Businesses beware, bogus Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers have visited businesses across Essex, issuing fake on the spot fines for non-compliance and asking for annual fee payments in cash.
The Council has received 3 reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as Epping Forest District Council Environmental Health Officer’s to food establishments within the Waltham Abbey area.
The imposters demanded the business owners pay fines for not complying with regulations.
Licenced businesses within Essex have also received visits from individuals pretending to be Council Licensing Officers, requesting licence fees be paid in cash.
These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.
Real Council Officers
Real Environmental Health Officers and any of the Council’s Licensing or Enforcement Officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.
On the back of their badges, you will find a list of their authorisations and a telephone number, which you can call to verify they are who they say they are. Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.
Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers will not ask you to pay an on the spot fine or take cash from you.
If a scammer calls
If you are in any doubt as to whether someone demanding money from you is legitimate, you should contact the Council as soon as possible to check his or her identity. Do not pay them.
If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.
Livewell, a countywide website to get Essex healthy has been launched.
Working collaboratively to promote health
The Livewell campaign sees all local authorities, including Epping Forest District Council and health partners, work collaboratively to promote positive health and wellbeing by providing public health advice, activities and events tailored to the needs of local residents.
The Council’s local museum, arts, sports, social and Forest Countrycare events will be available on the site.
The website aims is to encourage Essex residents to be more active and to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their families. It focuses on more effectively tackling county-wide issues affecting the 12 local authority areas together.
Take the #21 Challenge
To celebrate the website launch, residents are being encouraged to take part in a number of #21 challenges – a nod to the fact that it takes 21 days to break or create a new habit.
The first part of the campaign is #21situps21days, Residents can find out more information on:
Post-Christmas is a good time to think about improving lifestyle choices, lose weight and live a happier, healthier and longer life. The 21 day theme of the project, the number of days it is thought we need to break a bad habit or establish a new one also has the support of Public Health England. Anyone can try and it is fine to start with an easy goal. An occasional day off is also fine but the message is ‘don’t stop, just let that go and do as best you can towards the 21 days’.
Mr Loredan Ilias of Gascoyne House, London, was ordered to pay a fine and costs amounting to £1686.81 after pleading guilty to flytipping on forest land in Claypit Hill, Waltham Abbey.
Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 14 December 2017.
Mr IIias pleaded guilty to the offence of fly tipping paving stones, rubble and roofing material. He had failed to attend a number of hearings in 2016, leading to a warrant being issued for his arrest. Mr Ilias admitted to fly tipping from a Mercedes Sprinter van on 10 January 2016.
The Magistrates stated that it was a serious offence and a reckless act in a place of Special Scientific Interest.
Fined and prosecuted
He was ordered to pay a fine of £739 together with the Council’s prosecution costs of £724.81 and a Victim Surcharge of £73. The Magistrates also ordered Mr Ilias to pay compensation for clearance of the waste of £150 to the Corporation of London.
‘Blight on environment’
Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “Fly tipping is a selfish and criminal act and a blight on the environment. We recognise it is a growing problem across Essex but it will never be tolerated in Epping Forest and we will continue to pursue the offenders. Those convicted of breaking the law in this way can expect to receive heavy fines.”
Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe of Chingford was fined £1,850 after pleading guilty to causing or permitting unauthorised work to a tree in a conservation area.
Tree within a conservation area
In June, officers were notified that branches of a sycamore tree situated within the grounds of 10 High Street Roydon had been cut back, where they overhung on to the neighbouring property at number 2 High Street.
Standing within the Roydon conservation area a 6 week notice of any intended work to the tree should have been provided. Such a notice would have revealed that consent for the extent of the works would have not been granted in any event.
No checks for consent
Further investigation revealed Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe, a director of the company owning 10 High Street instructed tree surgeon Mr John McAllister to cut the branches back to the boundary.
No checks had been made to find out if the tree was protected and neither sought consent to carry out the works undertaken.
£2,430 worth of fines
Tree surgeon Mr McAllister was fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £30.
The Magistrates stated that Mrs Kelly-Howe had a greater role in the matter and was fined £1,000 ordered to pay a contribution of £750 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £100.
For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact
2 scheduled Benefit payments will be made earlier than usual over the Christmas period.
Payments due on 25 December 2017 will be made on Friday 22 December 2017
Payments due on 1 January 2018 will be made on Wednesday 27 December 2017
Please remember that the period until the next payment will be slightly longer because it will revert to the original schedule.
Apply for it
Apply for planning permission, building regulations, council housing, licensing, jobs applications and more online. Applications made throughout this time will be processed when the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.
Owners of R&A Waste Removal Limited of Pick Hill, Waltham Abbey were prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council on 14 September 2017 for storing an estimated 100 – 150 tonnes of waste, when only licensed by the Environment Agency to store 10 tonnes.
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Alfie Smith and Richard McGuire, directors of a waste removal company in Waltham Abbey were prosecuted for depositing waste without a permit or an exemption and falling in their duty of care.
Over 10 times the limit
Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ”R&A Waste Removal Limited was registered with an exemption administered by the Environment Agency, allowing the company to sort up to 10 tonnes of mixed recyclable waste at any one time.”
”However, following an investigation by the Council’s Neighbourhoods team, it was found that the company was storing an estimated 100 to 150 tonnes of waste, ten times the amount they were licenced to store. They were also sorting significant quantities of non-recyclable waste that was not covered by the exemption either.”
”Storing large piles of unregulated waste is not only illegal, it also poses a fire hazard, presents pollution risks, and looks unsightly. The Council will not tolerate the growth of unregulated waste disposal site”.
The defendants each pleaded guilty to depositing waste on the site without a permit or in accordance with an exemption administered by the Environment Agency. R & A Waste Removal Limited also pleaded guilty to failing their waste duty of care.
Fines in excess of £4,000
Alfie Smith and Richard McGuire were each fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £500 and a Victim Surcharge of £120. Their company R & A Waste Removal Limited were fined £2,000 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £1,000 and a Victim Surcharge of £170.
There are signs of improvement in services provided by Whipps Cross Hospital. Part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital has been in special measures following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. A presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council following the latest CQC inspections in May suggest the hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘overall requires improvement’. However, as one first-hand account of patient care at the end of the presentation demonstrated, there is still some way to go.
Dr Heather Noble – Medical Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Alan Gurney – Managing Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Signs of improvement at hospital trust
Alan Gurney, Managing Director said that any further CQC inspections today would see more improvements. However, he added that the condition of operating theatres was still a cause for concern. Investment in theatre refurbishments is scheduled for next year.
The CQC has seen an increase in the quality of the working environment and culture of the hospital. Bullying was previously identified as a major issue with high turnover of staff and heavy reliance on agency support. Significant improvements have been made in these areas. The hospital is also old. Many of its buildings pre-date the creation of the NHS. Investment is needed in new buildings.
Dr Heather Noble assured Councillor Steven Neville that issues around radiation exposure to staff had been resolved. Councillor David Stallan received assurances that Alan Gurney had no plans to relocate Whipps Cross, although the hospital is on a large site and could potentially operate from a smaller footprint.
Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about bed-blocking and capacity. Alan Gurney used the phrase ‘delayed discharge’ for which he had 11 cases at that moment. He assured councillors that he was working with partners to reduce discharge delays. No bed spaces had been closed this year and Mr Gurney considered it to be a lesser challenge than some other issues facing the hospital.
Councillors Mitchell and Sartin received further information in response to questions about bullying. Councillor Chambers explored the depth of hospital planning for the winter. Alan Gurney confirmed additional investment in building work and weekend cover arrangements to enhance winter cover. There is also additional ‘step-down’ coverage and coordination with partners in the ambulance service and care homes. The staff flu vaccination campaign is part of steps to prepare staff for the winter season.
Councillor David Wixley followed up on the issues of bullying and culture. Councillor Nigel Bedford focused on staff retention and reusing the defunct nursing home for other purposes. Alan Gurney provided assurance that recruitment and retention improvements are ongoing. He also felt that the site had plenty of capacity for development including accommodation for staff.
Responding to Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Dr Noble said that the Council could provide support by communicating the message about the need for redevelopment of outdated buildings.
Developing staffs careers
Dr Noble emphasised that managers as such ‘were not bad’ after Alan Gurney described how Whipps Cross was focusing on continual recruitment of nurses and a requirement for more doctors.
Dr Noble said that further work was needed in developing career and employment links with local schools and colleges. Responding to Councillor Holly Whitbread, she described good examples of work in Newham which could be adopted for Whipps Cross.
Mortuary facilities are old and in need of replacement but Dr Noble assured Councillor Bedford that the dignity of the deceased and care for the bereaved was a high priority.
Responding to Councillor Baldwin, Alan Gurney said that it would be wrong to say the use of Private Finance Initiative funding (PFI) was not an option but he added that there was no appetite for it.
Dementia care is also a priority. Responding to Councillor Aniket Patel, Dr Noble outlined some of the programmes including Dementia Friends and creating clinical areas more dementia ‘friendly’. Alan Gurney added that with the focus on older patients, dementia care was critical.
Councillor Mary Sartin, chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Mr Gurney and Dr Noble, concluding questions with reference to the caring and compassionate approach of staff recognised in the latest CQC report.
Learning from the past
Mr Gurney and Dr Noble were invited to stay at the end of their presentation questions for a statement by a local resident. Janis Crowder gave an emotional account of her mother’s poor experience as a patient of Whipps Cross last year. Accepting improvements have since been made, Ms Crowder felt it was important to explain to hospital managers the difficulties and inadequacies of her mother’s care.
Transport for London managers have agreed to attend the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss various public transport issues in January. Essex County Council is also to be invited to attend the Neighbourhoods Select Committee to discuss County bus services.
Epping Forest College 27 February 2018
Committee councillors also noted the scheduled attendance of the Principal of Epping Forest College at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 27 February 2018.
Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114
Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them
Light them at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back
Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket
Respect your neighbours, don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow
Take care with sparklers ,never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use
Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening
Know the laws on fireworks and don’t set any off after 11pm. On 5 November, displays can continue until 12am and on certain occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be set off until 1am.
If you are planning to have a bonfire make sure to:
Build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges
Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire
Never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
Don’t leave bonfires unattended
An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out
If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water
Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire
Stay safe and look out for other
“Bonfire night is always a busy time for our emergency services so wherever you are, remember to stay safe and look out for others” said Safer, greener and transport portfolio holder Councillor Sam Kane.
“Organised events are always the safest way to enjoy fireworks and North Weald Airfield is holding another fantastic event on Friday 3 November. There are many other organised events across the district, but if you do choose to have your celebrations at home, please follow the safety tips so that you and your family remember the night for all the right reasons.”
Rachel Cooper of Lushes Road in Loughton, was found guilty of a waste duty of care offence for giving 10 bags of household waste to someone who fly-tipped her waste at the junction of Bushfields and Parkmead in Loughton.
Failed to attend hearings
Rachel Cooper failed to attend two court hearings and was arrested on 29 September 2017. At court Ms Cooper pleaded guilty to handing over 10 bags of household waste to someone, who then fly-tipped them at the junction of Bushfields and Parkmead, Loughton on 30 November 2016.
Fined and prosecuted
She was fined £170 for the offence and failing to attend an interview with the council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods team. She was also ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £1281.33.
So easily avoided
Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ”This is a situation that could easily have been avoided. Ms Cooper admitted that she had asked for the waste to be removed for cash, without first checking to see whether the person was licensed.”
”Ms Cooper’s decision was particularly foolish as over 80% of the waste could have been recycled using Epping Forest District Council’s normal doorstep collection. If she had used this, or simply checked the licence of the person removing the waste, she would not have been arrested or fined.”
He continued: ”Householders and business must make reasonable checks to ensure that they comply with their waste duty of care. You must only give your waste to a person authorised by the Environment Agency. Businesses who produce commercial waste must also keep waste transfer notes”.
Love Essex, a partnership of councils, businesses and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, has launched its #CrimeNotToCare campaign to inform residents they could unwittingly end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine, if a rogue trader dumps their waste illegally.
Protect yourself and help us catch fly-tippers
To protect yourself from legal action, we advise you check, consider and record