Top energy rating for swimming pool

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Energy efficiency, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool, operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Epping Forest District Council, have seen their energy rating improve considerably over the last year due to a number of energy-saving initiatives.

Waltham Abbey swimming pool covers

The centre installed new pool covers in 2014, in order to reduce heat and energy loss and reduce utility consumption. The £4,000 investment is now showing real results in improving the energy efficiency of the site.

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool have also converted to LED lights throughout the building, installed Passive Infrared Sensors to trigger lights only when people are moving through an area and spent time re-educating colleagues on energy wastage.

These combined efforts have led to a 10-point reduction on their DEC (Display Energy Certificate) which shows the energy performance of a building based on energy consumption. The lower the number the more energy efficient a site is.

Efficient and green

“Everyone Active are committed to making Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool as efficient and green as possible, in order to improve our local environment” says Everyone Active General Manager Chris McCarthy.

“This year we also installed collection bins for recycling batteries, printer cartridges, glasses, CDs, old cassettes and videos. We will continue to invest in the site and encourage staff and members to get involved in our energy saving and green initiatives.”

Reduction in energy use

Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool is owned by Epping Forest District Council. Councillor Helen Kane Leisure and Well-being Portfolio Holder said: “The reduction in energy use is fantastic. The council is investing heavily to reduce fuel bills across all our assets. The installation of solar panel on the civic offices in Epping was completed last month.”

“The investment at Waltham Abbey Pool is another major step forward. It is good for business, great for the environment and fantastic for our customers.”

Contact Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool

For more information on Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool


Council powered by the sun

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Energy efficiency, Epping, Media, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Solar panels have been installed on 2 roofs at the civic offices in Epping, saving the council money on it’s energy bills and reducing it’s carbon emissions.

  • 2 photovoltaic solar panel arrays
  • covering 302 square metres
  • a total of 184 solar panels (92 on each roof)
  • life expectancy 25 years
  • cost £72k – pay back just over 6 years
  • annual saving £10k
  • annual carbon footprint reduction 23,000kgs

An excited Cllr Lion shows off roof A

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

Annual savings of £10k

We’ve estimated the 2 photovoltaic solar panel arrays will pay back the original investment of £72k in just over 6 years. The annual savings are estimated to be worth over £10k over the expected 25 years of the solar panels life.

Generating an estimated 43,914 kWh of energy per annum, the solar panels should cut the council’s carbon footprint by around 23,000kgs per year.

Harnessing the power of the sun 

Councillor Alan Lion, Technology & Support Services Portfolio Holder said: “It’s very exciting, harnessing the power of the sun is a great way to reduce our running costs. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and at the same time save taxpayers money. It’s a win win situation for us.”


Save money on your energy bills

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Energy efficiency, Housing, Media, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Essex Energy Switch can save you hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bills. Essex residents have already saved nearly £1 million with the Essex Energy Switch.

Essex Energy Switch

Residents can sign-up now for the latest scheme which lets energy companies bid to supply homes for the cheapest price.

A great scheme

The Essex County Council scheme is supported by Epping Forest District Council. Portfolio holder Councillor Gary Waller said: “This is a great scheme which applies the simple principle of economies of scale. Thousands of residents across Essex including Epping Forest have benefited by pooling their buying power together in previous schemes. There is no risk.”

“If your current supplier turns out to be cheaper there is no obligation to switch. On the other hand some customers could stand to save hundreds of pounds a year. Just register your details and let Energy Switch do the rest.”

Energy Switch is a county wide initiative that aims to cut the prices that residents and small businesses pay for gas and electricity. People who wish to take part must register their interest between the start date of 1 December and closing date of 1 February 2016.

The prices offered by energy providers will be calculated based on how many people register and their current usage, so residents really have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

An unmissable opportunity

Councillor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council said: “This scheme is an unmissable opportunity, even for those who believe they are already getting the best prices available to them.

“The scheme is completely free and registration will take just 5 minutes. There is no obligation to switch providers following the auction – it really is a win-win for all involved.”

Once the registration period has ended, energy providers will bid against one another and whoever can provide the cheapest energy rate will win the custom of those who have registered.

If registrants will not be saving money by switching, they do not have to switch from their current providers. Participation is completely free and there is no cost to register or switch providers.


Save money on your energy bills

Written on . Posted in Community, Energy efficiency, Housing, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

If you want to save money on your energy bills, register for the Essex Energy Switch now. It is expected residents could save as much as £200 off their annual energy bills.

Residents have from 3 December 2014 until 2 February 2015 to register. It is a completely free, easy, safe and secure way to cut your energy bill.

Energy auction

The Essex Energy Switch is run by Essex County Council and delivered by iChoosr, who specialise in collective energy switching. On Tuesday 18 February 2015 iChoosr will facilitate a nationwide 1-day energy auction. Major energy companies will be invited to offer the lowest energy tariff to those who registered and the company offering the lowest price wins!

iChoosr will then send our a personal offer based on existing energy usage to everyone who’s registered. It is then up to residents to decide whether or not to accept the offer – there is no obligation to switch.

Register now

Want to know more

Find out more

  • Essex Energy Switch on our website
  • Essex County Council news – Essex Energy Switch could see many resident’s energy bills cut



£5.1 million housing scheme discussed at Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Energy efficiency, Housing, Housing repairs, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Parking, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Councillor David Stallan presented a list of potential sites for new council houses at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 3 March 2014.

Council housebuilding

Reporting back from the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, the Housing Portfolio Holder’s report identified a wealth of potential sites in towns and villages across the district.

12 sites, 6 of which could provide up to 185 dwellings were identified plus a potential £5 million scheme to provide 31 flats or more on the site of the council depot in Burton Road off the Broadway in Loughton. 6 small sites could accommodate another 26 homes for local people.

Cabinet approved recommendations of the committee to develop plans for various sites spread around the district’s towns and villages on a rotational basis so that all areas are able to benefit from new affordable housing.

Councillors also supported the development of sites in areas where most housing applicants live and that sites able to deliver greater numbers of new homes be prioritised over other areas where fewer homes can be developed.

Existing tenants and leaseholders can also look forward to a range of improvements to their homes after Cabinet agreed improvements and enhancements to the council’s housing stock.

Among the enhancements are

  • Front door fire safety replacement
  • Oakwood Hill Estate enhancements
  • Communal kitchen refurbishment – sheltered housing schemes
  • Mobility scooter stores – sheltered housing schemes
  • Garden maintenance for older and vulnerable tenants
  • WiFi at Norway House – homeless persons hostel
  • Feasibility study for replacement homeless persons accommodation at Norway House

Parking strategy

Local businesses and residents are to be consulted on Epping Forest District Council’s car parks strategy including tariffs for short and long-stay Pay and Display car parks.

Pay and Display tariffs have not been increased by the council for 5 years. However, Councillor Gary Waller reported with some regret ‘that all good things must come to an end’ and that some modest increase in Pay and Display was inevitable. Detailed long-term consideration of parking charges across short and long stay car parks would be incorporated into the consultation process of the new strategy.

Solar panels

Solar panels are to be installed at the main civic offices of Epping Forest District Council. The investment of £80,000 is expected to be recouped by the council through lower energy bills within 8 years. It will also reduce the council’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.


Cabinet agrees council tax freeze

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Councillors, Democracy, Energy efficiency, Grants, Housing, Leader, Licensing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Parking, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Members of the cabinet agreed to freeze Epping Forest District Councils part of the council tax at a meeting of cabinet on Monday 3 February 2014.

Subject to approval at the meeting of full council in February, Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “We have achieved our aspirations again to be a low council tax authority, another 0% council tax increase from Epping Forest District Council.”

Click on the agenda items below to watch the debate


Cabinet on 21 October

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Energy efficiency, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Flood prevention, energy savings, out of hours cover and lots more were all on the agenda for Cabinet on Monday 21 October 2013.

Flood prevention

Councillors welcomed the return of flood alleviations schemes to local control at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 21 October. Various changes to the law have seen the transfer of flood alleviation schemes to the Environment Agency, but following further Defra guidance, schemes in North Weald and Thornwood have come back under the direct responsibility of the council.

Energy savings

As a major landowner and employer, any savings the council can achieve in energy costs are to be welcomed. As investment in heating, insulation and lighting systems have taken effect, the Council’s main offices in Epping have seen significant reduction in energy consumption. Since 2009 the environmental performance (Display Energy Certificate) DEC rating for the civic offices has improved from G to a much better E rating.

Councillors debated further options to reduce energy consumption over the next 5 years of the planned maintenance programme including further replacement of conventional lights with LEDs and feasibility studies for solar panel electricity generation.

Considering maintenance costs for council-owned commercial units, Councillor Anne Grigg Asset Management Portfolio Holder offered reassurance to Council Leader Chris Whitbread and other councillors regarding the impact on local businesses.

Computer investment

Councillors scrutinised the council’s latest ICT investment plans at Cabinet. Assistant Director David Newton spoke at length, dealing with questions as diverse as new servers, malicious ICT attacks and fire-prevention measures.

Out of hours cover

Contracting out the council’s out of hours standby arrangements could save £26,000 a year according to a Cabinet report. Two-thirds of calls to the civic offices in Epping outside office hours are housing related. Councillors approved the principle of employing the housing management contractor Mears to provide the service from their offices in Welwyn.


Straw houses that won’t blow down

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Energy efficiency, Housing, Media, Ongar, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

A development of 4 affordable ‘straw bale’ Hastoe homes in High Ongar, Essex, has been officially opened by Eric Pickles MP. This is the first development of straw bale housing built in Britain by a housing association.

2 2-bedroom and 2 3-bedroom houses have been developed by Hastoe Housing Association at Millfield in partnership with Epping Forest District Council, on former council-owned land. The houses have been let at affordable rents to families on the council’s housing register. Hastoe has filmed the build process and will release time-lapse footage and interviews with the key people involved to share knowledge within the industry.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “This is a brilliant project and I am extremely proud of the part Epping Forest District Council has played in assisting Hastoe to make these new homes a reality. As well as providing much needed new social housing for local families, these new homes could be a model of sustainable, energy efficient housing in the future. The straw insulation is incredibly effective meaning the tenants from our housing waiting list will have some of the lowest energy bills possible. The houses are not only built from the ‘greenest’ of materials. They will also be some of the least polluting as the tenants use a fraction of the energy usually needed to heat conventionally built equivalent homes. The fact that we are using straw from local farms as the main material makes it all the more remarkable. Hastoe Housing is one of the council’s preferred partners and I hope we see many more equally exciting projects in the future.”

Councillor Stallan added: “I was also very pleased that Eric Pickles could take time away from his other government duties to open the scheme. The ideas behind the project are truly pioneering and I hope Mr Pickles will be ideally placed to spread word of it throughout the Country.”

The land was transferred to Hastoe at a discounted price, and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) contributed a grant of £92,000. The properties were designed by architects, Parsons and Whittley, and constructed by DCH, a local contractor based in Coggeshall. The straw bales used were a sustainable by-product of farming and the bales were sourced from a local farm – Williams Brothers.

There are a number of benefits of using straw bales within housing. Whilst the costs of construction are similar to costs of conventional construction, houses built using straw bales need almost no conventional heating due to their exceptionally high insulating properties. The residents will benefit from fuel costs around 85% cheaper than the average costs for heating similar homes of traditional construction.

Structural parts of the houses, such as the walls, have been built using timber frames, in-filled with the straw bales. The walls have been covered externally, with a lime render. The character of straw bales houses suits the rural location of the site at Millfield, overlooking farmers’ fields. With clay tile roofs the houses incorporate mainly natural materials and have a slightly rustic quality, although overall they have the appearance of conventional homes. The timber porches are roofed with sedum plants.

Since the straw absorbs carbon dioxide as it is growing, it is widely accepted that buildings of this type of construction have a low, zero or even negative carbon footprint. When complete, the high level of energy efficiency will reduce CO2 emissions by around 60%, compared to conventionally-built homes.

Tests on other straw bale structures by the University of Bath have established that they are strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds up to 120mph – enough to defy the huff and puff of any big bad wolf! They also have a fire rating at least double the requirements of Building Regulations.

Eric Pickles MP said: “The High Ongar housing development is wonderful and such a remarkable move forward – in terms of what it delivers and its low energy consumption. I would like to congratulate all those involved as this is the kind of niche development that small communities really need. The High Ongar homes are not only beautiful but very important to the local community.”

Hastoe’s Chief Executive, Sue Chalkley, said: “The High Ongar straw bales scheme is an exemplar project. Hastoe is committed to providing affordable housing in rural areas for the benefit of local people.

“Sustainability is a key part of our approach and this is mirrored by Epping Forest District Council’s drive for highly energy efficient homes. We have been through an extensive design and planning process to ensure that the new homes will be a real benefit to the community.”

Becky Ashley, Strategy Manager for the HCA in the East and South East, said: “This is a great example of the government’s investment in housing in rural areas. This innovative development makes good use of the available land to provide attractive, sustainable and economical homes that the residents are clearly very happy with.”


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


One Business Briefing – brimming with news for local businesses

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Energy efficiency, Epping, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The January 2013 edition of ‘One Business Briefing’ is now available.

In this edition Reed in Partnership gives local businesses advice on how they can use Government funding to get staff job relevant qualifications at no cost to the employer or employee. It also introduces MP Eleanor Laing’s new Business Forum, reports on current tourism development work, including a key event on 31 January 2013 to develop tourism within the area and much more.

Read the January 2013 edition – One Business Briefing

Produced by Epping Forest District Council, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest district. The briefing is designed to report on business funding opportunities / access to finance, business support, workshops / events for business, town centre news and other local economic development initiatives.

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘One Business Briefing’ by email please email