Floods Destroy – Are you at Risk? Are you Prepared?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Drainage, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

With the onset of winter, the Environment Agency has launched its annual Flood Action Campaign.

This year it’s titled Prepare, Act, Survive and is aimed at young people who are most at risk in a flood because18-24’s are least aware of dangers of flooding in their area and more than half would not know what to do in an emergency. The Environment Agency and British Red Cross are urging young people to learn how to protect themselves and help their communities when flooding hits.

Self-help

“We are all individually responsible for the safety of ourselves, and our homes in the event of a flood,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Cabinet Member for the Environment.

“There is so much self-help information available that there is no excuse for not being prepared in the event of a flood.”

“For instance flood doors and boards are available to hold back the water if you live in an area that is in danger of flooding, or you can buy self-inflating ‘sandbags’ that only take up a fraction of the space of traditional sandbags and can be deployed rapidly. We must all be prepared to help ourselves should the worst happen.”

I would also encourage all residents to check the flood risk in their area by visiting the Environment Agency’s website and if necessary sign up for automated email and text Flood Alerts.

Be prepared

The Environment Agency’s advice in their latest campaign is to:

Prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents

Act, turn off gas, water and electricity. Move things upstairs or to safety. Move family, pets and car to safety

Survive Call 999 if in immediate danger, follow advice from emergency services, keep yourself and your family safe.

More useful information is available on:

https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk

http://www.essexprepared.co.uk/

http://bluepages.org.uk/

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency

#JustOneThing on YouTube

You wouldn’t leave your belongings out to be stolen, so why let them be taken by a flood? What #JustOneThing would you hate to lose in a flood?

Loughton man prosecuted for failing duty of care

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A shop in The Broadway, Loughton had rubbish dumped in it’s trade bin which was traced back to a resident living in Willingale Close.

Investigations by Epping Forest District Council led to the prosecution of Mr Christian Akinrinade. The waste included a number of cardboard boxes and a leather bag which were identified as having originated from Mr Akinrinade’s property in Willingale Close Loughton.

Mr Akinrinade pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to transferring household waste to an unauthorised person. He told the Council he had given the waste to builders working at a property in his road and had paid them approximately £30 to do so.

He was fined £1153 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £627.82 together with a victim surcharge of £115.

Fly tipping prosecution

“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”

Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care. A series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.

Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without attention to food hygiene, this doesn’t stop during the festive season. To save your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow these Food Standards Agency top tips from Epping Forest District Council to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Top tips

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags to separate raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as four days
  3. Don’t wash a raw turkey – it splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops
  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging Check that the meat is steaming hot throughout; there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, and the meat juices run clear
  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once

Coucillor Anne Grigg, Portfolio Holder for Commercial and Regulatory Services said: “Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge. It is vital that the turkey, and other meat, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and eaten within specific timeframes in order to avoid food poisoning.

“This is why Epping Forest District Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping to relieve some of the stress of preparing the Christmas meal and to keep your family safe during the festive period.”

Adam Hardgrave, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, said: “The four Cs of food hygiene – chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.

“In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take four days to fully thaw in the fridge, and it is vital to thoroughly cook it so that the meat is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and the meat juices run clear.”

For more information visit: www.food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.

Nazeing nursery fined for contaminated water

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment

The owner of a Nazeing nursery has been fined £583 plus £500 costs and a £58 victim surcharge, after Epping Forest District Council found  E. coli and Enterococci in his water supply.

Mr. Derek Fawcett, one of the owners of Eastside Nursery, Nazeing, Essex pleaded guilty on 11th October 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, to not having complied with a Notice served on him on the 8th November 2017 by Epping Forest District Council for improvement work to be carried out to the private water supply serving the nursery.

Potential dangers

Inspection of the supply confirmed it to be high risk and samples of the water showed that it contained E. coli and Enterococci which posed a potential danger to human health. These bacteria are commonly associated with human or animal bodily waste and the concentrations found were the highest the council has encountered. Residents of the site would be using this water to wash, cook and clean with.

The Notice required the improvements to be completed by 5 March 2018. After the failure of one contractor to complete the work during the initial timescale, an application was made to the Council in February 2018 by Mr Fawcett to allow him extra time to complete the work.

The Council agreed to extend the time for completion of the project until 5 May 2018, however on the 4 May, Mr Fawcett informed the Council that the work had still not been started. On 7 May the owners were informed that prosecution proceedings would be commenced. Subsequently, a different contractor was instructed by Mr Fawcett on 14 May to undertake the tasks. The improvement work continued until the 9 October 2018 when an inspection confirmed it was substantially complete subject to final sampling and analysis of the supply by the Council.

Fined

The Magistrates stated that on consideration there had been some negligence on the part of Mr Fawcett notwithstanding his illness in 2018. He was fined £583 and ordered to pay £500 towards the Council’s prosecution costs and a Victim Surcharge of £58. It is important to note that this offence can be given higher fines and even custodial sentences.

Statutory duty to assess risk

Council Officers will continue to inspect all private water supplies that are judged to be a risk, and take the necessary enforcement action to safeguard human health. These bacteria can cause significant illness and in some cases even death, especially at such high concentrations. It is the Council’s statutory duty to risk assess and restore water quality to these supplies.

Councillor Nigel Avey, Cabinet member responsible for the environment said:  “The Council has a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.  It is disappointing that we had to take this case to prosecution rather than the work being undertaken during the notice period. There are a large number of private water supplies in the district. I would like to thank the Magistrates Court for supporting the Council. No one wants anyone to become ill through poor water and I hope this case sends out a clear message to all owners of private water supplies on the importance of ensuring they keep those supplies clean, fit and healthy for human consumption.”

#CrimeNotToCare campaign – it’s your responsibility!

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

We spend £190,000 on clearing up fly tipping across our district…money that could be spent on other services. But did you realise that it’s not just the fly tippers that are liable to prosecution? We are all personally responsible for our waste and how it is disposed of.

Black sacks left outside the designated areas for refuse collection can constitute fly tipping as much as sofas, fridges, builders’ rubble etc, which we trust to a third party to dispose of.

Duty of care

As residents we have a duty of care to ensure our waste is disposed of responsibly and doesn’t find its way into the hands of rogue traders.

Just last month a Loughton man had to pay £1,500 in fines and costs because the person he asked to dispose of some cardboard fly tipped it. Our enforcement team traced it back to the man and he was prosecuted.

Check list

Here are a few simple checks to make before you enter into an agreement with someone to dispose of your waste:

  • Ask for their waste carrier number and vehicle details and contact the Environment Agency for a free instant waste carrier check
  • Ask for a transfer notice or receipt before your waste is taken away
  • Check where your waste is going. A legitimate waste carrier should not object to you asking these questions.
  • Make a note of who you have given your waste to, their waste carrier details and vehicle details.

You should never leave any waste such as an old washing machine or scrap metal on your drive or in the street for someone to remove. They may not be a registered waste carrier, and could take the bits they need and dump the rest.

You can donate good quality items to your local reuse organisation or charity shop , or give items to someone who could make use of them.

Further information

To find out more watch our Crime Not to Care film and please share the message to ensure your friends and family know how to protect themselves, and help us reduce fly-tipping.

Watch out for deer, the rutting season is here

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Motorists and dog walkers are being warned that the deer mating season, also known as the rutting or breeding season, has begun.

During the rutting season male deer can become highly aggressive as they attempt to fight off rivals to attract female deer. This makes them less aware of dangers around them, such as cars and bikes on the roads.

Watch out for deer the rutting season is here

Take extra care

“At this time of year its especially important for motorists to take extra care when driving through the forest and rural parts of the district” said Councillor Sam Kane, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport.

Accidents involving deer increase during rutting season, which lasts until late November. Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk, which unfortunately coincides with commuting hours and the busiest times of day on our roads.

Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk. Unfortunately this coincides with commuting hours which are often the busiest times of the day on our roads.

Wild animals can behave unpredictably

“Deer are pack animals and often move in groups, if you see one, others are likely to follow. They can appear without warning and present a greater risk than other wildlife because of their large size.”

Cllr Kane has advice for dog walkers: “Keep your dogs on a lead. Deers are wild animals and can behave unpredictably if they feel threatened, so don’t get too close.”

Be deer aware

“Please read the safety advice and be more ‘deer aware’ during this time of year” says Cllr Sam Kane, “Whether you’re driving in our district or walking in our beautiful forest, I want everyone to complete their journey safely and without incident.”

Top Tips for BBQ’s this bank holiday

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Environmental health, Food safety, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Lots of people will be planning a barbecue over the bank holiday weekend, so Epping Forest District Council’s Environmental Health team has put together some top tips to help prevent food poisoning.

BBQ infographic

Be aware of the dangers

With an estimated 1 million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year as a consequence of unsafe barbecue food, it is important to be aware of the dangers of foodborne diseases, such as Campylobacter, listeria and salmonella.

Environment Portfolio Holder Cllr Nigel Avey said :“A summer of sports, weddings and scorching weather means many of us have been experiencing full barbecue fever. The hot weather this summer means anyone planning a barbecue needs to be even more careful.

“Most of us know the danger of not cooking chicken all the way through, but we need to have the same vigilance when it comes to burgers and sausages. A common misconception is that burgers are like steak and can be eaten rare, but when they are still pink in the middle, they are three times more likely to contain harmful bacteria.”

Top tips for staying food safe

Here are our ten easy tips for staying food safe when cooking on the barbie:

  • COME CLEAN
    Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and eating. Wash your utensils and serving dishes in between use, taking special care not to mix up dishes used for holding raw food with dishes for cooked food.
  • KEEP YOUR COOL
    Defrost  food in the fridge, NOT at room temperature, and ensure it is fully defrosted before cooking. When storing cooked food, cool it at room temperature before putting it in the fridge, and make sure you get it in the fridge within 2 hours.
  • FRIDGE CHECK
    Generally, the colder the temperature, the slower the germs grow, so regularly check your fridge is cold enough – it should be below 5°C.
  • Avoid cross contamination by storing raw meat separately from ready-to-eat foods. Use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food. Do not prepare food for others if you suffering from an illness e.g. vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
  • STAYING COOL ON THE GO
    Continue to keep food cool by using a cool box when heading out for a picnic or barbecue. Keep the lid on as much as possible and don’t leave food out for longer than two hours – or one hour if it’s very hot.
  • FEEL THE HEAT
    Cook food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed. If using a probe thermometer, the thickest part of the meat should reach 70°c for 2 minutes. Turn meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly.
  • MARINADE MINDFULLY
    When applying a marinade to meat, be careful.  Don’t baste partially and cooked meat with a marinade that has been used on raw meat, as this can lead to cross-contamination.  If you would like to apply the marinade again as a baste – boil it in a pan, and it will be safe to use.
  • DON’T BEEF UP THE BARBIE
    Never overload your barbecue and remember that disposable barbecues take longer to heat up and cook food, so be patient!
  • CHECK IT’S DONE
    Always check that meat juices run clear and that no pink meat is visible when cutting through the thickest part. Remember, charred on the outside doesn’t always mean cooked on the inside!
  • FINAL FINISH
    Consider cooking all chicken and pork in the oven and then giving them a final ‘finish’ on the barbecue where possible. This ensures that meat is safely cooked through, whilst retaining that great smoky barbecue flavour.

More info

For more information visit:

Don’t fall foul of new licensing laws for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Written on . Posted in Building control, Commercial properties, Community, Environmental health, Housing, Licensing, Media, Our performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

New licensing laws for landlords, which further protect tenants in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from poor living conditions, come into effect on 1 October from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

HMO Licence
Landlords who let a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.

The move gives Epping Forest District Council more powers to crack down on those landlords who are renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.

The new rules set minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding, and landlords must adhere to council refuse schemes to reduce problems with rubbish.

If you’re a landlord of an HMO, here’s what to do

If you’re not sure whether the new requirements apply to you

And in time for your licence to be processed before 1 October 2018

What happens if I don’t?

  • Prosecution or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 for committing an offence
  • Banning Order – You may be banned from operating as a landlord or agent in the private rented sector
  • Up to 12 months’ rent and/or housing benefit can be claimed back by the tenant and/or the Council
  • Any Section 21 notice requiring a tenant to leave the property will not be valid.

Property standards

In addition to general requirements affecting all rented properties, a licensed HMO will need to meet the Essex HMO Amenity Standards.  These set the amount of bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities, together with the sleeping and communal living space required, depending on the size of the property.

The property will also need to have adequate fire safety measures in place to protect the occupiers and meet the Management Regulations for cleanliness and maintenance of the property.

“Our Private Sector Housing Team is able to explain the new legislation and offer advice and support to landlords of HMOs,” said Cllr Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Housing..

“Call or email them to arrange an informal discussion or to make an appointment to visit the property so that they can advise on any requirements and possible options.”

More information 

Statement – Fire at Burton Road, Loughton

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Arts, Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chairman, Chigwell, Civic events, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Elections, Emergencies, Energy efficiency, Environmental health, Epping, Equalities, Food safety, Garages, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Jobs, Leader, Licensing, Local business, Local land charges, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Museum, Noise, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Parking, Performance, Planning, Playschemes, Private housing, Procurement, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated Information – 13.15pm on 17 August 2018

Essex Fire and Rescue Service have announced that the fire is now out.

We cannot speculate on the cause of the fire at the moment, that will come out following an official investigation.

The photo below shows the building now that the fire is out and demonstrates how remarkably well the structure has stood up to the fire.

Council Leader, Chris Whitbread said: “You can always rebuild bricks and mortar, the important thing is that everyone appears to be safe and the fire is now out.”

Original statement made – 12:00pm 17 August 2018

A development of new flats in Burton Road, Loughton has caught fire and the fire service are in attendance.

This is a development of new council housing being built for Epping Forest District Council. A £10 million design and build mixed tenure residential development of 51 affordable rent units, comprising of 17 homes and 34 apartments.

Councillor Chris Whitbread Leader of Epping Forest District Council is at Burton Road.

He said: “Our first concern is for the safety and welfare of all concerned. It looks like everyone is safe. Essex Fire and Rescue is on the scene and it is under control. These flats are still being built. This is a construction site and there are no tenants living here. However we are obviously concerned about everyone working on the site at the time the fire started.

“The development is being built for us by Mulalley – a large construction company with a long and successful track record of building major projects. It is too early to say what caused the fire but it is clearly large. Essex Fire and Rescue has cordoned the site off.

“Our first priority is to ensure people are safe. Neighbouring residents are being asked to stay in their homes. This is bound to cause some travel disruption and people are being asked to avoid the area if they can.

“The council has several roles: we are the client and this is a serious setback for us and all those people we are building these new homes for. More importantly in the short term we have a supporting role to the emergency services and would be in a position to set up rest centres nearby if required for neighbouring residents. At this stage our staff are on standby if rest centres are needed. We also employ specialist building control officers who will be at the disposal of Essex Fire and Rescue to assess the damage and ensure the buildings are made safe once the fire is out.

“In the longer term we will recover. Bricks and mortar can always be replaced and we will rebuild these much needed homes for local people. For now, our thoughts are focused on the safety of everyone living and working in the area.

Please visit the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website for reliable advice and up to date information about the incident http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents/i7458/

 

Man fined for failing to clear nature reserve site

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A man from Waltham Abbey has been prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council for failing to clear waste that was adversely affecting the character and visual attractiveness of land within Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve.

Prosecution

Click on an image below for slideshow

Former underground bunker site

Mr Raymond Sturgess of Stanford Court in Waltham Abbey was successfully prosecuted in June 2018. He failed to respond to a notice served on him requiring him to remove waste, plastic, card, building materials and household items from the former Royal Observer Corps underground bunker site, which he originally intended to renovate when it was bought in 2015.

Fined

Sturgess pleaded guilty and received a reduced fine of £200, was ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with a statutory victim surcharge of £30.

Ample time to comply

During mitigation Mr Sturgess told the Magistrates that was unable to comply with the notice because he had injured his knee, he claimed that vandals and fly-tippers had gained access to the site and were responsible for the mess.

The Magistrate concluded that Sturgess had ample time to comply with the notice and they did not accept everything he had told them.

Largest remaining water meadow

The bunker site sits within the Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust manage the site and describe it as ‘the largest remaining water meadow in Essex’.

It is reputedly famous for it’s beautiful wild flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. It is important that this site is preserved for its resident wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.