Stories in both the national and local media published over the last week have reported us buying 2 aerial camera systems also known as drones.
This is true but some of the stories have contained inaccuracies which we would like to put right.
To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click start slideshow.
Cabinet agreed purchase
At a meeting of Epping Forest District Councils cabinet on 11 January 2016 it was agreed to purchase 2 drones for £5,000. This includes Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training for staff. Watch the decision at cabinet.
This money came out of our ‘invest to save scheme’.
The drones purchased are DJI Phantom 3 and will be operated by our GIS team once trained. (GIS = Geographic Information System).
We have been buying commercial photographs and videos for site surveys for over 50 years. This has included the hire of drones. Purchasing drones has many benefits that will save the council money and time. These include
- Real-time surveys for planning purposes saving us having to purchase aerial photography for new planning developments and landscaping enforcement
- Surveying roofs and guttering on council owned estates saving money and time on scaffolding and surveys
- Identifying illegal waste transfer sites and previously unidentified unauthorised caravan encampments
- Find out more on the cabinet report dated 11 January 2016
We are hoping the drones could generate the council income. We will be exploring the opportunities of shared use with other local authorities and public bodies. This will help to ensure we remain a low council tax authority (we have frozen our portion of council tax for the last 6 years).
A valuable tool
We would like to reassure residents that the drones will not be used for snooping on our residents but used as a valuable tool in the fight against environmental and planning abuses. We will not be looking into peoples back gardens.
Innovative use of new technology
This innovative use of new technology helps to save the taxpayer money and helps us to look after the environment in the Epping Forest district, in which we are proud to live, work and enjoy.