Council pioneers drone use

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Drainage, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Stories in both the national and local media published over the last week have reported us buying 2 aerial camera systems also known as drones.

This is true but some of the stories have contained inaccuracies which we would like to put right.

DJI Phantom 3 aerial camera system

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click start slideshow.

Cabinet agreed purchase

At a meeting of Epping Forest District Councils cabinet on 11 January 2016 it was agreed to purchase 2 drones for £5,000. This includes Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training for staff. Watch the decision at cabinet.

This money came out of our ‘invest to save scheme’.

The drones purchased are DJI Phantom 3 and will be operated by our GIS team once trained. (GIS = Geographic Information System).

Saving money

We have been buying commercial photographs and videos for site surveys for over 50 years. This has included the hire of drones. Purchasing drones has many benefits that will save the council money and time. These include

  • Real-time surveys for planning purposes saving us having to purchase aerial photography for new planning developments and landscaping enforcement
  • Surveying roofs and guttering on council owned estates saving money and time on scaffolding and surveys
  • Identifying illegal waste transfer sites and previously unidentified unauthorised caravan encampments
  • Find out more on the cabinet report dated 11 January 2016

Generate  income

We are hoping the drones could generate the council income. We will be exploring the opportunities of shared use with other local authorities and public bodies. This will help to ensure we remain a low council tax authority (we have frozen our portion of council tax for the last 6 years).

A valuable tool

We would like to reassure residents that the drones will not be used for snooping on our residents but used as a valuable tool in the fight against environmental and planning abuses. We will not be looking into peoples back gardens.

Innovative use of new technology

This innovative use of new technology helps to save the taxpayer money and helps us to look after the environment in the Epping Forest district, in which we are proud to live, work and enjoy.

 

Safe at home with Careline

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest Careline is for anyone who wants to feel more secure in their home – knowing they can get help at the press of a button.

In addition to pendant alarms, we offer a wide range of telecare sensors, such as smoke detectors, bogus caller buttons and fall detectors.

Careline poster

Safe at home with Careline

For more information please contact us and we’ll be happy to explain the costs and arrange a demonstration.

Find out more

 

Unchosen – modern slavery in Epping Forest

Written on . Posted in Business, Councillors, Crime and safety, Media, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The blight of modern slavery came under the spotlight at a conference held at Epping Forest District Council on 10 March 2016.

The conference were shown films by Unchosen – a hard-hitting website. Through films it tells the story of slaves and the people who exploit them.

Unchosen poster

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture and click to start slideshow.

Speakers

  • Councillor Gary Waller Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety
  • Tony Byrne of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA)
  • Diane Payner of the Salvation Army
  • Anna Di Mascio from Barnados

A modern blight

Gary Waller is also chairman of the Community Safety Partnership a group of local organisations including the Council, Essex Police and Social Services. He reminded delegates that slavery was officially banned in the UK hundreds of years ago and yet it still blights modern lives.

He passed over to Diane Payner of the Salvation Army. She presented the first of the morning’s videos, a heart-rending insight on people trafficking from Eastern Europe into the western sex trade.

Preying on women and children

Anna Di Mascio of  Barnardo’s moved the focus from the exploitation of women to the trafficking of children, brought to the UK and forced into a life of crime, forced marriage and forced labour. Control, intimidation and threats are used not just against the young children but also their families.

The criminals range across Eastern Europe, Africa and South-East Asia, preying on desperate families searching for a better life for their children. The criminals try to stay one step ahead of the authorities, changing routes and counties of origin as law enforcement agencies track them.

Anna Di Mascio says the most prevalent counties of origin are Vietnam, Albania, the UK itself, Nigeria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Romania, Bangladesh, China and the Czech Republic.

Isolated and afraid

Many people caught up in slavery are too afraid to seek help. Others don’t understand that they are being exploited, having been brainwashed by their captors into thinking the abuse is normal. Others pretend to their families that all is well to protect them from worry. The emotional and psychological damage can be as bad as the physical harm they experience.

Men are victims too

Modern slavery is hidden within plain view but there are signs anyone can see. Tony Byrne of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority focuses of forced labour.

He reminded delegates of the Morcambe Bay tragedy in which 21 people died and presented a video depicting forced labour on a chicken farm with the intervention of an ordinary member of the public reporting concerns to the police. He said that within local agriculture and horticulture forced labour will be taking place somewhere.

The GLA also covers food processing and packaging and shellfish processing. Eastern European men are at particular risk of this, predominately exploited by criminals of the same nationalities. The Police cover other areas such as the catering and hospitality industries.

Find out more

 

Limes Centre acoustics improved

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Local business, Media, Older people, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your money

Looking to hire a venue for a children’s party, wedding reception, fitness class or business meeting? With its new acoustic sound deadening panelling The Limes Centre in Chigwell is the perfect choice of venue.

Project manager James Carstairs shows Councillors Alan Lion and Helen Kane the acoustic panelling

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click to start slideshow.

Excellent facility

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “The Limes Centre is valued as an activity centre by the local community and our residents across the district. The panelling is attractive and makes a big difference to the hall. We can now look forward to welcoming more wedding receptions and events to this excellent facility.”

New acoustic panelling

Councillor Alan Lion, Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder said: “The new acoustic panelling is great, this simple solution eliminates the echo which was a real problem to users. Now that the issue with reflected noise has been fixed it’s good enough for the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play here!”

The Limes Centre

The Limes Centre is fully accessible with 3 distinct areas

  1. The Limes Hall – with a fully fitted kitchen and can accommodate up to 150 people (120 seated, 30 standing)
  2. Limes Activity Hall – a space for up to 50 people and has a small kitchen area
  3. Limes Meeting Room – a meeting area for up to 12 people

Find out more

 

Know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Year after year, thousands of pounds of your money is stolen by cheaters, money that should be used to improve your local community.

Spot the cheater – don’t let them get away.

Know a cheat?

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – misusing council properties

Council tax fraud – Falsely claiming Council Tax discounts (including Council Tax Support)

Business rates fraud – Falsely claiming reliefs or exemptions

Do you suspect someone of fraud?

Then tell us about:

Someone who has committed social housing fraud by:

  • illegally sub-letting,
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty,
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application, •
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange,
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed, or
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Someone who has committed Council Tax fraud clamming discount by falsely:

  • stating the property is empty,
  • claiming they live alone,
  • claiming they are a student, or
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital / property in excess of the limit

A person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to.

Spotted a cheater?

 

 

Council tax frozen for sixth year running

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your money

Epping Forest District Council bucks national and local trends by freezing its portion of council tax for the sixth year running.

The Council achieved this despite most other government services increasing Council Tax costs for Epping Forest district residents. The freeze was confirmed at the meeting of full council on 18 February 2016.

Frontline services protected

Leader of the Council Chris Whitbread said: ‘This is the sixth District Council Tax freeze that we have had and it doesn’t come easily. At a time when other Councils are making drastic savings and putting their Council Tax up, we have maintained a nil-increase for our residents whilst protecting our frontline services. We have successfully budgeted and made prudent investments and continue to make Epping Forest a better place to live and work – a place to be proud of.’

Supporting the economy and residents

Councillor Whitbread discussed the Council’s continued investments to the Town Centre Fund; which supports special events for our town centres. He explained that resources have been put into CCTV monitoring, tourism and into the renovation and reopening of Waltham Abbey District Museum, all of which support the District’s economy and benefit residents.

Lowest District Council Tax in Essex

Councillor Whitbread updated others on the plans for transformation, he said that he has ‘ambitious visions for this Council’s future’ and stated that the Council are going to maintain themselves as a ‘low Council tax authority’ and his ‘aspiration is to have the lowest District Council Tax in Essex one day.’

North Weald Market open Saturdays

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

At a loose end at weekends? Why not visit North Weald Market, it’s open every Saturday!

North Weald Market

North Weald Market

North Weald Market is a massive outdoor Market located on the famous North Weald Airfield. It’s just 3 miles from the historic town of Epping and is close to junction 7 on the M11 and easily accessible from the M25.

The entrance is from the A414 on Merlin Way, enter CM16 6AR for North Weald Golf Club and follow the brown tourist signs for North Weald Market.

Vibrant and successful

Last year Saunders Markets won the market licence and have been managing the market from the start of 2016. The company operates many markets in London and Hertfordshire and has a proven record for rejuvenating them.

Airfield manager Darren Goodey said: “Saunders Markets are committed to making North Weald Market vibrant and successful again, which will be good news for customers and traders alike.”

“It’s been a promising start for our new market contractor. They have already increased trader numbers compared to the same time last year. We look forward to working with them in the coming years to make North Weald Market one of the biggest and most diverse markets in the country.”

Find out more

Don’t forget we are holding our community day on Sunday 17 July 2016 to celebrate the airfield’s 100th anniversary – this years theme is North Weald Airfield, 100 years not out!

 

Top energy rating for swimming pool

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Energy efficiency, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool, operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Epping Forest District Council, have seen their energy rating improve considerably over the last year due to a number of energy-saving initiatives.

Waltham Abbey swimming pool covers

The centre installed new pool covers in 2014, in order to reduce heat and energy loss and reduce utility consumption. The £4,000 investment is now showing real results in improving the energy efficiency of the site.

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool have also converted to LED lights throughout the building, installed Passive Infrared Sensors to trigger lights only when people are moving through an area and spent time re-educating colleagues on energy wastage.

These combined efforts have led to a 10-point reduction on their DEC (Display Energy Certificate) which shows the energy performance of a building based on energy consumption. The lower the number the more energy efficient a site is.

Efficient and green

“Everyone Active are committed to making Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool as efficient and green as possible, in order to improve our local environment” says Everyone Active General Manager Chris McCarthy.

“This year we also installed collection bins for recycling batteries, printer cartridges, glasses, CDs, old cassettes and videos. We will continue to invest in the site and encourage staff and members to get involved in our energy saving and green initiatives.”

Reduction in energy use

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool is owned by Epping Forest District Council. Councillor Helen Kane Leisure and Well-being Portfolio Holder said: “The reduction in energy use is fantastic. The council is investing heavily to reduce fuel bills across all our assets. The installation of solar panel on the civic offices in Epping was completed last month.”

“The investment at Waltham Abbey Pool is another major step forward. It is good for business, great for the environment and fantastic for our customers.”

Contact Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool

For more information on Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool

 

Winter weather is on the way

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Emergencies, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Following the record breaking warm weather in December, wintry conditions are set to arrive with temperatures forecast to fall below zero, leading to the possibility of snow and icy conditions.

Get ready for winter

Get ready for winter

The Met Office get ready for winter campaign has lots of useful advice to make sure you’re prepared and don’t get caught out.

  • Communities
  • Keep warm, keep well
  • Protecting your home
  • Trains, planes and automobiles
  • Campaign partners

Health

“Residents should take extra care with their health in cold weather” said Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall.

“Stay warm, eat well, tread carefully and if you need winter health advice go online to NHS Choices Winter health.”

Roads

Councillor Breare-Hall added: “When driving in wintry conditions reduce your speed, allow extra time and make sure your windows are free from dirt and ice.”

“Residents can obtain great advice on winter driving on the AA website, and can find out more on salting routes and salt bins on Essex County Councils winter travel page.”