Man fined for failing to clear nature reserve site

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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.

Walter Spradbery, Artist in War and Peace exhibition

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area

A new exhibition about Buckhurst Hill artist, Walter Spradbery, opens at Epping Forest District Museum on Saturday 21 July 2018.

Walter Spradbery exhibition

Event details

  • Where: Epping Forest District Museum, 39 – 41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • When: Saturday 21 July – Saturday 22 December
  • Time: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am – 4pm. Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Free entry: donations are gratefully received

The exhibition, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will feature Spradbery’s medals, on display for the first time, alongside many of the paintings he made, both during his time in training and on the front line in France.

It will also include work loaned from the Imperial War Museum, Peterborough Museum and material supplied by the Welcome Trust.

About Walter Spradbery

Spradbery, best known for his poster designs for London Transport, was also a committed pacifist. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery in rescuing injured comrades under intense enemy fire.

After the war, Spradbery was one of several artists commissioned to create art for the Army Medical Section of the new Imperial War Museum display which opened at the Crystal Palace in 1920. As part of the exhibition, a section of the display will be recreated, including reproductions of some of the huge artworks created by Spradbery’s friend and fellow local artist, Haydn Mackey.

Spradbery married in 1929 and lived in Buckhurst Hill with his wife, opera singer Dorothy D’Orsay. Together they held many community music and opera performances in the garden of their home, known as ‘The Wilderness’.

Spradbery also worked hard to create opportunities for people to enjoy and engage with art. He helped establish the Buckhurst Hill Community Association and the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.

Spradbery Events

To commemorate the opening of the exhibition, visit the museum on Saturday 21 July, from 11am – 4pm, for special activities including a chance to meet Walter Spradbery himself, played by historical interpreter Andrew Ashmore.

Other events include a historical walk, a talk from the exhibition curator and a celebration event at ‘The Wilderness’ site.

More information

Turn your engines off for Clean Air Day

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

Epping Forest District Council’s main focus for Clean Air Day on 21 June 2018, is to help reduce air pollution by tackling idling vehicles, particularly outside schools.

clean air day

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Risk of hefty fines

Epping Forest District Council has adopted legislation to deal with idling cars. It is now an offence to withhold information or fail to switch off your engine if requested by an authorized officer. You could be taken to court, convicted and fined up to £1,000.  Alternatively, an on the spot fixed penalty notice of £20 can be issued by authorised officers.

Air pollution

Leaving engines running while stationary is a significant source of air pollution. Combating this is particularly important in locations where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines, such as outside schools and hospitals. Not only is idling harmful to the environment but it can be harmful to the vehicle itself and your pocket – as it wastes fuel.

Modern cars no longer need to be warmed up in advance and the act of restarting the engine does not cause damage to the vehicles as it used to with older models. In fact, it can do more damage to keep a stationary vehicle idling than to switch off the engine.

Linked health issues

There are several health issues linked with poor air pollution including:

  • Increased respiratory conditions such as Asthma, coughs and bronchitis
  • Reduced birth weight of babies and premature births
  • Links to Lung Cancer
  • Increased risk of death from cardiac and respiratory issues
  • Possible links to incidence of Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and Bladder Cancer

Small changes

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Nigel Avey said: “Turning off your engine when stationary is just one of the small changes that can be made to help improve poor air quality. Thursday 21 June sees the return of Global Action Plan’s “Clean Air Day” which the Council are supporting to help increase awareness and reduce air pollution.”

“We have provided local schools with toolkits and promotional materials to help them plan their own Clean Air Day events and on the day Enforcement Officers will be in place at some school gates, to help educate those who still have their engines running while waiting for their children.”

What can I do?

Some of the other small changes you can make to improve air quality include

  • Use your feet! Leave your car at home and walk! Stick to routes away from main roads and boost your steps
  • Use public transport. If it’s too far to walk, go by bus or tube – try alternative methods
  • Car share. Is there anyone you can share your journey with?
  • Maintain your car. Having well inflated tyres and an empty boot helps use less fuel
  • Getting a new car soon? Look into alternative options such as hybrid, electric or LPG

Further information

If you would like more information on Clean Air Day and how you can be involved

Find out all about hedgehogs with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Come and learn about all things hedgehog at Epping Forest Countrycare’s annual Hedgehog Day on 30 May 2018, 11.00am – 13.00pm, at Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald.

Hedgehog day

Lots to enjoy

Learn about our spikey friends – where they live, what they eat and whether they like to party or stay in!

Make some hedgehog food for our hungry friends and create some arts and crafts inspired by the hedgehogs’ prickly looks.

Event details

  • Date: Wednesday 30 May 2018
  • Time: 11:00am – 13:00pm
  • Location: Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex, CM16 6AD
  • Cost: £3

Contact Epping Forest Countrycare for more details, on 01992 564224.

Chigwell man guilty of damaging protected tree

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Media, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

At Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 5 April 2018 Mr Vinod Kumar Pandhi of Chigwell Essex pleaded guilty to causing or permitting the cutting down a hornbeam tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged hornbeam Chigwell

Causing damage to a protected tree

September 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified that a hornbeam tree had been cut down in the garden of 12 Tomswood Road Chigwell.

The tree was protected by a Tree Preservation Order made in 2009 and no consent had been given for the work carried out.

Failure to provide details

Interviewed under caution Mr Pandhi  stated that he was unaware that the tree was protected and believed it to be causing damage to his house, although no usual investigations had been carried out to verify this.

Mr Pandhi claimed had asked workmen carrying out work in a neighbour’s garden to cut down the tree in his property, but failed to provide details of the contactors to Epping Forest District Council to enable them to carry out further investigation, with a view to also prosecuting those directly responsible for carrying out the work.

Over £1,800 in fines

Having pleaded guilty Mr Pandhi was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £813.73 and a victim surcharge of £100. The fine had been reduced by one third as a result of Mr Pandhi having pleaded guilty at the first hearing and took account of his current finances.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Countrycare Easter scavenger hunt 2018

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

Come to the Epping Forest District Council Countrycare Easter Scavenger Hunt on Wednesday 4 April 2018 11:00am to 13:00pm at Roughtalleys Wood, North Weald.

Booking is essential and costs just £3 per child.

Easter - countrycare

Come and try your hand at our wildlife riddles and quiz questions hidden in the wood and be in with a chance of winning some Easter treats!

Event details

Claypit Hill fly tip led to arrest and prosecution

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Mr Loredan Ilias of Gascoyne House, London, was ordered to pay a fine and costs amounting to £1686.81 after pleading guilty to flytipping on forest land in Claypit Hill, Waltham Abbey.

Waltham Abbey Fly tipping

Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 14 December 2017.

Found guilty

Mr IIias pleaded guilty to the offence of fly tipping paving stones, rubble and roofing material. He had failed to attend a number of hearings in 2016, leading to a warrant being issued for his arrest. Mr Ilias admitted to fly tipping from a Mercedes Sprinter van on 10 January 2016.

The Magistrates stated that it was a serious offence and a reckless act in a place of Special Scientific Interest.

Fined and prosecuted

He was ordered to pay a fine of £739 together with the Council’s prosecution costs of £724.81 and a Victim Surcharge of £73. The Magistrates also ordered Mr Ilias to pay compensation for clearance of the waste of £150 to the Corporation of London.

‘Blight on environment’

Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “Fly tipping is a selfish and criminal act and a blight on the environment. We recognise it is a growing problem across Essex but it will never be tolerated in Epping Forest and we will continue to pursue the offenders. Those convicted of breaking the law in this way can expect to receive heavy fines.”

Further information

Pair fined for damaging tree

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe of Chingford was fined £1,850 after pleading guilty to causing or permitting unauthorised work to a tree in a conservation area.

Sycamore 10 High St

Tree within a conservation area

In June, officers were notified that branches of a sycamore tree situated within the grounds of 10 High Street Roydon had been cut back, where they overhung on to the neighbouring property at number 2 High Street.

Standing within the Roydon conservation area a 6 week notice of any intended work to the tree should have been provided. Such a notice would have revealed that consent for the extent of the works would have not been granted in any event.

No checks for consent

Further investigation revealed Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe, a director of the company owning 10 High Street instructed tree surgeon Mr John McAllister to cut the branches back to the boundary.

No checks had been made to find out if the tree was protected and neither sought consent to carry out the works undertaken.

£2,430 worth of fines

Tree surgeon Mr McAllister was fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £30.

The Magistrates stated that Mrs Kelly-Howe had a greater role in the matter and was fined £1,000 ordered to pay a contribution of £750 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £100.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Nazeing Triangle improvements complete

Written on . Posted in Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Your area

Thanks to the Tesco and Groundwork’s ‘Bags of Help’ grant, the Epping Forest District Council Countrycare team and their volunteers, the Nazeing Triangle project is now complete. The site now boasts a new interpretation board, new aquatic plants and the installation of a hardened path which has significantly improved accessibility.

Interpretation board

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Showcase of wildlife and plants

With the help of volunteers and the Bags of Help grant, this area has been transformed. The final piece to the puzzle was the installation of a brand new interpretation board in September, showcasing the wildlife and plants people are likely to see at this local Wetland Nature Reserve.

Peaceful pond

The Nazeing Triangle is a peaceful pond and wetland Nature Reserve which lies in the centre of ‘Old’ or Upper Nazeing. The Nazeing Triangle is our smallest Local Nature Reserve at 0.6 hectares, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Preparing for winter

Countrycare and their volunteers have been busy preparing the site for winter, clearing the area along one of the boundary hedgerows and building a new reptile hibernaculum using rubble from the local area.

Thrilled with the transformation

Councillor Sam Kane Safer Greener  Portfolio Holder said: “We are thrilled with the transformation of the Nazeing Triangle Nature Reserve and we wouldn’t have been able to make all of these improvements without the help of Tesco and Groundwork’s ‘Bags of Help grant’, our wonderful volunteers and Countrycare team.

Thank you to everyone that has supported the work, you have ensured the Nazeing Triangle Nature Reserve is a beautiful little spot that can be enjoyed by everyone and most importantly, you have improved the environment for our local wildlife too! If you haven’t visited yet, make it a priority.”

Further information

Youth Councillors say no to N2O

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Forest Youth Councillors took to districts car parks to clean up laughing gas canisters, empty bottles of alcohol and general waste.

Along with members of the Waste Management Team and City of London Volunteer Wardens, Youth Councillors dressed in protective clothing cleaned up over 550 laughing gas canisters in Epping Forest, Traps Hill, Loughton and Cornmill Lane, Waltham Abbey.

So what is laughing gas?

The Home Office has found Nitrous Oxide (N2O) more commonly known as laughing gas, to be the second most popular recreational drug among 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales.

Nitrous oxide is not a controlled drug, and has legitimate uses in medicine and dentistry.

Under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, it is illegal to sell to under 18s when the seller believes the substance may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication.

While it is not illegal for an adult to inhale the gas, many authority’s across Britain are concerned about its use.

Raising awareness

Youth Councillors are currently conducting an on line survey in schools, aiming to identify

  • Young people’s understanding of drugs
  • What drugs they have tried
  • What made they try them
  • Peer pressure
  • Curiosity or boredom

The findings will be published as part of the Youth Council’s drug awareness project.

Youth Councillors are currently designing a poster campaign to take into their schools and raise awareness of the dangers of the laughing gas craze.

Are you aged between 11 and 24?

Understanding the risks

Youth Councillor Nina Honey said: “It is important young people understand the serious health risks the substance can pose.”

“Nitrous oxide can be very dangerous when misused. When inhaled the gas restricts oxygen getting to the brain and can cause someone to become faint or unconscious and can even cause heart attacks.”

“The amount of canisters we found whilst out and about is worrying and it shows laughing gas is a real issue for young people today. Through our drug awareness project we hope to highlight the risks and make young people aware of the damage they are doing.”

More information

For further information contact

  • Di Gilson-Butler
  • Youth Engagement Officer
  • 01992 564 365