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:

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/

 

Check hygiene ratings this Food Safety Week

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

As part of National Food Safety Week (4 – 10 June 2018), Epping Forest District Council has partnered with the Food Standards Agency, to shine a light on food safety and the team working to help ensure that the food we buy and eat is safe and honest.

Public Health team

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

We love our food, there’s simply no denying it. In fact, as a nation, we spent over £203 billion on food and drink last year alone. But the safety of our food is often something we take for granted. There are a whole host of people that work to keep food safe. The Council has a team of dedicated Environmental Health Officers whose job it is to inspect local food businesses to ensure hygiene standards are up to scratch.

The Rating Scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps people choose where to shop for food and where to eat out by giving them clear information about the businesses’ hygiene standards.

Find the sticker

There are six hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0 – urgent improvement required’ to ‘5 – very good’. Businesses are given green and black stickers for display at their premises and all ratings are published online, so people can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food. The vast majority of food businesses in and around Epping Forest are ranked generally satisfactory, good or very good.

80% rated 3 or above

80% of businesses inspected in Epping Forest received a food hygiene rating of 3 or above, under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, food vans or stalls, canteens, hotels, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and care homes.

Dedicated and hard working team

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Nigel Avey said: “We have a dedicated team that work hard to ensure that food is safe in Epping Forest so that residents and visitors can dine out with peace of mind. Research shows that food hygiene when eating out is the UK’s number one food safety concern so we are really pleased that the majority of our local food businesses hold a rating of 3 or above.”

Angela Towers, Head of the Food Hygiene Rating Team at the Food Standards Agency said: “Working in partnership with Epping Forest District Council and their expert Environmental Health Officers we are dedicated to ensuring that people can trust that the food they buy and eat is safe and honest. Our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme empowers the public to make informed decisions about where to buy and eat food, it’s also proved hugely effective in driving up standards in food businesses across the country”.

Further information

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

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.

Council tax scam warning

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.

Licensing scam

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.

Report it

If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.

Essex wide Livewell campaign launched

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Environmental health, Epping, Equalities, Food safety, Health, Loughton, Media, Museum, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Livewell, a countywide website to get Essex healthy has been launched.

Livewell campaign image

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.

Check out how to Livewell

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’.

Access a range of services over Christmas

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Arts, Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Loughton, Museum, Noise, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Playschemes, Recycling and waste, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Our building may be closed from 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 until 9am Tuesday 2 January 2018, but we are still providing a wide range of services by phone and online throughout the Christmas break.

Self serve online

Contact us

Non emergency

You can report missed bin collections, noise complaints, fly tipping, fraud, abandoned vehicles online

Emergency

If you need to report an emergency, please contact us on the below details.

  • Call 01992 564199 for housing related emergencies (loss of power, blockages, uncontainable leaks, if you are locked out of your home)
  • Call 01992 564000 for all other emergency enquiries

Your call will connect to the Mears support desk which will be manned 24/7 until the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Social media

We will be able to assist you through the council’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook from 9am until 9pm every day throughout the Christmas period.

Pay for it

You are able to pay your council tax, rent, business rates and leasehold charges via the online payment portal and by phone 24/7.

  • Pay online
  • Pay by phone 01992 564600
  • The Debden Broadway cash office will close at 4:30pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosks in the civic offices, Epping will close at 4:40pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosk in Waltham Abbey library is subject to Waltham Abbey library opening hours

Benefit payments revised dates

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.

Waste and recycling

Revised collections

  • Collections due Tuesday 26 December 2017 will be collected on Wednesday 27 December 2017
  • Collections due Wednesday 27 December 2017 will be collected on Thursday 28 December 2017
  • Collections due Thursday 28 December 2017 will be collected on Friday 29 December 2017
  • Collections due Friday 29 December 2017 will be collected on Saturday 30 December 2017

Your usual collection dates will resume on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Recycling REAL Christmas trees

Leave your real Christmas trees with your food and garden waste throughout January 2018.

Remove the pot, all decorations and if over 6ft, cut in half to ensure safe collection. We are unable to recycle your fake Christmas trees, so please leave us real trees only!

Special collections

Our special collections service will close at 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and will resume at 9am on 2 January 2018.

Lost or found dogs

If you have lost or found a dog within the area, please contact us on the below number. Calls are monitored and handled by the Waltham Forest dog team.

  • Call 07815 512833

Car parks

Free weekend parking in December! All of our car parks are free on weekends throughout December and bank holidays.

Epping Forest District Museum

Epping Forest District Museum is closed from 4pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopens 10am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Anti-litter campaign cleans up for third year

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Energy efficiency, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

An anti-litter campaign across Essex, Kent and Suffolk #BinIt has resulted in a reduction of litter for the third year in a row, an amazing drop in litter of 43%.

Don't toss it - #BINIT

Littering is a criminal offence

The Love Essex campaign, run by the Cleaner Essex Group, is made up of local authorities and local business partners throughout Essex.

This year’s Don’t toss it – #BinIt campaign aims to remind people that:

  • Littering is a criminal offence
  • It comes with a fixed penalty notice from £75
  • And a maximum fine on conviction in court of £2,500

Spreading the message

The ‘Don’t toss it – #BinIt’ message has appeared throughout Essex on

  • Refuse vehicles
  • Bus shelters
  • Petrol pumps
  • 86 McDonald’s restaurants
  • 15 KFC restaurants
  • Spread to 2.4 million social media accounts

This has so far seen an average drop in litter of 43% and helped to reduce branded fast food litter by 63 per cent, in the areas monitored, and independently verified by Keep Britain Tidy.

Tackling litter

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “Litter is an issue that costs around £17 million across Essex. Not only does this take resources away from other much needed council services it also damages our environment.”

“It is important for people to remember that littering is a criminal offence that comes with a maximum fine of up to £2,500.”

“As a community we need to come together and tackle this important issue by behaving responsibly and reporting incidents so we can investigate further and take action.”

Working together

Cherry Lewis-Taylor, McDonald’s franchisee added: “I believe that working together and campaigning against littering at our restaurant locations helps remind people to dispose of their litter responsibly.”

“Between McDonald’s and KFC’s participating restaurants and drive-thru’s, we have reached millions of customers. Adding this to the number of people who saw the other campaign material, including social media, it is likely that the Don’t toss it … #Binit message will have been seen at least 6 million times.”

Do the right thing

Huw James, Director of Kefco, the KFC Franchisee in Essex commented: “I am proud that we at KFC can work with councils and other business partners to actively promote that people should do the right thing and bin their litter. As a business, we are committed to looking at ways we can help reduce the amount of litter that ends up on our streets.”

Report it

If there are large amounts of litter in your street or fly-tipped rubbish near where you live, let us know

Please give as much detail as possible so we can investigate what further action can be taken.

The Freezer Fairy is coming

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Food safety, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

The Food Standards Agency’s Freezer Fairy is coming to the Epping Forest district to leave tips on how to pre-prepare foods, how and what foods can be frozen and the best way to defrost foods safely.

She will also leave handy tools like a portions planner and recipe tips for those delicious leftovers.

Freezer Fairy says ...

The Freezer Fairy advises

  1. Freeze up to the use by date
  2. Plan portion sizes
  3. Separate raw foods when shopping
  4. Cook in advance and freeze
  5. Label food in the freezer

You can find all this information and more from the Freezer Fairy, helping you to have a less stressful and wasteful Christmas.

Change wasteful behaviour

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been looking at the issue of food waste and enabling consumers to help change wasteful behaviours. In the UK we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, most of which could have been eaten. The average cost to each household for wasting this food is £470 a year.

The FSA has set out to educate people on reducing waste and increasing safe freezer use.

A happy and a healthy Christmas

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “At this time of year, when residents might be cooking for more people than normal, it’s helpful for them to be reminded how they can use their freezer most effectively and how to defrost food properly.”

“I encourage residents to follow the FSA Freezer Fairy’s advice. Not only could it save you time and money but it’ll help ensure everyone has both a happy and a healthy Christmas.”

 

#OurDay the people behind your local services

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Countrycare, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Loughton, Media, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Tuesday 15 November 2016 is #OurDay. #OurDay is a yearly tweetathon for local government to show what it does in a typical day.

Here are just a few of the people behind your valued Epping Forest District Council services.

Karen & her lifewalkers set off from Clayton Hill on a mild autumn morning

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