#BinIt or get a £75 fine

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People who throw litter from their vehicles or drop litter on the streets can expect a £75 fine.

Love Essex group

Don’t toss it – #BinIt

Epping Forest District Council has joined up with other councils and businesses across Essex as part of the Love Essex Don’t toss it – #BinIt campaign launched on Monday 15 August 2016 to highlight the problem of littering.

According to Keep Britain Tidy almost a third of motorists admit to throwing rubbish out of their vehicle window.* The ‘Don’t toss it – #BinIt’ campaign warns litter offenders, both drivers and pedestrians, that their anti-social behaviour comes with a fine of at least £75.

It costs £17 million a year

“It costs £17 million a year to keep Essex clean and tidy,” says Councillor Will Breare-Hall (Environment Portfolio Holder), “That’s £17 million which could be spent on other initiatives in our communities. People know what they should be doing with their litter – and it is not throwing it on the ground. Litter offenders are still in the minority, but the price of their actions is paid by everyone.”

Councillor Breare-Hall added: “Adults need to set a better example. Every year, we talk to school children across the district at Crucial Crew about littering. It is very clear that the children know that littering is anti-social and they do not like to see it, yet we still see litter alongside many roads across the district dropped by adults. Your litter is your responsibility. There are hundreds of bins for your rubbish across the district but if you can’t find one, take it home.”

Enforcement officers from the council have issued over 100 fixed penalty notices for littering offences, with fines amounting to over £5,000. Officers regularly carry out littering patrols and will also report offenders when they are out across the district completing other work.

There is no excuse

Councillor Will Breare-Hall added: “The message could not be clearer, residents across the district don’t like litter, there is no excuse and you will get fined if we catch you littering.”


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Council condemns racism, xenophobia & hate

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

In the wake of the EU referendum leave verdict, a motion condemning racism, xenophobia and hate crime received unanimous backing by Epping Forest District councillors at a meeting of Council on 26 July 2016.

Hate is unacceptable

Councillor Steven Neville put forward the motion that stated: ”As a council, we are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country. Our council condemns racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate against others to become acceptable.”

”We will continue to ensure that local bodies and programmes have the support and resources they need to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia. We reassure all people living in this area that they are valued members of our community.”

”The council welcomes the fact that all reports of hate crime are properly followed up and that Essex police are working closely with the council’s Community Safety team to provide a proper response to all such reports in order to deter further incidents.”

Hate crime reports up

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller proposed the following amendment, which was agreed by council: ”The council notes that the number of hate crime reports in the Epping Forest District rose during the week following the referendum on 23 June 2016, though such incidents are rare compared with some Essex local authority areas. It is noted furthermore that the figure has subsequently fallen back, although any occurrence is unacceptable.”

Inappropriate poster in Loughton

The adoption of the motion coincided with the discovery of an inappropriate poster, crudely fixed to a road sign on Willingale Road in Loughton.

The sign, which said ”Now British people can come first. You are a ****** if you remove this” was brought to the council’s attention by a concerned resident. The notice was removed by council officers on the same day.

Come forward

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller added: ”Offensive graffiti, hate crimes, xenophobia and racism will not to be tolerated by this council. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of any of these crimes, the sooner you come forward, the sooner are able to act alongside our partners in the community safety partnership.”

Report it

He continued: ”If you have been the victim of any such crimes or see any offensive graffiti, we would encourage you to tell us by reporting it online, contacting the Community Safety Team or Essex Police on 101. If you  feel you are in immediate danger, always contact the Police on 999.’’

Untaxed vehicles crackdown

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Business, Community, Crime and safety, Doing business with the council, Local business, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

In a national drive to crack down on untaxed vehicles on public roads, Epping Forest District Council will be working in partnership with the DVLA from 1 August 2016.

Untaxed vehicles

Clamped or seized

With the assistance of the DVLA, Council officers will be able to check the road tax record of any vehicle. If the vehicle is not taxed, it will be either clamped or seized and taken to a DVLA contractors depot.

The owner could have to pay as much as £160 (plus storage costs) and will have to prove the vehicle has valid road tax before the vehicle can be reclaimed.

Delighted to be working in partnership

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ‘’I am delighted that the council is working in partnership with the DVLA. Untaxed vehicles are often difficult to trace, but with our help, the DVLA will broaden their ability to find the offenders and reduce the number of untaxed vehicles within our district.”

He continued: ‘’Untaxed vehicles contribute to congestion, take up valuable parking spaces and use resources paid for by others. Their drivers are more likely to commit traffic offences such as speeding, illegally parking and driving without insurance, which presents risks for other drivers. Untaxed vehicles are often abandoned and eventually become vandalised. Working alongside the DVLA will help to improve road conditions for our residents and other road users.’’

‘Freeze not throw away’ for Food Safety Week

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

We are supporting this year’s Food Safety Week which runs from 4-10 July 2016. It aims to help people better understand how to waste less food safely, by making more use of their freezers.

Infographic - food safety week 2016

New research

New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68% of UK adults report that they have thrown food away in the past month.

Over two thirds (36%) of those who had thrown away food said they have discarded food as it was past its use by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it, which was reported by 30% of people; and not having the chance to eat food before it went off, which almost a quarter (23%) gave as an excuse for putting food in the bin.

This contributes to the 7 million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK each year which, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, costs each household around £470 annually.

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Help tackle the problem

Epping Forest District Council is backing the FSA’s campaign to encourage residents in the Epping Forest district and across the UK to help tackle the problem of food waste by planning ahead and, if necessary, to freeze  food within its use by date if there is a chance you may end up throwing it away once the use-by date expires.

This waste is unnecessary

Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary, and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem.”

“Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts. 31% of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste – that’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week.

The freezer is like a pause button

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder at Epping Forest District Council said: “Lots of people believe food can only be frozen on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use by date. You can even cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze it to eat on another day.”

“With so much food being thrown away in the UK each year, we want our residents to think about how they can use their freezers to their full potential, rather than putting food in the bin.”

“While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within 3 to 6 months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”

Want to know more?

For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.


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

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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.