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.

Photos

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 economicdevelopment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Business Briefing hot off the press and 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, Noise, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The October 2012 edition of ‘one business briefing’ is available. Produced by EFDC, 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 and local economic development initiatives.

The October edition highlights a new training grant available from Essex County Council which is available to businesses but those eligible must be quick as the grant is only available from now until March 2013. The briefing also highlights specific support available to manufacturing and construction businesses in the Epping Forest district.  If you are looking to set-up in business the briefing directs individuals to support being offered by HMRC, including its free and informal workshop sessions held in Epping.

Read the October 2012 edition – One Business Briefing

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘one business briefing’ directly to your email inbox please email vwillis@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Essex Key Facts: Latest edition of district area data published

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Democracy, Energy efficiency, Housing, Local business, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Image showing many datasets being compared
 

Data is everywhere!

With moves to a more open approach to publishing statistical information and data being encouraged across the public sector, more and more datasets, covering more and more subjects, are becoming widely accessible to all.

Unfortunately, amongst the biggest constraints on accessing the data you need can be knowing where to look, finding the time to visit the many varied websites that publish data and identifying the information you require from amongst what can appear to be an overwhelming amount of statistics that you don’t need.

To make this task a little easier and to help our residents, businesses, students and visitors find relevant data in a more straightforward and direct way, we publish a regular compilation of many of the datasets that are available. ‘Essex Councils Key Facts’ pulls together information on a wide range of subjects and allows readers to see how Epping Forest District compares with its Essex neighbours. The figures give a context to the environment in which we live, work, study and do business, and help paint a picture of some of the issues that face us all on a day to day basis.

Our latest issue, ‘Essex Key Facts Volume 4’, has recently been published and covers Business Data, Jobs and Skills Mismatch Analysis, Access to Key Services and Rural Accessibility to Services. You can find this issue, alongside copies of our previous editions, on our website by following the link below:

 
We hope you find these publications useful and easy to use. If you have any comments on the documents, please drop us a line by email on performance@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
 
The following previous editions are also available:
 
Volume 1: Political control, council tax, population, ethnicity, health, welfare, education, business & employment, carbon emissions, land use mix
Volume 2: Planning, housing, deprivation, mortality, older people care needs, crime
Volume 3: Audit Commission Value For Money profiles

Proposed Fieldes Lock Power Station

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Doing business with the council, Energy efficiency, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Land at Ratty’s Lane, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

Veolia Environmental Services (UK) is proposing to construct and operate a rail-linked power station at this site and have submitted a Development Consent Order to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate (application reference number EN010046).

It falls within the definition of a “nationally significant infrastructure project” under Section 52(2) of the Planning Act 2008 and therefore will be determined by the Secretary of State, not the local planning authority. The site is within Broxbourne Borough Council but is close to the western boundary of Epping Forest District Council.

Any comments must be made direct to the Planning Inspectorate by no later than 19 October 2012. Please follow the attached links for details of the application, where the information is available to view and how to make comments.

Read a brief summary of the project

View the detailed application documents at the Planning Inspectorate’s website

Comment on the application at the Planning Inspectorate’s website

Read the guidance notes on the responding to the application