LOCALS are being invited to find out more about the potential for the Forest of Dean to be internationally recognised as a Biosphere Reserve, which could see the natural landscape protected "for generations".

A survey has been launched by the district council and the Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) to find out if the public and local businesses want to see the Forest granted Biosphere Reserve status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Cabinet member for climate emergency, Cllr Chris McFarling, explained: "For many, this may be the first time they hear about biosphere reserves, and I encourage everyone to engage with the information available.

"Biosphere Reserve status has the potential to protect the Forest of Dean for generations.

"It is about strengthening our relationship with nature by introducing initiatives that reduce or eliminate activities that negatively affect the environment.

"This is achieved by promoting the wise use of natural and human resources, protecting unique habitats and promoting health and wellbeing through engagement with the natural world.

"This will only happen though, if there is support from local residents and local businesses."

The council says that the status would enable the community to work together to create a "shared vision" for future developments, such as allowing local schools and universities to carry out workshops and research and community-led projects to complete works to protect local woodlands.

It would also protect the Forest’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and ancient monuments.

To find out more about the potential Biosphere Reserve status and to complete the survey, go to fep2050.co.uk/the-forest-we-want.