Stray dogs at Christmas

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Environmental health, Your environment

If you find a stray dog while the main council offices are closed to the public over the Christmas period, please contact Hillside Kennels on 01992 892316, between 11.00 and 15.00 any day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Sunday to arrange to drop the dog off.

If you have lost your dog you can check with the kennel to see if it has been handed in (a kennelling fee may be payable) or call the Animal Warden from 5 January on 01992 564153.


Winter business briefing published

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Chairman, Commercial properties, Councillors, Environmental health, Food safety, Grants, Licensing, Local business, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your council, Your home, Your money

The latest issue of One Business Briefing is now available. It includes articles on how to make marketing and social media work more successfully for you and funding to help train staff in digital skills and much more.

Cover of Winter 2014 One Business Briefing

Download the briefing

The winter issue focuses on opportunities for new and established businesses across Epping Forest – from free sessions and guidance to make marketing and social media work more successfully for you to funding to help train staff in digital skills and for strategic advice to grow your business.

Several successful events in recent weeks demonstrated the variety of business owners in our district, as well as the passion and drive that fuels our local economy.

As we move into the New Year, the importance of investing in the future is highlighted; specifically in supporting young people at the very start of their careers, as well as providing support for key sectors and geographic areas. This is reflected in our latest issue of the briefing, which reports on the recent Investors in Young People Awards Celebration and announces support for tourism and town and district centres across our patch.

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As always, we would welcome any feedback on how useful these updates are and suggestions for future editions.

Better information for food allergen sufferers

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

People who suffer from food allergies should be able to make more informed choices when food businesses will be required to provide allergen information about the food they sell.

On 13 December new legislation, the Food Information Regulations 2014, comes into force. This will mean that food businesses must provide allergen information about the food they sell, even when it is not packaged.

Catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries, sandwich bars and takeaways will all have to provide information to customers about the ingredients they use in their food. There will also be changes to existing rules on labelling allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods.

Our Environmental Health officers are providing advice and information to businesses in the area when they carry out programmed visits. Further information for businesses can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

14 major allergens

There are 14 major allergens which need to be declared – these are

  1. cereals containing gluten, namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), barley, rye and oats
  2. crustaceans like prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish, etc.
  3. eggs
  4. fish
  5. peanuts
  6. soybeans
  7. milk
  8. nuts, namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan, Brazil, pistachio, cashew, Macadamia or Queensland nut
  9. celery
  10. mustard
  11. sesame
  12. sulphur dioxide or sulphites (where added and is >10mg/kg in the finished product, such as in dried fruit and wine)
  13. Lupin
  14. molluscs like clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails, etc.

To view infographics by the Food Standards Agency, click on a picture below.

Vitally important for allergy sufferers

Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “This is good news for those people who suffer from food allergies and a great opportunity for food businesses to reach new customers. The additional information those businesses must now provide will take much of the guesswork and worry out of buying food when out and about. It is vitally important for allergy sufferers to know exactly what they are consuming if they are to avoid any adverse reactions.”

No longer acceptable

Phrases like ‘May contain nuts’ will no longer be acceptable. Businesses must know if any of these ingredients have been used in the food they sell and staff must be able to provide consumers with the information on any allergens present.


#OurDay a day in the life of your council

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Environmental health, Food safety, Grants, Housing repairs, Media, Meetings, Older people, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Wednesday 26 November 2014 was #OurDay, a Local Government Association (LGA) initiative using Twitter to give the public an insight into the hundreds of jobs councils do every day.

#OurDay is an opportunity for people who work in local government to share about their working day and the services they are providing. From binmen to housing officers, Chief Executive to countryside team, and everyone in between there are lots of local government stories to share.

#OurDay poster

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

Want to know more?

Find out what was tweeted


Latest business briefing published

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Regulations, Sports, Supporting business, Tour de France, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

To celebrate the Tour de France passing through our district this month, our latest Business Briefing is a special edition, available now to download for free.

The sporting event will provide a unique opportunity for business owners and shopkeepers alike. Thousands of spectators and tourists are expected to line the streets to catch a glimpse of the excitement as the eyes will focus on Epping Forest for a brief but invaluable time. An illustrated, pull-out route map can be found in this edition of the Briefing, as well as tips on how to make the most of this momentous occasion.

As well as highlights on what’s to come from Le Tour, July’s issue looks at the achievements of the Council’s apprenticeship scheme, which provides crucial opportunities for young people to gain the skills and experience they need to give them a helping hand in kick-starting their careers. In addition, are updates from the Chamber of Commerce, Town Centre Initiative Funding, the launch of the Investors in Youth Awards 2014 and more.

Le Tour edition of One Business Briefing (pdf 4.8MB)


Food Safety Week fights campylobacter

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

You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, it can kill you.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, up to a quarter of a million people are affected each year. Food Safety Week runs from 16 to 22 June and this year is focusing on tackling Campylobacter.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem. Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry. Consumers will be able to see the latest data and be the judges of any progress, or lack of progress, that they make.

Local authorities, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe.

Advice is available at

Serious problem

Bob Martin, Head of Foodborne Disease Strategy at the Food Standards Agency said: “This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to act together to tackle Campylobacter. People in Epping Forest can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra cares – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.”

Spread the word, not the germs

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder at Epping Forest District Council said: “It’s important that we do our part to make sure that people know to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families. We’re proud to be keeping people in Epping Forest safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word – and not the germs.”


Flooding, be aware and be prepared

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Drainage, Emergencies, Environmental health, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

If flooding has been forecast where you live, listen to local radio or check the Environment Agency’s website for updates and news.

Driving through flood water

Environment Agency

Latest flood warning updates for the Epping Forest district (in alphabetical order)

Know what the levels of flood warning mean

  • Flood Alert: Flooding is possible. Be prepared
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is expected. Immediate action required
  • Severe Flood Warning: Severe flooding. Danger to life


Stay in touch

Listen for flood updates on BBC Radio Essex and Heart Essex Radio.

Get up-to-date weather warnings from the Met Office.

Advice to motorists to take care in bad weather from Essex Police.

Latest incidents from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.


Emergency planning advice from Essex County Council.

Information on emergencies from Epping Forest District Council.

The National Flood Forum is a national charity dedicated to supporting and representing communities and individuals at risk of flooding.

Practical tips and health advice in new flooding leaflet on Flooding: advice to the public.

Flooding presents a number of risks to health – advice from Public Health England.

Do you know what to do with your animals if it floods? Advice from RSPCA.


Photos from around the district

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


Young people team up with McDonalds for litter pick

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

St John’s School pupils put on plastic overalls and boots for a special litter pick at Lower Swaines recreation ground earlier in November. The event was supported and organised by volunteers from McDonalds based at Hastingwood and representatives from Epping Forest District Council.

The initiative was the idea of McDonalds franchisee Tony Fagg and included an art competition with the 3 winning pupils receiving awards and congratulations from the Vice-Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Tony Boyce.


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

Councillor Boyce said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the event. Litter is one of the scourges of modern life. Whether we are a corporate giant like McDonalds, a council or individuals like the wonderful team of volunteers from St John’s school, we all need to do our bit for the environment.”

Councillor Boyce continued: “I particularly want to thank Tony Fagg and his staff at the McDonalds restaurant in Hastingwood. It is very good to see them taking such a keen interest in the environment and how they can work with the local community to tackle litter. Every day the restaurant staff conduct litter patrols in the areas around the restaurant. They pick up all litter they find, not just that of McDonalds. If we could instil some of that philosophy in our younger generations, just think what an amazing impact that would have on our whole district.”

Poster design competition

McDonalds organised the poster design competition with St John’s School’s Art Department and provided WH Smith voucher prizes for the top entries. The winning entry with the logo “Keep calm and bin it!” will be reproduced in the Hastingwood restaurant and car park.

Councillor Boyce and his wife Jan, McDonalds Franchisee Tony Fagg and Richard Gardiner, the council’s Environment & Neighbourhood Manager, judged the design competition.

Love where you live logoThe winning pupils were presented the awards on return to school.

The winners are

  1. Lauren Payne
  2. Marina Hewett
  3. Sophia Blackman

Councillor Boyce said: “There were an amazing 64 entries for this competition. The aim is for the winning entries to promote ‘Love Where You Live’ and encourage McDonalds customers and the local community to be ‘litter aware’.

The St John’s volunteers began their litter pick with a Health and Safety talk and information on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by McDonalds.


Find out more about litter and the law.


Tree wardens attend East Anglian forum

Written on . Posted in Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes, Your council, Your environment

4 Epping Forest Tree Wardens plus Countryside Assistant Kevin Mason, joined 65 other tree wardens from across East Anglia for this years’ Tree Warden Forum on Saturday 5 October. This year it was held at the Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden and hosted by St. Albans City Council.

Explanation of "Willow Power" to the tree wardens

 The theme for the forum was making trees matter to everyone. The speakers were from the Forestry Commission, the Ancient Tree Forum the Tree Council and scientists from the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL).

Lectures were given by Jonathan Spenser Head of Planning and Ecology at Enterprise England, the forestry commission agency responsible for managing the national forest estate. The talk looked at; Trees and the past, what trees were used for? How the landscape evolved, what the future holds for trees in Britain.

This was followed by a talk by Jon Stokes Tree Warden Programme Director at the Tree Council. The theme of this talk was making trees matter to everyone, focusing on the issues faced by our trees today and how we can people more involved in native trees.

The National Willow Collection

The next talk was from David Lonsdale from the Ancient Tree Forum previously Head of Tree Pests and Diseases at the Forestry Commission.

The talk was about tree pests and diseases in a changing climate. There then followed a long list of the diseases currently affecting native trees in this country. The tree diseases were mainly different strains of Phytophthora (Greek for plant destroyer).

The final talk of the morning was from the scientists at OPAL who explained all about the Tree Health Survey. The Epping Forest Tree Wardens already knew all about this having attended our training day in May.

Rows of different willow species

Rows of different willow species

In the afternoon there were field workshops looking at how to carry out the Tree Health Survey which Epping Forest Tree Wardens had already completed.

Finally we looked at the national collection of Willow which is in the grounds of the centre. There are over 1,300 species of Willow, one of the largest collections anywhere in the world.

The centre is developing the use of willow as a biomass energy crop, which when burnt is carbon neutral so helps tackle climate change.


Jubilee Nature Reserve open day

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Almost 200 people attended the Open Day on Saturday 14 September despite the poor weather. The event was held as a celebration of the hard work that has been put into the reserve over the last few years by the Town Council, its staff and contractors, and Countrycare’s staff and volunteers.

Archery Have a Go

Archery Have a Go

The Forest Fiddlers

The Forest Fiddlers










Several charities and local organisations were present including Ongar Community Orchard, Essex Wildlife Trust, tree surgery demonstrations, Epping Hawk and Owl Sanctuary, West Essex Ramblers, Essex Ferret Welfare Society, Conservation Hedgelayers and Ongar Mums Group. The Woodford Archers provided an opportunity for people to have a go at archery. Live music was provided by Forest Fiddlers and there was a choice of refreshments from Naked Sausage and Café 2U.

People enjoying the event

People enjoying the event

The event was attended by Councillor Tony Boyce, vice-chairman of Epping Forest District Council (EFDC), County Councillor Maggie McEwen and EFDC Councillors Paul Keska, Derek Jacobs, Peter Gode and Gary Waller.

Ongar Town Council has leased the site from Essex County Council since 2007 and is working towards securing the freehold. The site has recently been registered under the Queen Elizabeth II Fields in Trust which will preserve the site in perpetuity for generations to come.

A commemorative plaque has been placed at the bottom of the steps at the main entrance from the High Street and was unveiled by Councillor Brian Surtees, vice chair of the Town Council.

The Town Council was also delighted to announce that the reserve has won the Essex Wildlife Trust’s “Living Landscapes Award” for improvement and community involvement. This provides deserved recognition for the amount of effort by Countrycare, the Town Council and its contractors which has been put into the Reserve over the last few years to develop it into the lovely site we have today. 

The site has been cleared and developed but there is still a lot of work to be done. If you would like to know more about the reserve or the council’s plans for the future, please contact your local councillor or the Town Clerk, Aimi Middlehurst, on 01277 365348 or