Council Partnership Aided Beacon Status Bid

Written on . Posted in Emergencies, Uncategorized, Your council

The Beacon SchemeStrong partnership working between Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council played a significant part in the County Council`s `Beacon Status` award for Emergency Planning earlier this year. The close links were tested briefly last week as Loughton High Road was closed due to a gas leak. The Beacon Scheme was established by the Government in 1999 to identify local government excellence and best practice.

All Councils are now required to play an enhanced emergency planning role since the introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act in 2004. Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Councils have complimentary arrangements for responding to emergencies. They share emergency planning staff and expertise, and run test exercises together aimed at ensuring the best possible combined response.

Loughton Gas LeakCouncillor Mrs Syd Stavrou, Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: It is often the Police or Fire Service that leads in emergency response but Councils can be called upon in very important supporting roles. We never know exactly what the next emergency is going to be so we plan in terms of the services we can provide such as rest centres, building control advice or public health expertise. We also have vehicles and machinery that can be put at the disposal of the emergency services as well as small stores of items such as sandbags.

In the last few years we have been called upon in situations as diverse as an unexploded war-time bomb, floods and fire. We were on standby during the fuel blockade to help ensure essential services continued to be delivered and formed part of the nation-wide response to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001.

A great deal of our recent planning and training has centred on the role we would play during a Flu Pandemic, during which Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council would support the Health agencies. Separately, every agency continues to take terrorist threats extremely seriously and we also plan for man-made emergencies too.

Councillor Mrs Stavrou added: We were very pleased to be recognised by Essex County Council as a Beacon Partner for Emergency Planning. It reinforces the strong partnership working that has existed in Epping Forest for many years. Mercifully, the emergencies to hit the District in recent years have been relatively small scale but people will remember the scenes of the fuel storage fire in Buncefield, Hertfordshire and the Korean cargo jet airliner that came down a few miles north of us in Uttlesford just a few years ago. Whatever, the future holds we must be prepared.

Weather Update: Flash Flooding Hits District

Written on . Posted in Business, Emergencies, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Your area

Severe weather warnings are still in force and more rain is expected. Over the last few days (the 14 June 2007 in particular) the District has been vulnerable to flash flooding like many other parts of the Country.

The rain has been so heavy for short periods that it has overwhelmed some drainage systems. Flash flooding tends to be very localised and rapidly dissipates in most cases. Within the District, Ongar has been worst hit over the last few days.

All of Epping Forest District Council`s Flood Alleviation Schemes have worked well and areas such as North Weald that are normally prone to flooding have been largely unaffected.

However, despite the efforts of all the various agencies including Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council Highways, Thames Water and the Emergency Services, a small number of homes have been flooded. Water came up so rapidly in these instances that there was little anyone could do to help.

More flooding is possible over the next few days. In partnership with other organisations, Epping Forest District Council will continue to do all we can. People who think they may be at risk of flooding should protect themselves.

Link to Environment Agency Flood Advice
    Sandbags are available from a number of different suppliers including:

  • SG Baker
    Grantham, Lincs – Telephone 01476 565501
  • Jewson Ltd
    Greensted Road, Ongar – Telephone 01277 362231
    Bridge House Wharfe, Lea Road, Waltham Abbey – Telephone 01992 714000
  • Travis Perkins Ltd
    140 High Street, Epping – Telephone 01992 572231
  • Rolathene Ltd (Bags only)
    Unit 41, Hillgrove Business Park, Nazeing – Telephone 01992 892525

A spokesperson for Epping Forest District Council said: “We are part of the emergency response and do have limited supplies of sandbags but flash flooding is one of the most difficult challenges. Water can rise so quickly that by the time a Council lorry arrives it can be too late. Anyone living in an area vulnerable to flash flooding would be well advised to make sure they have their own supplies or have taken other precautions to protect their property.”

Council adopts ICE emergency measures for staff

Written on . Posted in Business, Emergencies, Media, Residents

In response to the latest reports on child obesity Shapes Gym at Waltham Abbey has launched a new exercise class for youngsters.

TEENSPIN is the latest exercise craze sweeping the UK so Shapes has started 30-minute instructor led static cycling classes to classic, modern and upfront beats for Teens aged 13 – 15 years, of all abilities

It`s a brilliant way to get fit and have fun, said Health and Fitness Manager, Sarah Linger. We launched the sessions five weeks ago and they`ve been sold out every week since.

Sessions cost £1-50 for Teen gym members and £2-00 for non-members and take place every Tuesday evening at 5pm “ and Mondays and Fridays during school holidays at 2.30pm.

TEENZONE sessions are also held in the gym on Sunday evenings and daytimes throughout the school holidays.

For more information on the sessions or to book (as spaces are limited) please call 01992 716733.

London Explosions

Written on . Posted in Business, Emergencies, Residents, Your community

Following the closure of the London Underground and London Bus networks, Epping Forest District Council has put members of its emergency planning team on standby and alerted senior councillors.

Councillor John Knapman, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: Many of us will have seen the distressing images from London on our TVs this morning. So far we understand that the London authorities are dealing with the situation and we have not been asked to assist. However, as a district with Central Line services and many residents who commute to work in London each day, we are obviously concerned and keeping the situation under review.

Councillor Knapman added: This is not a time for speculation or needlessly increasing the concern of family and friends who will already be trying to contact loved ones. The District Council is one small cog in a large machine of London-based organisations and neighbouring authorities which sadly have to plan and prepare against the day when such events as this may happen.

Councillor Brian Sandler, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council added to Councillor Knapman’s comments. He said: My heart goes out to everyone who has been touched by the terrible events in London. Yesterday, London received the best possible news when the world community placed its faith in us to deliver the 2012 Olympic Games. As a nation we are renowned for rising to challenges and overcoming adversity. Those people who seek to terrorise us do not understand the spirit and determination of the British people. London has received a grievous blow but I know we will recover from these acts. Now is the moment for us to pull together as a nation and as a community.

Councillor Sandler added: “It will be my privilege in the next few weeks to attend ceremonies to commemorate the end of the last World War and remember those who gave their lives in the defence of our peace, security and freedom. I know these events, like the events of 60 years ago, will unite us and make us more determined than ever never to give in to such atrocities. The terrorists must not win.”