an over-reliance on declining industries. As a consequence, although its residents have a below national average level of unemployment, suitable qualified employment for many necessitates they commute out of the district; and those jobs that that there are in the District tend to be less well paid, with nearly 85% of companies employing less than 10 persons.
Local Action is directed by an Executive which comprises 16 representatives from the private, public, voluntary and community sectors and local authority within the Forest of Dean District. Roles and responsibilities have been assigned to each executive member aligned to their knowledge, expertise or linkage within specific sectors and/or groups across the community. A bottom up approach is led by each member to ensure widest possible engagement with residents and businesses. The Executive meets monthly and its assigned sub groups meet more frequently.
LAG Manager: Neil Batt
Tel: 01594 812608
The strategic objectives centre around 3 themes:
A guiding principle within the three themes is sustainability which will be developed in partnership to ensure a robust sustainability proofing mechanism through the implementation of agreed protocols.
This Local Development Strategy (LDS) for the Forest of Dean consolidates two initial expressions of interest, Carving a Vision for the Future and Transition Forest Of Dean and is entitled, "Securing the Future of the Forest of Dean". The LDS was developed on behalf of the Forest of Dean Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) which disbanded in April 2011. The Local Action Group (LAG) includes key members of the former LSP but is expanded to include other partners to strengthen engagement with the wider community and to provide sector specific expertise.
The LDS for the target area builds on previous approaches and tackles the area's significant problems of economic underperformance that earlier action plans failed to fully address. It also looks at emerging economic, environmental and social issues and ways in which we can prepare for the challenges ahead. Extensive consultation and collaboration has been undertaken with stakeholders and community groups within the target area which has provided the basis for this strategy. There is a real desire to work together to find solutions which will enable the area to advance and prosper and improve the quality of life for all sectors of the community. The strategy has been referenced against the principles set out in the SW RIP & other County strategies and Plans to ensure integration and alignment with other investment themes.
Deploying projects which enable communities and households to address and take ownership of their Carbon Footprint.
By 2014 Local Action in the Forest of Dean will have facilitated the following:
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