Council powered by the sun

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Energy efficiency, Epping, Media, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Solar panels have been installed on 2 roofs at the civic offices in Epping, saving the council money on it’s energy bills and reducing it’s carbon emissions.

  • 2 photovoltaic solar panel arrays
  • covering 302 square metres
  • a total of 184 solar panels (92 on each roof)
  • life expectancy 25 years
  • cost £72k – pay back just over 6 years
  • annual saving £10k
  • annual carbon footprint reduction 23,000kgs

An excited Cllr Lion shows off roof A

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

Annual savings of £10k

We’ve estimated the 2 photovoltaic solar panel arrays will pay back the original investment of £72k in just over 6 years. The annual savings are estimated to be worth over £10k over the expected 25 years of the solar panels life.

Generating an estimated 43,914 kWh of energy per annum, the solar panels should cut the council’s carbon footprint by around 23,000kgs per year.

Harnessing the power of the sun 

Councillor Alan Lion, Technology & Support Services Portfolio Holder said: “It’s very exciting, harnessing the power of the sun is a great way to reduce our running costs. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and at the same time save taxpayers money. It’s a win win situation for us.”

 

Volunteer Essex website goes live

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Finding volunteering opportunities in Essex is easier than ever with the launch of the Volunteer Essex website.

The website was simultaneously launched across Essex on 14 January 2016, the Epping Forest launch taking place at Loughton Library. Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Liz Webster cut a ribbon to mark its launch.

Give volunteering a go

Search for volunteering opportunities throughout Essex by

  • Postcode
  • Interests
  • Activities

Visit the Volunteer Essex website

Volunteer Essex new website launch

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

The Volunteer Essex website has a comprehensive directory of volunteering roles that are maintained, managed and quality checked by the Volunteer Centres Essex network. It also has a range of features and information to help people get involved.

One-stop shop for volunteering

“The Volunteer Essex website is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering” said Chairman Liz Webster.

“It holds details of more than 2,000 unique volunteering roles, available to residents throughout Essex. It also promotes the fabulous work of over 1,000 community groups and charities active in the county.”

“Voluntary Action Epping Forest manages the volunteer centre in the Epping Forest district. It does not just help local people to volunteer – it also offers support to community groups and organisations to develop volunteering roles.”

Chairman Liz Webster ended with: “These are challenging times and as a community we need to work together to ensure a happy and healthy community for all.”

Why volunteer?

People choose to volunteer for many reasons. Some want to make a difference to the people around them and give something back to the community. Others want to develop new skills and knowledge. All find it both challenging and rewarding.

Epping Town Mayor Councillor Michael Wright, Loughton Town Mayor Councillor Judy Jennings, Myrna Gilbert Trustee for Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Maggie Gilchrist Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Sally Panrucker, Marc Balkham Staff at Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Volunteers Alan Oyston, Linda Mays and James Gilchrist all helped to promote the launch.

 

First steps for Waltham Abbey Neighbourhood Plan

Written on . Posted in Community, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Planning, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Waltham Abbey Town Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Plan by informing Epping Forest District Council of their intentions and submitting an application for the designation of their parish as a Neighbourhood Area.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan if they wish.  The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Development Plans, which must be prepared in accordance with the District Councils Local Plan, can be used to:

  • Develop a shared vision for the local area;
  • Choose where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built;
  • Identify and protect important local green spaces; and
  • Influence what new buildings should look like.

Waltham Abbey Town Council has identified the area to be covered by the plan as the whole parish.  Under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) Epping Forest District Council, as the local planning authority, is required to publicise this proposed area for a period of at least four weeks so that people can comment on it.

View the application

A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed.

This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later as the Plan progresses. The consultation commences on 12 January 2016 and will run for 4 weeks until 5.00pm on 8 February 2016.

Comment on the application

  • Comments can be sent by email to ldfconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
  • Post to: Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.

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.”

 

Unsung hero gets award

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing repairs, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Congratulations to Christopher Bullock from Epping Green on receiving a highly commended award in the unsung hero category in the Pride of Essex Awards 2015.

Pride of Essex 2015 "Unsung Hero" Highly Commended and award winners - Chris Bullock centre

Chris is the Handyman Project Coordinator for Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), a service funded by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

He is a handyman who does jobs for tenants of EFDC properties who are over 60 and or disabled who often have no one else who can help them. Chris does basic jobs like replacing tap washers, flat pack assembly, fitting curtain rails and putting up shelving, plus a lot more!

Extremely courteous and invaluable

Chris was nominated for the award by Mr and Mrs Burton. They moved to the Epping Forest district in 2013 and asked EFDC if anyone could help with basic jobs as both are registered disabled. They were referred to the Handyman Service and introduced to Chris.

The couple now regard Chris as a personal friend  and describe Chris as “Extremely courteous and invaluable.” Mrs Burton added: “We cannot thank him enough for all he does, we wanted him and his work recognised, which is why we’re nominating him for an award.”

Humbled by the nomination

At the Pride of Essex Awards Chris said: “I am genuinely humbled by the nomination. I was really taken back by the incredible efforts nominees had gone to in order to help others, many in the face of their own adversities.”

“The Burtons are just one example of many whose situation compels me to go even further, often working into the evenings in my own time, just to improve their lives. I was the only person nominated who provided a hands on practical support service which highlights how rare the work we do really is.”

“This Award should be shared by all who support the Handyman Service at EFDC and VAEF, as really I’m just the front man. Without this team I wouldn’t have known of their struggles and been able to help them, so thank you from me.”

Volunteer with VAEF

If you would like to find out more about volunteering please contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest

 

Waste and recycling contract reviewed

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Neighbourhoods and Communities Select Committee met on Thursday 17 December to review the changes made to the district’s waste and recycling service in May of this year.

New dustcarts

Introducing the main item, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Neighbourhoods Derek Macnab confirmed that, despite extensive local publicity, few public questions had been received, with only two members of the public in the Council Chamber. Major improvements to the service were believed to account for this.

Highlighting issues 

Waste and Recycling Consultant Len Attrill offered the first evidence to members of the committee for review, taking councillors through the thinking behind the use of Competitive Dialogue and the selection of the most economically advantageous contract during procurement.

Senior managers Roger Edwards, Peter Dickson, Les Smith and Simon Crook for the Council’s contractor Biffa Municipal attended the committee to explain what went wrong during the implementation of new arrangements during the summer months. The Council’s cabinet portfolio holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall was also available to answer questions.

Councillors cross-examined the witnesses in depth, asking about issues as diverse as the HR policies of Biffa during the contract handover, the advantages of the four day collection week, the move to a new depot, the size of the new vehicles, the composition of the rounds and the software problems. Councillor Will Breare-Hall said that with hindsight more lead-in time should have been allowed for the introduction of the change to the four day week. He would also have introduced other changes more gradually rather than all in one go.

Waste Manager David Marsh identified the lack of understanding and local knowledge transferred from old crews to new crews. Roger Edwards said that although it could be difficult to transfer knowledge, with hindsight more could be done in the future to achieve it.

Contact Centre Manager Julie Barnard said that the main problem for her staff was the number of missed collections and the repeated failure to collect missed collections once reported. Major improvements in communications between Biffa and the Council since the introduction of the new service have been achieved.

Committee Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin focused on comments about the failure of assisted collections for residents with special requirements. Simon Crook for Biffa said that a lot of work had since been done to improve this process on behalf of the district’s more vulnerable residents.

Biffa manager Les Smith promised to look personally into problems around contamination of recycling identified by members of the public present at the meeting. Derek Macnab also summarised a list of written questions submitted by members of the public relating to the manner in which Biffa returned emptied bins to households, side-waste and waste separation.

Looking to the future

In summing up, Assistant Director Kim Durrani said that the Council had been in a difficult place but was in a much better position now. Looking to the future he said that the Council was striving with Biffa to improve recycling targets. Simon Crook for Biffa said that he was confident the service was now moving quickly towards the levels everyone would expect. Les Smith of Biffa assured Councillor Heather Brady that Biffa was well prepared for the next few weeks – Christmas – the busiest period of the year.