Cabinet 15 April 2013

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Licensing, Local business, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillors met on 15 April for the last meeting of the Cabinet in the 2012/13 civic year. Items discussed included housing, early preparations for the tendering of the next waste management contract, pay policy, business continuity and licensing.

Housing

Changes to tenancy conditions and the housing allocation scheme for residents in council housing were approved by the Cabinet. The changes include the adoption of flexible (fixed-term) tenancies for 3-bedroom properties. Councillors also agreed to ask the Housing Scrutiny Panel of Overview and Scrutiny to review the pilot scheme for flexible tenancies after 12 months. In particular, Cabinet will receive feedback on potential for continuing, discontinuing and expanding the flexible tenancy policy for 2-bedroom properties.

The changes were adopted following consultation with the Tenants and Leaseholders Federation, partner agencies, Parish and Town Councils and Registered Social Housing Landlord Partners.

Licensing

Cabinet supported proposals to introduce evening meetings and extended direct consultation with residents for premises licensing applications. By holding evening meetings, Councillors hoped to make them more accessible to residents, and particularly those at work during the day. Extending contact to residents and other businesses within 150 meters of a licence applicant follows procedures adopted by Westminster City Council. A recommendation for a supplementary estimate of £63,770 for 2013/14 is to be made to Full Council to pay for the enhancement to the licensing service.

Subject to funding agreement at Full Council, new licensing arrangements would be reviewed at the end of a 9 month pilot.

Watch the cabinet meeting

Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Energy efficiency, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

As part of the amended Home Energy Conservation Act, Local Authorities are required to submit a further report on planned energy efficiency measures in their area.

Read the Epping Forest District Council HECA further report 2013

Find out more about energy efficiency

 

Youth Council blog: what a load of rubbish!

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Recycling and waste, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Youth councillors at the recycling centre

Youth Councillor Olivia Tinker reports on the Youth Councillors’ recent visit to a recycling centre that handles our residents recycling waste.

The skies were clear as members of the Epping Forest Youth Council met on the Tuesday of half term. We were off to Barking, to Edwards Recycling Centre to see what happens to our recyclable waste after it is collected from our doorsteps.

After a short coach ride we arrived at the recycling plant, where we were given hi vis vests and a quick safety talk … which included a warning about the rather large rats that inhabit the plant! Our party was given a tour of the plant, we marvelled at the vast quantity of waste at the centre, which was, according to Youth Councillor Josh, “piled as high as the eye could see”, It was amazing to find out that this staggering heap of paper, cardboard and the like was only about a day and half’s worth of waste. Inside the plant colourful plastic bottles and cans were crushed and tied up together, shredded newspapers and paper was baled up neatly, the sheer volume of waste was astounding.

According to manager Merv Taylor, plastic toys are extremely difficult to deal with as they contain metal and other parts which contaminate the recycling process … ‘freebie’ toys from children’s magazines and comics arrive by the lorry load to be disposed of securely as they often have a resale value and therefore have to be destroyed to prevent anything from being resold.

We learnt how different types of recycled material are worth different amounts of money, for example a tonne of steel can be sold for £850 whereas a tonne of aluminium can only be sold for £250. Then we had a go at sorting rubbish with the workers, as the rubbish moved past on the conveyor belt we had to pick out any plastics or other contaminated material so that only cardboard and paper went down the chute. Whilst we were sorting we spotted some exercise and textbooks that belonged to our schools!

Once the rubbish had been sorted, it was tied up into bales, ready to be loaded into containers and driven off to other companies to be reused or recycled!

Before we left the centre we had a group photo amongst the piles of rubbish (which warranted a few funny looks from the workers!) we were also weighed on the enormous set of scales called a weigh bridge, used to weigh lorries and trucks as they enter the plant – our party of thirteen came to just under a tonne, if we were made of cardboard we would have been worth £75!

It was a great day and we all learnt a lot. One thing is for certain, we will all be thinking twice before we put our rubbish in the bin!

Photos of the day

Tip – to view all the photos in a slideshow, click on a picture then click start slideshow (in the bottom right of the frame).

 

Withdrawal of plastic bottle and can recycling banks

Written on . Posted in Environmental health, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

All plastic and can bring banks are being removed from the recycling bring sites in the district from 30 November 2012.

Why are they being withdrawn?

Recycling banks

The doorstep collection of recycling in clear sacks has been a huge success. The majority of residents in the district now use this doorstep collection service to recycle their plastic bottles and cans.

Demand for and use of the district’s recycling banks has fallen significantly over the course of the last few years. The materials collected in our banks now only accounts for 0.04% of all recycling materials collected in the district. 

In fact recent customer survey information highlighted that the vast majority of respondents preferred to recycle from their own front door rather than taking recycling materials to their nearest local recycling banks. This explains why there has been a significant reduction in the use of recycling banks across the district.

This reduction in use means that some recycling banks are proving to be an inefficient service to continue to provide. The cost of maintaining the containers and paying for collection now far outweighs the benefits of the bank due to the small amounts of recycling that they produce. For this reason some banks are now being withdrawn.

Please continue to recycle plastic bottles and cans by using your doorstep clear sack recycling collection. If you have any problems using this collection scheme please contact us on the number below for assistance.

The materials you can place in our clear recycling sacks includes: aerosols cans, plastic bottles and lids, clean paper and card, aluminium foil and foil containers, rigid plastic food containers, food and drink cans. 

For more information call 01992 564608.

Help us to tackle fly tipping

Written on . Posted in Business, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

If you are an individual or household passing waste to someone other than the council’s refuse collectors, remember you are under an obligation to check that the person you’re handing your waste to is authorised to take it. This is known as the Household Duty of Care and applies to every private individual involved in transferring waste.

Businesses also have a Duty of Care when dealing with their commercial waste, and must fulfil more requirements. In a recent prosecution, a Harlow based company were fined for the offence of “not securing that the transfer of waste was to an authorised person and not exchanging a written description of the waste”.

No tipping
If you produce commercial waste (and all businesses produce some waste, however small), ensure you can answer YES to all of the following statements.

  • My waste is stored on my property
  • My waste cannot escape from my property and is securely contained
  • I have checked that my waste is collected by an authorised person
  • I have waste transfer note(s) to cover all my waste collections and I keep the paperwork for two years

If you answered NO to any of these statements, you must take action now to comply with the law.

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall, said: “Not only is the illegal dumping of rubbish damaging to the environment, it is also costly for the council to deal with. It is a serious criminal offence which can lead to large fines or even imprisonment. Where we have sufficient evidence we will prosecute. Households and business can help by complying with their Duty of Care, ensuring that their waste goes to people authorised to deal with it, and keeping it out of the hands of potential fly tippers. Households and businesses who don’t comply with their Duty of Care risk being prosecuted if their waste is fly tipped.”

Councillor Breare-Hall continued: “I encourage members of the public who witness fly tipping to write down details of the offence, including the date and time, 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. We offer a special collection service for bulky household items such as beds, chairs, sofas, fridges and washing machines, so no items need ever be illegally dumped. Together we can tackle fly tipping and ensure that Epping Forest district remains a clean and attractive place for residents and visitors alike.”

Find out more about fly tipping online or contact the council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Officers on 01992 564608 for advice.

Cabinet reports to Council on 6 November

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Council tax, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Democracy, Environmental health, Health, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Parking, Planning, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business

The runway at North Weald Airfield, Council Tax freeze, local plan, recycling, welfare reform were all discussed at the full meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 6 November 2012.

Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management Portfolio Holder informed members that Halcrow were in the process of being appointed to undertake some non-invasive testing of the structure of the main North Weald runway. This testing is intended to ensure that the runway is suitable for its current uses and will also inform the strategic review of the Airfield.

Councillor Grigg also reported that Cabinet at its meeting in September agreed to commission a strategic review of North Weald Airfield, to be undertaken as part of the development of the new Local Plan. The review should be completed and reported back to councillors in time for the recommended outcomes to become part of the Local Plan “Preferred Options” consultation scheduled to commence in the summer of 2013.

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall was pleased to report improvement in recycling figures with the quarter 2 out-turn at 62%. In a similar vein, the results for dealing with litter and detritus are also ahead of target.

Councillor Breare-Hall also drew attention to the use of new CCTV cameras in The Broadway, Loughton which have provided a number of leads for fly-tipping investigations. He noted discussions between council officers and Epping Ongar Railway where very few new complaints have been received concerning the heritage railway.

Councillor Breare-Hall’s report concluded with news that following extensive remedial work, the former Bobbingworth Tip has achieved Queen Elizabeth II Field designation. It is now a tranquil and attractive open space. Councillor Breare-Hall said it was a great testament to the hard work of all those involved. A robust commemorative plaque will be placed on site.

Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder reported on the Welfare Reform Mitigation Plan consideration of a proposed new Tenancy Policy and Housing Allocations Scheme for the district.

Councillor Chris Whitbread recommended www.visiteppingforest.org  as one of the new initiatives designed to support and stimulate the local economy through tourism and other avenues. Referring to feedback on the Local Plan, Councillor Whitbread confirmed he had been in discussion with Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest concerning many of the issues raised in the Community Choices consultation.

Councillor Mrs Syd Stavrou informed councillors that the Government’s announcement of the latest Financial Settlement would not be made until late December.

Councillor Stavrou had previously announced the Cabinet’s intention to freeze Council Tax for another year. The Government has subsequently announced a grant equivalent to a 1% increase in Council Tax for authorities freezing their charge. Councillor Stavrou was pleased to confirm that Cabinet agreed the parameters set for the 2013/14 budget include no increase in the Council Tax.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder responded to questions put by members of the public as well as councillors in respect of the Local Plan. He repeated previous assurances that no decisions had been taken on the policies to be included in the new Local Plan. Many public responses had been received in response to the recent Community Choices consultation. Population predictions formed a key element in the forecasts of future development need and Councillor Bassett confirmed he would be meeting regional planning experts in the near future to discuss the latest estimates.

Reports by Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Councillor Liz Webster noted progress on the construction of the new ‘3rd Generation Astroturf’ pitch at Town Mead in Waltham Abbey an a number of successful funding bids including.

• £23,500 for adult training in subjects such as IT
• £39,000 for ‘Transitions’ a professional development programme for carers work with people with dementia
• £27,500 of initial Heritage Lottery Funding towards a bid for £1,165,000 for the expansion of Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey

Loughton Leisure Centre users can look forward to better facilities following a decision to spend £240,000 on improvements. Epping Forest District Council will obtain a reduction in its annual management fee to Sports Leisure Management (SLM) of £88,000 per year in exchange for one-off capital funding to improve changing facilities at Loughton Leisure Centre. The deal equates to a three per cent return on investment on the £240,000 capital sum with the added bonus of spending the money to improve the Council’s own property for the benefit of Leisure Centre users.

Councillor Gary Waller Safer, Greener and Highways Portfolio Holder answered questions ranging from parking reviews to the merits of the forthcoming elections for the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner. He also thanked Councillor Leon Girling for suggesting a presentation to Loughton Broadway businesses on the capabilities of the new CCTV systems.

Council receives BAMA award for recycling

Written on . Posted in Recycling and waste, Residents, Your environment

The British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) has awarded a Highly Commended award to Epping Forest District Council in the ‘BAMA Can Do Awards 2011’ for running the best recycling communication campaign that includes empty aerosols.

BAMA is the trade association for the aerosols sector and the BAMA Can Do Awards, now in their third year, celebrate and reward local authorities who show exemplary practice in communicating to householders the benefits of recycling aerosols.

The presentation is to be made in Epping Forest District Council Offices on Thursday 15th December 2011 by Director of BAMA, Sue Rogers, where representatives from The Council were present including: Chairman of Council Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens, Vice Chairman of Council Councillor Brian Rolfe and Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor John Knapman.

This year, BAMA named Dorset Local Authorities the winner of the Can Do Awards with another Highly Commended award going to Scarborough Borough Council.  The Can Do Awards form part of a long-term and highly successful campaign initiated by BAMA. Since 2001 the proportion of Local Authorities which include empty aerosols for recycling has significantly improved, from approximately 7 per cent to 83 per cent now.

Sue Rogers, Director of BAMA, explains: “We have been searching for the best local authority recycling campaign that includes empty aerosols for the third year of the ‘Can Do Awards’.  Recycling success depends on communicating to local residents and local authorities. Epping Forest was commended most highly be the judging panel because of their excellent use of resource materials and clear messaging that empty aerosols can be recycled, which was communicated via numerous and varied channels.  The new campaign is expected to prevent over a million aerosol cans ending up in landfill sites each year.

“Research shows that many consumers are still not aware that they can recycle their empty aerosols with their other metal recyclables.  BAMA’s long-standing campaign has helped encourage over four-fifths of all local authorities to recycle empty aerosols from households. Our aim is to encourage the remaining councils to follow suit.  The ‘Can Do Awards’ is a way of highlighting best practice in a really positive way as once an authority has opted to accept empty aerosols for recycling, success depends on communicating this to householders.”

The campaigns entered for the award could be of any size and in any format, whether in the form of an online video, web-based initiative or printed promotional leaflet or flyer.  Entries were judged on educational merit, creativity and reach of the campaign in relation to the budget. Finalist judges were Sue Rogers, Director of BAMA, Kevin Murton, Epic Media and Dave Fergus, Programme Manager – Waste Improvement East.

BAMA continues to encourage and offer practical assistance to local authorities, retailers, waste companies and other interested parties by providing materials, information and guidance on how aerosols, once the consumer has used them up, can be recycled with other metal packaging, successfully reducing the amount of material going to landfill.

District hits top 10 for recycling

Written on . Posted in Recycling and waste, Residents, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is at number 8 in the top 10 household recycling local authorities in England for 2010/11. The Council is the second best recycler in the county.

Portfolio Holder for Environment Councillor John Knapman said: This is fantastic news. The residents of our district have really taken recycling to their hearts. Epping Forest District is one of only two Essex authorities appearing in the top ten list. This really is testament to the excellent effort our residents put into recycling their waste.

I would like to take this opportunity to urge our residents to continue with their superb work, especially during the festive season. We all produce much more waste at this time of year and it is even more important to recycle all that we can to save as much as we can from going to ever-decreasing landfill space.

He went on to say: The more refuse residents recycle the lower will be their Council Tax since Epping Forest District Council gets paid significant recycling credit payments.

The figures for each authority in percentage for household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting are as follows:

  1. Rochford District Council – 65.79%
  2. South Oxfordshire District Council – 65.11%
  3. Surrey Heath Borough Council – 64.73%
  4. Bournemouth Borough Council – 63.92%
  5. Cotswold District Council – 60.41%
  6. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council – 60.23%
  7. Stratford-on-Avon District Council – 59.31%
  8. Epping Forest District Council – 58.89%
  9. Suffolk Coastal District Council – 58.65%
  10. Harborough District Council – 58.07%

Environment Minister Lord Taylor said: Recycling is now part of our everyday lives and we’re sending less waste to landfill than ever before. This is good news for householders, councils and the environment but there is still much more we can all do. By all working together to deliver the recycling services local people want and need, we can achieve our ultimate aim of a zero waste economy.

For more information on recycling contact the Environment and Street Scene on 01992 564608.

Residents are reminded to look out for the revised collection dates for over the Christmas and New Year holiday in their Forester magazine, which is being delivered from 12 December up until Christmas.

Roding Valley students recycling trip

Written on . Posted in Recycling and waste, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Year 11 students from Roding Valley High School in Loughton took a practical look at recycling on 24 November. Sixteen students and their teachers met up with Ian Almond of Epping Forest District Council and Douglas Howard of Sita to see what happens to some of the thousands of tonnes of recycling sent for reprocessing by Epping Forest residents every year.

Dry recycling, such as tin cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard go to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by the Council’s waste and recycling collection contractor Sita UK in Barking, East London. 30,403 tonnes of recycling collected from households in Epping Forest District is transported to the plant each year.

Roding Valley students had already met Ian Almond when he visited the School earlier in November to talk about waste and recycling generally. The visit to Barking was a chance for a small group of students to see for themselves how some of the District’s household waste is sorted, stored, baled and sent for recycling. The group is then to report back to the rest of Year 11.

Doug Howard is the Processing Site Manager for Sita at the Docklands Wharf facility. Recyclables coming to his plant are separated according to type and quality of the materials. Paper can be recycled many times before the quality of the fibres reaches the end of its useful life. All materials have an intrinsic market value and will move with market trends. According to Doug, aluminium cans are the most valuable commodity having reached £1,000 per tonne before falling in value this year.

Plastic bottles are usually reprocessed into pellets, which can be recycled back into bottles or other plastics according to the quality of the materials. Sita is also experimenting with the conversion of polythene into diesel fuel at a facility in the North East of England.

Douglas was asked why China and India buy much of the recycled material thrown away by the residents of Epping Forest. He explained that these countries have the space to accommodate the big factories needed to reprocess the materials and manufacturers need vast amounts of raw materials. The UK cannot reprocess all the UK recyclate arising as we do not have the reprocessing capacity.

Paper tends to go to Germany but even the waste residue from the Sita plant in Barking is used, going to the Netherlands where it is incinerated to produce electricity.

The students split into two groups but had to hand over their mobile phones and other electronic devices first. The separation process involves a powerful electromagnet which has a side-effect of wiping the memory of any device that comes near it.

Heavy machinery including a massive rotating drum called a trommel, moving walkways, conveyor belts, balers and vehicles share space with people. Teams of operators line conveyor belts where manual sorting is still required.  Huge bales of crushed tin cans, plastic bottles, paper and polythene are lined up ready to be taken away.

Douglas Howard thought the students had enjoyed their visit. He said: “I guess most people don’t think about their waste too much once they have thrown it away. I am sure it was an eye-opener for the young people to see the massive scale of the recycling operation. Epping Forest residents are some of our best. They recycle more than nearly any other council area. The students had lots of questions and I hope they will be able to spread the knowledge gained today among their families and friends.”

Ian Almond thanked Sita on behalf of Epping Forest District Council and the students of Roding Valley High School. He said: “With Essex running out of suitable sites for landfill our message of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ becomes more important every day. If we can encourage the District’s young people to adopt good habits and a better understanding of the issues now, we hope they will carry that forward for the rest of their lives. I would like to thank Howard and his colleagues at Sita for a brilliant and educational afternoon.

Leader replies to government weekly bin collection funding

Written on . Posted in Democracy, Leader, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillor L WaglandCouncillor Lesley Wagland leader of Epping Forest District Council has responded to the news that the Government intends to provide funding should councils wish to re-introduce weekly bin collections.

She said: “Epping Forest District Council already collects kitchen and garden waste weekly, 52 weeks of the year. It is only any other waste, which is not recyclable together with dry recyclables such as paper, tins, glass and plastic that is collected every other week.

“This council introduced fortnightly collections for everything some years ago. However, our residents soon told us that they struggled with kitchen waste – especially when it was in a bin for up to two weeks during the hot summer months. We listened and switched back to weekly collection for kitchen and garden waste.

“The important thing is to strike a good balance that works for our residents, is affordable and maximises recycling. We think we have a good compromise being able to offer weekly collections for food and garden while also managing to hit one of highest domestic recycling rates in Essex. We currently recycle around 60 per cent, which is the second highest in the county and I know from the feedback I receive that residents are proud of our recycling rates.

“Our initial rough calculations indicate that should this council introduce an extra weekly residual waste (black bin) collection round, it would cost in the region of £900,000 per year. It would cost the same amount again to introduce an additional round of recycling collection.

“I am also concerned that should we provide extra capacity for residual waste, we would be using up already diminishing landfill space and our recycling rates could be affected.

“This, too, would affect our income from recycling credits and other income streams and therefore it is estimated that for every percentage drop in our recycling rates, the council would lose approximately £50,000.

“I know that we are providing the service that works for our residents and that the vast majority are happy with this service. Our level of complaint is currently less than 0.1% and so I am confident that our residents would not want us to spend money unnecessarily on providing weekly collections, particularly during these difficult times. Nor would they want to see a reduction in our present excellent recycling rates. These have helped us to save money on our waste collection service without reducing the quality of the service to residents.

“I would like to thank all our residents for their fantastic efforts recycling and for helping us to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill. Please keep up the good work.”

Watch an interview with Councillor Wagland by Channel 4 news first aired on Saturday 11 June 2011 on the same subject.
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View report on the Channel 4 website