Be prepared for when winter bites

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Emergencies, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Winter can easily be the most challenging time for driving on our roads: it gets dark early and winter weather can bring all sorts of hazards – not just snow and ice, but hail, heavy rain, high winds, fog and even flooding.

The Highways Agency and local authorities up and down the country have made their plans and have fleets on standby ready to keep roads open. You too can take steps ahead of winter so you will be able to drive safe, avoid breaking down and help reduce the risk of disruption.

Get ready for winter - Travelling poster

Is your vehicle ready for winter?

In winter weather it’s more important than ever to see and be seen, have tyres that grip the road and to start your car in the cold and damp.

Many garages offer a quick, pre-winter check-up for your car.

See and be seen: check windscreen wipers and washers, window demisters, and all lights are working correctly.

Grip the road: check tyre condition and tread depth.

Starting in the cold and damp: check battery condition and anti-freeze.

Get your winter kit ready: ice scraper, de-icer, jump leads, shovel, blanket, sunglasses (for winter glare from the low sun), torch. Get all these things ready at the start of winter and then keep them in the car – you never know when you might need them.

Reduce the risk of breaking down in nasty weather

Breaking down is never a pleasant experience – especially on the motorway. It’s even worse if you have to wait for recovery, outside your vehicle, in cold and wintry weather. You’ll also want your vehicle to be in the best condition to handle difficult driving conditions in severe weather. So it’s a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before the winter to reduce the chance of problems.

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Funday Sunday at North Weald

Written on . Posted in Building control, Chairman, Community, Drainage, Emergencies, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The sun shone as record crowds enjoyed the best Funday yet at North Weald Airfield on Sunday 7 September.

Thousands of happy families and plane enthusiasts started arriving early in the day for the latest event organised by Weald Aviation and Epping Forest District Council.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane completed the first official air display at North Weald Airfield for 15 years (1999 being the last). Stalls, exhibitions, music, classic cars and a funfair for children kept everyone happy on the ground.

The Lord Lieutenant of Essex Lord Petre and the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Tony Boyce were joined by members of the Royal British Legion and veterans of Afghanistan to take the salute. The Epping Forest Pipe Band led the march past and the Last Post was played in remembrance of all who have lost their lives in defence of freedom.

Band of Brothers

2014 is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings marking the start of the liberation of Europe in 1944. North Weald Airfield played a major role in the invasion as the starting point for Czech soldiers in the multi-national airborne force. 50 years later it reprised a similar role as the backdrop to Band Of Brothers, the landmark television series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

Visitors were able to see a special exhibition about the filming of scenes at the airfield with a real DC3 Dakota and many military vehicles forming the backdrop to a display of photographs taken from the film sets.

Fun of the fair

Fairground rides, slides and bouncy castles were free for children in the main arena. Classic cars including Ford Mustangs, MGs and Volkswagen Campers were on show. Many of the airfield’s classic cold-war jets including 2 Gnats made famous by the Red Arrows were on static display. The pride of North Weald’s Cold War jets Hawker Hunter Fox 1 formed up for a spectacular flying display with the ‘Norwegian’ Vampire.

Lord Petre and Councillor Tony Boyce

Marvellous event

District Council Chairman Tony Boyce congratulated everyone involved in the event. He said: “I want to say thank you to everyone at EMAS Weald Aviation, Epping Forest District Council, and the huge number of individuals and other organisations that made it such a fantastic day. It was a marvellous event and a true measure of the community spirit that makes our district such a great place.”

He continued: “I also want to pay a special tribute to the veterans, young and old, who joined us for the day. It was a real privilege for me and the Lord Lieutenant to stand and take the salute with them. In particular I want to say how much I enjoyed meeting RAF medics Kevin and Laura McClean and their young daughter. Both must have saved many lives while serving in Afghanistan on casualty evacuation duties. Kevin is still in the RAF while Laura now works in a local hospital. For me they epitomized all that is best about our great Country and I was proud to stand beside them.”

Profits from the North Weald Airfield Community Day will be donated to the Royal British Legion and the Herts Air-Ambulance.

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Were you affected by the winter floods?

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Commercial properties, Drainage, Emergencies, Housing, Local business, Media, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your environment, Your home

We have a number of measures in place to support residents and businesses affected by the recent floods. They include repair and renewal grants, council tax exemption and the business rates relief scheme.

Financial support, in the form of grant schemes and reliefs, is available for homes and businesses that were affected by flooding between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014.

We can assist with

  • Flood resilience grants for residents whose homes were flooded
  • Business rate relief and flood resilience grants for businesses affected by flooding

Driving through flood water at Broadley Common

Repair and renewal grant

Residents or businesses should contact the Private Sector Housing Grants Team for information on the repair and renewal grant.

Download the form

Please return your completed form to the address on the back page by 31 August 2014.

Business rates

Businesses should contact the council’s business rates office for details of business rate relief.

Find out more


New Air Ambulance response cars

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Emergencies, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust will be able to provide trauma care at times when its helicopters are unable to fly thanks to 2 new fast response cars.

At present, the helicopters operate during daylight hours and the Herts Air Ambulance has a dispensation to fly when North Weald Airfield is closed. A special photoshoot was held at the airfield on Monday 24 March to showcase the 2 new cars before they went operational.

Response car blue lights

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The Vauxhall Insignia VXRs carry a doctor, paramedic, full life-saving equipment and drugs exactly like the helicopters and will be based at North Weald and Earls Colne. Unlike the helicopters, the cars are not weather dependent thereby improving the resilience of the service. The team can provide advanced care to patients whatever the weather, day or night.

With roof markings of 07 and 55, which match the helicopter call signs, they will initially enable the service to respond to incidents during the hours of darkness on Friday and Saturday nights. The response cars were launched during a special ceremony at the CEME Conference Centre in Rainham on Wednesday 26 March.

Evolution of the service

Ben Myer, Deputy Clinical Manager/Response Car Project Lead at the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, described how the initiative came about: “The process of car selection started over a year ago and has involved an extensive trial period and search for suitable cars that meet the required criteria for safety, storage space for medical equipment, security, comfort, and of course, responsiveness and handling. This resulted in the charity purchasing 2 Vauxhall Insignia VXR’s fitted with state of the art blue lights and bespoke livery.”

Dr Adam Chesters, Clinical Research and Training Lead at the Trust, is enthusiastic about the initiative: “Deploying a car-based doctor  and paramedic team is an evolution of the service that will allow us to continue to provide advanced care to our patients, even when the helicopter is not available. We are excited to be able to use this extended service as we continue to train new Doctors and Paramedics as part of a national training initiative for pre-hospital medical care.”

Support your life-saving charity

The vehicles will be a welcome sight across the district. The air ambulances receive no public funding and rely on public subscriptions to carry out their life-saving work.

Find out how you can help on the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust website.


Flooding, be aware and be prepared

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Drainage, Emergencies, Environmental health, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

If flooding has been forecast where you live, listen to local radio or check the Environment Agency’s website for updates and news.

Driving through flood water

Environment Agency

Latest flood warning updates for the Epping Forest district (in alphabetical order)

Know what the levels of flood warning mean

  • Flood Alert: Flooding is possible. Be prepared
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is expected. Immediate action required
  • Severe Flood Warning: Severe flooding. Danger to life


Stay in touch

Listen for flood updates on BBC Radio Essex and Heart Essex Radio.

Get up-to-date weather warnings from the Met Office.

Advice to motorists to take care in bad weather from Essex Police.

Latest incidents from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.


Emergency planning advice from Essex County Council.

Information on emergencies from Epping Forest District Council.

The National Flood Forum is a national charity dedicated to supporting and representing communities and individuals at risk of flooding.

Practical tips and health advice in new flooding leaflet on Flooding: advice to the public.

Flooding presents a number of risks to health – advice from Public Health England.

Do you know what to do with your animals if it floods? Advice from RSPCA.


Photos from around the district

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Telephone problems resolved

Written on . Posted in Business, Democracy, Emergencies, Media, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

5 Feb – 11:30am

Problems with our telephone system have now been resolved. Engineers fixed a fault with the hardware. We would like to apologise to all those who have had problems contacting us and thank them for their patience.

4 Feb – 13:30pm

The telephone system will be taken offline from 13:45pm for approximately 15 minutes for urgent maintenance. This page will be updated when work has finished.

4 Feb – 12 noon

We are currently experiencing intermittent problems with the sound quality on our telephone system.

Symptoms for staff include sound being choppy, distorted or even sounding like they are underwater! If you are experiencing these problems please hang up and try again.

We are working with our suppliers to resolve this problem as soon as possible.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.


Training day for rescue services

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Emergencies, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Essex-based emergency services played out a realistic multi-vehicle motorway crash rescue at a training event on North Weald Airfield on Tuesday 21 January 2014.

Adding extra spice to the scenario of crushed and overturned lorries, a passenger coach, numerous cars and a motorbike was a light plane provided through the Airfield Operations Team from Epping Forest District Council which owns North Weald Airfield and hosted the event.

The day began with a layer of thick fog. The sound of rota-blades announced the arrival of the Herts Essex Air Ambulance and the airfield’s own Fire and Rescue team to extinguish fires set around the plane. A small army of emergency service vehicles and personnel soon followed to deal with numerous casualties played by a mixture of mannequins and live medical students from 3 hospitals in London and Romford.

Participants included

  • Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust
  • Essex Fire and Rescue Service
  • The East of England Ambulance Service
  • The British Association for Immediate Care
  • Essex Police
  • Ambulance HART – Hazardous Area Response Team
  • Highways Agency
  • BJG 24 Hour Breakdown and Recovery Solutions
  • St John Ambulance
  • 16 Close Support Medical Regiment
  • Epping Forest District Council – North Weald Airfield
  • North Weald Flying Services
  • Students from Queen’s Hospital, Romford
  • Students from St George Hospital, Tooting
  • Students from Queen Mary Hospital, South London

The medical students played their roles with cries and calls for help as the teams of Fire Fighters and medics planned and implemented the response. Teams of observers monitored the process for a full de-brief in the airfield control tower at the end of the day.


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Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “This was a truly impressive display of professionalism and training by the emergency services. We all hope these kinds of events never happen for real but it is very reassuring to see how well the emergency services train and prepare. It was very pleasing to put North Weald Airfield at their disposal for the day and also very valuable training for our own airfield based rescue teams.”


Coastal flooding updates from Essex Police

Written on . Posted in Business, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Your area, Your council, Your environment

Essex Police and its partners are advising that the main times where people could be affected by the coastal floods is an hour either side of 1:15am on Friday 6 December 2013.

The main areas that are going to be evacuated are in Jaywick area, however residents in all coastal areas could find themselves at risk of flooding and are advised to follow the flooding advice that is detailed on the Essex Police website.

Essex Police have set up a dedicated hotline that people can call for information



Weather leads to local travel disruption

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Countrycare, Emergencies, Epping, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our countryside, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area

Severe weather overnight is continuing to cause travel disruption across the region. Fallen trees and debris has affected road and rail routes across the county. Motorists are being advised to take extra care on local roads. Standing water may also add to the hazard of debris from trees and buildings.

Storm damage - take care on the roads

Contact numbers

Residents are being directed to Essex County Highways to report fallen trees on

  •  0845 6000 110

Essex Police has also issued two numbers for non-emergency weather related calls

  • 0800 092 0410
  • 020 7158 0124

Keep up to date

According to BBC Essex, there is widespread disruption across Essex. There are reports of power supply problems in Theydon Bois, Coopersale and High Ongar. The M11 southbound between Harlow and Bishops Stortford (Junctions 8 and 7) has been closed by a blown over lorry. The Central Line was closed between Leytonstone and Epping by several trees on the line. On the M25 the QEII bridge has been reopened.

Golding’s Hill in Loughton has been blocked by a fallen tree. A tree is down just past Rolls corner blocking entry to Chigwell. On the Dobbs Weir Road a Highways team completed the removal of a tree blocking the road. There was also evidence of another tree already removed in Lindsay Street. A tree is reported to be partially blocking the Four Wantz Roundabout at Ongar. Other roads will be affected across the district.

Other local headlines include the Helter-Skelter blown down on Clacton Pier and the Travelodge roof at the Army and Navy partially blown away and closing Parkway and other roads in Chelmsford.

Refuse and recycling vehicles have gone out this morning. However, many blue boxes and recycling sacks are being blown by the wind. Operatives are laying down wheelie bins where appropriate so they do not get blown about. Street cleansing operatives are emptying litter bins and will carry out litter picking where and when possible. Essex County Council has closed the landfill sites, so that will cause some disruption to collection arrangements.

Epping market is officially closed.

Epping Forest District Council’s Housing services has reported fence panels and TV aerials down which are mainly tenants responsibilities, and one house damaged by a fallen chimney in the Broadway, Loughton.

The Met Office reports that the strongest of the winds have now moved out into the North Sea and the Amber Warning for Wind  that has been in force for some time has now been cancelled.

Safe as houses with HomeSafe

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Local business, Media, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Local estate agents have joined forces with the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership to fight crime by spreading the home safety message to local homeowners.

Residents buying a house or flat in the district are being given a special Home Safety pack when they move in. The HomeSafe initiative consists of advice on home security and fire prevention given to residents on completing the purchase of their new home.


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“Moving home is the most popular time to make home improvements. So when we are spending all that money, it is also the time to think about making our new homes as safe and secure as possible.” said Councillor Gary Waller, Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety.

Councillor Waller continued: “The HomeSafe Home Safety Pack provides a starter kit for your new home. It contains advice for new home-owners on everything from changing locks to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The first thought for many people when they move in is often new curtains, carpet or kitchen whereas the first job ought to be changing your locks and the code to your burglar alarm.”

HomeSafe Home Safety Pack

Also included in the packs are property marking guides, health service information, and advice about registering to vote. The pack comes with a handy home security checklist to help occupiers identify any security issues with their new property. Over 30 estate agents are participating in the scheme throughout Epping Forest district. The scheme is being part funded by the Essex Police & Crime Commissioners ‘new initiatives’ fund and Epping Forest District Council.

Chief Inspector Tracey Harman, District Commander responsible for Neighbourhood Policing locally also supports the scheme. She said, “Epping Forest district is a very safe place to live, we have made great strides in reducing domestic burglary significantly this year. However, we are not resting on our laurels and we will continue to work hard to keep it that way. This is an innovative partnership scheme which we hope will get new home owners thinking about their security as they move in when they are more likely to make any necessary improvements.”

Councillor Waller concluded: “Although we are working with local estate agents to target new home-owners, it is always a good time to review your home security no matter how many years since you moved.”


For free and impartial security advice speak to your local police Crime Prevention Officer by dialling 101 or visit the Essex Police website.