Prosecution for fly-tipping in Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council, Your environment

Mr Terence Sullivan of Morris Court Waltham Abbey was fined £120 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the prosecution costs of £200 after pleading guilty to an offence of depositing fly-tipped waste on 16 March 2015 in a bin store at Springfields, Waltham Abbey.

The fly tipping of waste in the bin store serving properties in Springfields Waltham Abbey was witnessed by a member of the public on 16th March 2015 and reported to the Council the following day.

Environment and Neighbourhood officers were able to trace the vehicle used in the fly tipping back to Terence Sullivan of Morris Court Waltham Abbey, who when subsequently interviewed under caution admitted being responsible for its deposit which included some waste from his business as a roofing company.

Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 10th December 2015.

We aim to maintain a safe and clean environment

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, the Environment Portfolio Holder, said:

‘We aim to maintain a safe and clean environment for our residents and take all instances of fly tipping extremely seriously. We will pursue a prosecution when we have the necessary evidence, so I encourage members of the public who witness fly tipping to make a note of the details, including the date and time and the registration number of any vehicle involved, and to report it to us as soon as possible, either online or by calling 01992 564608 during office hours or 01992 564000 at all other times.”

Report fly tipping

 

Gambling Policy Consultation

Written on . Posted in Business, Licensing, Regulations

We are required to consult on our Gambling policy every 3 years and we are keen to hear from residents, businesses, licensees and anyone with an interest in the Epping Forest district.

As the licensing authority, Epping Forest District Council must regard the licensing objectives as set out in section 1 of the Act.

The licensing objectives are:

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

Email us your comments to licensing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or send them to Licensing department, Epping Forest District Council, Corporate Support Services, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping CM16 4BZ.

These will be passed to our licensing committee for consideration.

All comments must be received by 31 January 2016.
Click here to read the draft policy

CO levels tested to protect residents

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Food safety, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Public Health team test Carbon Monoxide levels to protect residents from exposure.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, gas which is lethal and can cause asphyxiation. There have been a number of well publicised deaths from CO exposure in recent years which were attributed to faulty gas heaters, boilers and, somewhat surprisingly, the use of barbeque charcoal in restaurants.

Environmental Health Officer Hasan Erdogan and withEnvironment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall

When charcoal cools, CO gasses are produced. These gasses can potentially permeate neighbouring accommodation as well as remain within the restaurant itself, which could have tragic consequences for neighbouring residents and the restaurant’s employees.

CO data loggers fitted

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “There has been an increase in the use of open barbeque equipment in restaurants around our district and, if CO levels are not monitored, this could pose a significant risk to residents and employees. Mindful of our residents wellbeing, our Public Health Team have undertaken CO sampling in 12 of the districts barbeque restaurants. CO data loggers were fitted in each business over a weekend to establish exposure levels.”

Councillor Will Breare-Hall continued: “Of the 12, most were found to be below the legal workplace exposure limit. 5 were identified as having CO levels with room for improvement. These were swiftly and easily dealt with using simple and cost effective solutions, for example, ensuring doors are kept closed to allow extractors to work efficiently, ensuring extractor systems and filters are kept clean, and making sure that the charcoal is removed at the end of the day and not left overnight. Follow up monitoring was undertaken to confirm that the changes had been effective.”

Instant read CO monitor and data loggers

CO testing is important

Councillor Will Breare-Hall concluded: “CO testing is important because high levels can be so dangerous. We are not trying to catch anyone out, we are simply trying to keep our residents and our restaurants as safe as possible.”

“Following this success, a further project is planned to establish whether restaurants in the district that use Tandoor ovens are operating with safe levels of CO. Tandoor ovens traditionally use charcoal and even though many are now gas fired, officers have found that the current trend is for charcoal fired tandoor ovens.”

Food safety advice

Further information on this project, or any health and safety or food safety advice contact the Public Health Team

 

National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Housing, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Did you know approximately 480 properties in the Epping Forest district have been standing empty for more than 6 months. In an area where there’s a huge demand for housing but development on Green Belt is prohibited, it’s very important that as many empty properties as possible are brought back to use.

Empty homes banner

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who live nearby. It’s estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%. There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti social behaviour. For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Reducing the number of empty properties

Epping Forest District Council is committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We offer the following schemes

  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance

    The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.

  • PLACE Loan

    The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within 2 years in the case of a loan to sell, or 5 years in the case of the loan to let.

Whilst the council will always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way, it has certain enforcement powers that it may use to ensure that an empty property is brought back to use particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Committed to bringing empty properties back into use

Housing portfolio holder David Stallan said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

Report an Empty Property

If you are aware of an empty property provide us with the address and any other information you may have and we will do our best to contact the owner, to work with him, to bring his property back to use. All calls are treated in confidence. For further information and advice or to report an empty property, please contact the Empty Property Officer on telephone: 01992 564706 or email: privatesectorhousing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

 

Free weekend parking for December

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Local business, Media, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Pay and Display Car Park charges will be relaxed in the Epping Forest District in the run-up to Christmas this year.

It will be free to park in Council car parks on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the month of December.

Support our local shops

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: “The relaxation of charges will offer our residents a more convenient way to do their Christmas shopping. We want to encourage our residents to shop locally where possible, rather than taking their custom out of the district. This will help support our local shops and high streets throughout the Christmas period.”

It should be noted that all other conditions in respect of Epping Forest District Council’s car parks will remain in force and civil enforcement officers (ENOs) will be patrolling as usual.

Pay and display car parks

 

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme turns 5

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Environmental health, Food safety, Health, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

On 30 November 2015 the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be 5 years old and Epping Forest District Council is proud to be part of it.

More and more customers are making an informed choice about where they eat so we are encouraging all businesses in the district to display their rating. Food businesses work hard to achieve a good rating and it’s something to be proud of.

FHRS infographic

We want to

  • give consumers information about hygiene standards in food outlets so that they can make informed choices
  • drive up hygiene standards in food businesses
  • reduce the incidence of foodborne illness (this is estimated at around 500,000 cases annually from the main causes of foodborne illness – including all types of food borne disease could double this figure to nearer 1 million cases a year)

6 hygiene ratings

The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs, hotels, schools, hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and other retailers.

There are 6 hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0’ (urgent improvement required) at the bottom to ‘5’ (very good) at the top. Around 93% of food businesses are rated a 3 or better so there are plenty of places you can choose with good standards and easily avoid taking your family and friends to those not meeting the grade.

The scheme is designed so that all businesses, no matter how small can achieve the top rating by meeting the legal requirements and any improvements needed to get a higher rating are no more than is required by the law. We’ve seen standards improve. Now more and more businesses are able to show their customers that they take food hygiene seriously.

Look before you book

Look before you book and check the rating at www.food.gov.uk/ratings, by using the mobile app or looking for the green and black stickers which should be displayed at the premises.

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found at www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/hygiene-rating-schemes/rating-schemes-faqs-en.

 

Firework displays in Essex

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community

Bonfire night is full of fun and excitement but it is also the night of the year which creates the most risk of fire.

The best way to stay safe on Bonfire night is to head out and enjoy an organised fireworks display. Click on the link below to go to details of properly organised displays collated by Essex County Fire & Rescue Service.

Firework code

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  7. Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

Read more – information to make sure your firework parties are fun rather than fraught with danger.

Read more – Fireworks: the law.

 

Scams awareness month

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home, Your money

July 2015 is Scams Awareness month and Don’t be Rushed Don’t Be Hushed is a joint campaign between the Citizens Advice Bureau & Trading Standards.

Don't be rushed, don't be hushed

Nearly half of people in the UK have been targeted by a scam. One of the ways that scammers commonly contact people is through the post. As the techniques that scammers use get more sophisticated, it can be difficult to spot the difference between scam mail, junk mail and offers from legitimate companies.

Often these letters carry these titles such as Important Document / Clairvoyant Friend / Cheque to Dispatch / Payment Required / Act Now / Dear Winner.

Help protect yourself

  • You can help protect yourself from postal scams by contacting the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to have your name taken off mailing lists in the UK. This won’t cover mail that is unaddressed or from overseas but will help. The MPS is free. Visit www.mpsonline.org.uk or call 0845 703 4599
  • Put a no junk mail sign on your door
  • If you have received or are receiving something that looks like scam mail, don’t respond to it, talk about it to someone you trust such as a friend, family member, Trading Standards or Citizens Advice bureau

Postal scams want your money

Most postal scams want your money. Letters may claim

  • You have won a lottery, sweepstake or competition. To claim the prize you have to pay an administration fee. You pay the fee & either get back nothing or get something worth less than the fee you’ve paid
  • Money you have won is being held in a holding company … but you have to send money to release it
  • Somebody has left you an inheritance … but you have to send money to find out who
  • A clairvoyant can stop bad luck or direct good luck towards you … but you have to send money
  • Debt Recovery Agencies – threatening court action if a bogus overdue utility bill isn’t paid within 7 days
  • Religious Scam – criminals use religion as a way of deceiving victims, often claiming they are going to pray at Lourdes
  • Charity Scam – criminals send out ‘begging’ letters from fictitious charities. They often use distressing photos in an attempt to pull at the heart strings of caring people

In 2008 a survey conducted by Help the Aged and Barclays revealed that 7 out of 10 older people in Britain – more than 6.6m people – are targeted by scams every month. 22,000 victims replied to 1 scam mail shot and sent £500,000 in 1 day.

Remember

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • It you haven’t bought a ticket – you can’t win it
  • You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize
  • Contacted out of the blue? – be suspicious
  • Never send money to someone you have never met

Report fraud offences

You should report fraud offences direct to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk. You can report any postal scam through their website or by phone.

This is a joint campaign between the Citizens Advice Bureau & Trading Standards.

 

Spread the word, not the germs

Written on . Posted in Business, Food safety, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Your area, Your home

On the 18 May 2015 the Food Standards Agency are launching food safety week and asking consumers to pledge to the chicken challenge. This campaign is focused on handling chicken safely with the aim of cutting Campylobacter food poisoning in half by the end of 2015.

The 2015 chicken challenge

Campylobacter is a foodbourne pathogen that is the most common known cause of food poisoning in the UK. Over a quarter of a million people each year are struck down with the illness which can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting.

Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. About 4 out of 5 cases of Campylobacter infections in the UK can be attributed to poultry sources, mostly raw poultry meat. One of the main ways to get and spread Campylobacter poisoning is through touching raw chicken. Washing raw chicken can actually spread the bacteria by splashing it onto the hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.

Spread the word, not the germs

To avoid the spread of Campylobacter in the home just follow these 4 simple steps

  1. Cover and chill raw chicken – Cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on to other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria
  2. Don’t wash raw chicken – Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present, including Campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs around the kitchen by splashing
  3. Wash hands and used utensils – Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw chicken
  4. Cook chicken thoroughly – Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat and check it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear

For more information on the Chicken Challenge go to www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge.

 

Nightclub licence suspended

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Acting in support of a police request, district councillors have moved swiftly to suspend the licence of a local nightclub.

Epping Forest District councillors met within 48 hours of a request for an Expedited Summary Review of the licence conditions applied to the Villa nightclub in Cottis Lane in Epping. The review followed serious public order incidents at the weekend which left 3 people in hospital.

Members of the Council’s Licensing Committee suspended the Licence pending a further full review of the premises licence which must take place by 31 March 2015.

Serious breakdown of law and order

Committee Chairman Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens said: “The police have gathered clear and compelling evidence of a serious breakdown of law and order on Saturday night. No one wants to close down local businesses but the safety and security of our residents outweighs every other priority. Further evidence and statutory consultations will be gathered over the next few weeks after which we will review the position again.”

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer Communities Team are also co-operating with Essex Police on the investigation. High-quality pictures from the Council’s CCTV cameras have been provided to the police as they work to identify those involved.

Swift response

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: “There is no place for the kind of behaviour we witnessed last Saturday on the streets of our district. I am very grateful to the police and the members of the Licensing Committee for the their very swift response.”

The Licensee of The Villa nightclub has been informed of the council decision and will have an opportunity to make representations as part of the further review process.