‘Freeze not throw away’ for Food Safety Week

Written on . Posted in Business, Environmental health, Food safety, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Supporting business, Your area, Your council

We are supporting this year’s Food Safety Week which runs from 4-10 July 2016. It aims to help people better understand how to waste less food safely, by making more use of their freezers.

Infographic - food safety week 2016

New research

New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68% of UK adults report that they have thrown food away in the past month.

Over two thirds (36%) of those who had thrown away food said they have discarded food as it was past its use by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it, which was reported by 30% of people; and not having the chance to eat food before it went off, which almost a quarter (23%) gave as an excuse for putting food in the bin.

This contributes to the 7 million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK each year which, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, costs each household around £470 annually.

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

Help tackle the problem

Epping Forest District Council is backing the FSA’s campaign to encourage residents in the Epping Forest district and across the UK to help tackle the problem of food waste by planning ahead and, if necessary, to freeze  food within its use by date if there is a chance you may end up throwing it away once the use-by date expires.

This waste is unnecessary

Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary, and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem.”

“Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts. 31% of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste – that’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week.

The freezer is like a pause button

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder at Epping Forest District Council said: “Lots of people believe food can only be frozen on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use by date. You can even cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze it to eat on another day.”

“With so much food being thrown away in the UK each year, we want our residents to think about how they can use their freezers to their full potential, rather than putting food in the bin.”

“While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within 3 to 6 months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”

Want to know more?

For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.


Nu Bar opening hours cut following review

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Noise, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillors are cracking down on anti-social behaviour and criminal activity associated with Nu Bar in Loughton. Following a review of evidence from local residents and Essex Police, councillors have cut the opening hours by moving the closing time from 02:30am to 00:30am, with no alcohol to be served after midnight. The only exceptions to the new closing times are special occasions such as Christmas and New Year.

Chance to appeal

The Licence Holder, Greene King, has 21 days from the date of the decision to appeal. If Greene King accept the new conditions, Nu Bar remains closed until the time permitted for an appeal has ended or any appeal is completed.

Conditions re-emphasized and reinforced

In addition to the reduction in opening hours, Epping Forest District Council has re-emphasized and reinforced a raft of other conditions designed to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. These include high quality CCTV and facial recognition technology, door staff, dress codes to prevent people hiding their identity, training for staff in matters as diverse as sales to underage children and drug abuse, maintenance of an incident register, the banning of glass drink ware, digital ID scanning and restrictions on the number of people that can be in the smoking area at any one time.

Protecting residents

A spokesperson for Epping Forest District Council said: “We would like to thank local residents and Essex Police for their hard work in pulling the evidence together. We have a legal duty as the licensing authority to take an impartial independent view based on law. Licensing Committee councillors listened very carefully to all sides of the argument but felt a clear need to impose these restrictions and protect our residents from the nuisance and harm caused by late-night rowdy behaviour at Nu Bar.”

He continued: “We expect Nu Bar’s owners to take heed of this tough stance and understand that the kind of behaviour associated with their premises over the last few months is intolerable and unacceptable. Essex Police catalogued eight separate incidents in the last few months, including one involving 40 people. Local residents have the right to a reasonable degree of peace, quiet and security.”

Happy 90th Birthday HM Queen Elizabeth II

Written on . Posted in Community, Environmental health, Epping, Media, Our activities, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Let them eat cake …

A High Tea was held by our Neighbourhoods Customer Service Team during their lunch break to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday today, 21 April 2016.

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click start slideshow.

Delicious homemade cakes, sandwiches and snacks were eaten by the team to honour the Queen’s milestone birthday.

Happy 90th Birthday Your Majesty!

The team all agreed: “We thought, what better way to celebrate and pay our respects to our monarch, and also say ‘Happy Birthday’, than to hold a High Tea in her honour. We all got involved by making and bringing in all sorts of goodies and was a lovely excuse to eat cake! Happy 90th Birthday Your Majesty!”


Become a WasteBuster

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Environmental health, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Care about your community, saving money and improving the environment? Why not become a WasteBuster.

Waste Busters poster

WasteBusters are a group of volunteers aiming to make a difference in their local communities by reducing waste, reusing resources and ultimately saving money.

All volunteers receive a free training day and are taught about:

  • Reducing food waste
  • Home composting
  • Reusing and refurbishing items

Volunteers will then be able to share their knowledge with the local community:

  • Hold stalls at local events,
  • Talk to local community group
  • Host drop-ins, workshops or demonstrations
  • Write blogs on reusing and recycling

All WasteBusters as well as receiving free annual training will get a starter kit including, a t-shirt & fleece, first aid kit & tally counter. In addition all travel expenses will be covered and all volunteers who give 15, 30 and 60 hours to the volunteer group will receive rewards.

Benefits our district and everyone who lives within it

Epping Forest District Council organises the domestic kerbside refuse and recycling collection service. Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall is supporting Waste Busters. He said: ‘ Waste Busters is a great idea.  The District Council collects the rubbish and the County Council disposes of it. Thanks to our residents, Epping Forest District is already one of the best areas for recycling in the country and this is another great way to boost that position. Every scrap of waste we reduce, reuse or recycle benefits our district and everyone who lives within it. It cuts greenhouse gas emissions, further reduces reliance on landfill and disposal costs, putting more money back into the pockets of residents through lower tax.’

Want to become a WasteBuster?

Book a places at the next training day Friday 4 March, Loughton Library, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm

WasteBusters is open to all ages over 16 and all backgrounds

If you would like to become a WasteBuster you can either

For more info visit www.recycleforessex.com


Limes Centre open morning

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Community, Environmental health, Housing, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

We are having an open day at The Limes Centre in Chigwell to mark our extended opening hours. All residents are welcome to come along and find out what services we offer.

  • When – Monday 1 February 2016 9:15am to 12 noon
  • Where – The Limes Centre, Limes Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5LP

Limes Farm open day flyer

On the day we will be available to answer your questions

  • Housing management South – rent enquiries, tenancy matters and estate issues
  • Environmental health – noise nuisance, fly tipping and general enquiries
  • Community safety – anti social behaviour, or any other policing matters
  • Community involvement – activities in your local area and at the Limes Centre
  • Private sector housing – housing advice to private home owners

Since our new extended opening hours, we have been asking residents to complete a satisfaction questionnaire when visiting The Limes Centre. Every month all completed survey forms will be entered into a £25 prize draw. The first draw will take place on 1 February 2016. So come along and see us, we’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.

Free refreshments.

Want to know more?


CO levels tested to protect residents

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Food safety, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Public Health team test Carbon Monoxide levels to protect residents from exposure.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, gas which is lethal and can cause asphyxiation. There have been a number of well publicised deaths from CO exposure in recent years which were attributed to faulty gas heaters, boilers and, somewhat surprisingly, the use of barbeque charcoal in restaurants.

Environmental Health Officer Hasan Erdogan and withEnvironment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall

When charcoal cools, CO gasses are produced. These gasses can potentially permeate neighbouring accommodation as well as remain within the restaurant itself, which could have tragic consequences for neighbouring residents and the restaurant’s employees.

CO data loggers fitted

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “There has been an increase in the use of open barbeque equipment in restaurants around our district and, if CO levels are not monitored, this could pose a significant risk to residents and employees. Mindful of our residents wellbeing, our Public Health Team have undertaken CO sampling in 12 of the districts barbeque restaurants. CO data loggers were fitted in each business over a weekend to establish exposure levels.”

Councillor Will Breare-Hall continued: “Of the 12, most were found to be below the legal workplace exposure limit. 5 were identified as having CO levels with room for improvement. These were swiftly and easily dealt with using simple and cost effective solutions, for example, ensuring doors are kept closed to allow extractors to work efficiently, ensuring extractor systems and filters are kept clean, and making sure that the charcoal is removed at the end of the day and not left overnight. Follow up monitoring was undertaken to confirm that the changes had been effective.”

Instant read CO monitor and data loggers

CO testing is important

Councillor Will Breare-Hall concluded: “CO testing is important because high levels can be so dangerous. We are not trying to catch anyone out, we are simply trying to keep our residents and our restaurants as safe as possible.”

“Following this success, a further project is planned to establish whether restaurants in the district that use Tandoor ovens are operating with safe levels of CO. Tandoor ovens traditionally use charcoal and even though many are now gas fired, officers have found that the current trend is for charcoal fired tandoor ovens.”

Food safety advice

Further information on this project, or any health and safety or food safety advice contact the Public Health Team


Food Hygiene Rating Scheme turns 5

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Environmental health, Food safety, Health, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

On 30 November 2015 the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be 5 years old and Epping Forest District Council is proud to be part of it.

More and more customers are making an informed choice about where they eat so we are encouraging all businesses in the district to display their rating. Food businesses work hard to achieve a good rating and it’s something to be proud of.

FHRS infographic

We want to

  • give consumers information about hygiene standards in food outlets so that they can make informed choices
  • drive up hygiene standards in food businesses
  • reduce the incidence of foodborne illness (this is estimated at around 500,000 cases annually from the main causes of foodborne illness – including all types of food borne disease could double this figure to nearer 1 million cases a year)

6 hygiene ratings

The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs, hotels, schools, hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and other retailers.

There are 6 hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0’ (urgent improvement required) at the bottom to ‘5’ (very good) at the top. Around 93% of food businesses are rated a 3 or better so there are plenty of places you can choose with good standards and easily avoid taking your family and friends to those not meeting the grade.

The scheme is designed so that all businesses, no matter how small can achieve the top rating by meeting the legal requirements and any improvements needed to get a higher rating are no more than is required by the law. We’ve seen standards improve. Now more and more businesses are able to show their customers that they take food hygiene seriously.

Look before you book

Look before you book and check the rating at www.food.gov.uk/ratings, by using the mobile app or looking for the green and black stickers which should be displayed at the premises.

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found at www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/hygiene-rating-schemes/rating-schemes-faqs-en.


Joining forces in the battle against litter

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Local business, Media, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Essex Local Authorities and more than 300 businesses across Essex, Kent and Suffolk join forces in the battle against litter for #LoveEssex and #binit campaigns.

#LoveEssex launchEssex local authorities and fast food businesses will continue the battle against litter with a new follow-up to last year’s highly successful Love Essex campaign.

Eradicate the littering bad habit

With local authority budgets depleting every year, the demand and pressure on services such as street cleaning rises. The ultimate victory would be to eradicate the littering bad habit, however as the trend in ‘eating-on-the-go’ continues to grow, so does the battle against litter. Local authority partnership the Cleaner Essex Group is determined to tackle the problem and knows that the joined-up approach has been tried, tested, and most crucially has brought results.

This year’s campaign reminds people to bin their litter responsibly, or risk a fine for littering from £75. Following the success of the Essex-wide 2014 ‘Littering … it’s not pretty’ campaign, the partnership is growing in size and strength, with partners campaigning together under the banners of Love Essex, Love Suffolk and Love Kent.

From 24 August until the end of September posters and fast food packaging will carry messages to different target audiences, to show that binning your litter is smart, classy, cool, and above all a pretty easy thing to do too. Love Essex Kent Suffolk

Litter is a shameful blight

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder at Epping Forest District Council said: “Litter is a shameful blight on our towns and countryside. It damages the environment and costs Essex tax payers millions of pounds each year to clean up. By working with other local authorities and businesses I hope we can encourage more people to put their litter in the bin and prevent bad habits developing.”

“Not only is it harmful to the environment and expensive to clear up, it is also anti-social. If you are caught littering you could find yourself having to pay a costly fine.”

Passionate about protecting the environment

As more retail giants take a stance against littering, Cherry Lewis-Taylor, McDonald’s franchisee said: “As a local businesswoman I’m really proud to be supporting the second Love Essex litter campaign and am confident that it will build on the success that we achieved last year.”

“I’m passionate about protecting the environment and employ several full time members of staff who carry out at least 3 litter patrols every day of the year. I see the negative effect litter has on the local area, first-hand, so I am delighted that the Love Essex, Kent and Suffolk campaign is bringing together every single McDonald’s across the 3 counties, individuals, and even more local businesses to raise awareness of the issue.”

Going from strength to strength

Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said: “It is fantastic to see the Love Essex campaign going from strength to strength and the model being adopted by other counties. Campaigns like this, which see local authorities, charities, businesses and communities working together, are the best way to tackle the problem of litter that blights our streets, parks and beaches.”

Look out for our posters

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

This year, more than 300 local businesses across Essex, Suffolk and Kent are all joining forces with the same objective – to combat litter and put pressure on offenders to change their anti-social behaviour.

The businesses include

  • Britvic
  • Chelmsford Star Co-operative
  • Coca-Cola
  • Costa
  • Domino’s
  • Helping Hands
  • Highways England
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • KFC
  • McDonald’s
  • RP2 Global
  • Smith Anderson
  • Tesco
  • Wrigley


Free electrical appliances safety testing

Written on . Posted in Community, Environmental health, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Do you know anyone 65 and over or an adult that needs additional support who would benefit from having their household appliances tested for electrical safety?

Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council Trading Standards have been working in partnership with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to provide a free safety test on electrical portable appliances for adults aged 65 and over or adults who require additional support due to learning disability or mental, physical or sensory impairment.

Free electrical safety testing for small domestic appliances

Testing includes

  • Toasters
  • Kettles
  • Microwaves
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Food mixers
  • Electric blankets
  • Hair-dryers
  • Other similar domestic appliances

If you know anyone who would benefit from this or feel you would benefit yourself please join us!

To make an appointment please call 08456037626 or email trading.standards@essex.gov.uk

The dates available are as follows

  • 16 September
  • 20 October
  • 17 November
  • 9 December

There will also be advice on dealing with doorstep traders and the Buy with Confidence Scheme whilst you wait for you items to be tested.

For more information on home fire safety please visit the Essex County Fire and Rescue website.


Free smoke & carbon monoxide alarms for landlords

Written on . Posted in Environmental health, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Due to upcoming changes in government legislation regarding the private rented sector and landlord responsibilities, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service have been given smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to distribute to landlords across the county.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection”.

How to apply

If you are a landlord and wish to obtain an alarm for your property firstly you need to complete an online registration form, once this has been completed Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will invite you to a workshop. These workshops will include information from the home fire safety team and the technical fire safety team specially designed for landlords and tenants.

There is no requirement for the Service to install these alarms, as it is the landlord’s responsibility, but there will be quality assuring by sampling the addresses to ensure fitting is completed within the guidance provided.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis went on to say: “With working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”

If you have any questions or queries please email dclg.landlord@essex-fire.gov.uk

Collection dates and venues

Friday 4 September

10am to 12pm – Colchester Fire Station
2pm to 4pm – Clacton on Sea Fire Station

Tuesday 8 September

10am to 12pm – Southend Fire Station
2pm to 4pm – Rayleigh Weir Fire Station

Wednesday 9 September

12pm to 2pm – Braintree Fire Station
3pm to 5pm – Chelmsford Fire Station

Thursday 10 September

10am to 12pm – Grays Fire Station
2pm to 4pm – Basildon Fire Station

Friday 11 September

10am to 2pm – Harlow Fire Station