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.

Recycle your real Christmas tree

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Recycling your real Christmas tree in January this year really couldn’t be easier!

  • Remove the tree from the pot or stand

  • Remove all decorations and remove any artificial snow

  • If the tree is bigger than 6ft tall, saw in half

  • Place the tree by your green wheelie bin on your food and garden waste collection day

Collected throughout January

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: ”We have made recycling your Christmas tree as easy as we possibly can. It’s simple, just leave your tree to be collected with your food and garden waste bins, following the four step instructions. If you are unsure of the date of your food and garden waste collection, check using our online tool, all you need is your postcode. Trees will be collected throughout January 2017.

Great for the environment

He added: ”Our food and garden waste is composted to produce a high quality soil improver which is used on farms to enhance the soil, helping farmers produce high quality veggies. It’s great for the environment and benefits us too!”

Local Plan myth busting

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Don’t be misled – check all the draft Local Plan facts for yourself on the official Local Plan website” says Councillor John Philip after hearing reports that Epping Forest District Council wants to build all over the Green Belt.

North Weald Local Plan exhibition

Worried by false claims

Councillor John Philip, Cabinet Portfolio Holder responsible for Planning was shocked to find some residents are being unnecessarily worried by false claims about the draft Local Plan.

He continued: “The draft Local Plan is a complex and detailed document. It identifies potential areas for development. Nowhere does it say we are building all over the Green Belt or taking away all our open spaces. Anyone suggesting we are must have fundamentally misunderstood the Plan.”

Residents can find the answers to many questions on the FAQ section of the website. Council staff have been meeting residents to talk about the draft Local Plan at a series of public exhibitions around the district.

Misconceptions

Among the misconceptions some residents have are

  • New council housing

Epping Forest District Council plans to build all the new housing itself –  not true.

Epping Forest District Council is the Planning Authority. It does have a modest council house building programme but the vast majority of new homes will be built by private developers. The Local Plan would help the Council encourage private developers to submit planning applications for the most suitable locations.

  • Build tower blocks

Epping Forest District Council wants to build tower blocks – not true.

It is true that higher density developments take less land to build upon and a balance needs to be struck between how much land is used and the amount of new homes built on it but tower blocks are not on the table.

  • Car parks

Epping Forest District Council wants to take away car parks – not true.

The draft Local Plan identifies local car parks as potential areas for development. Car parks outside the district have managed to make use of the land for new homes while keeping all the car parking spaces.

The Council has confirmed no parking spaces would be lost if car parks were developed for housing with other types of parking such as multi-storey or under-croft.

  • Infrastructure

There is no plan for infrastructure – not true.

Chapter six of the draft Local Plan is devoted to infrastructure and there is a Draft Infrastructure Plan which identifies where there is a need for provision to be made.

Further work on detailed proposals to make this provision will be undertaken between now and the next stage of plan making which is the publication of the Pre-submission Plan next year. This is the normal process for developing infrastructure plans.

  • Green Belt and open spaces

Epping Forest District Council wants to do away with the Green Belt and open spaces – not true.

The Draft Local Plan seeks to identify potential sites for meeting the District’s identified housing need of 11,400 homes over the Plan period. Wherever possible, the Council has sought to propose allocations within existing settlements and to make best use of Brown Field (previously developed) land.

Unfortunately, there is not enough such land available within the district and the council has therefore identified some managed open space and Green Belt land.

But the Local Plan is still a draft. The consultation is an opportunity for local people to agree or disagree with the proposals and to provide evidence to support their views. The Council will consider all comments made before revising the Plan, publishing it and then submitting it for examination by a Government Inspector.

  • Essex County Council

Essex County Council must approve the Epping Forest District Local Plan – not true.

Essex County Council and many other organisations are consulted on the Draft Local Plan. Approval or rejection of the draft Local Plan is made by central-government appointed planning inspectors following an Examination in Public or EiP.

The inspectors will reject the Plan if they do not think the Council has made provision in the plan to meet the housing and jobs requirements which have been identified in the evidence.

  • Brown Field land

Green Belt agricultural land becomes Brown Field when it is ploughed – not true.

It may look brown but in planning terms it is still part of the Green Belt.

  • Minds made up

You have made up your minds. It won’t change – not true.

A look at the previous Issues and Options consultation shows the council does listen. The new draft Local Plan relies heavily on feedback from such previous studies. The Draft Local Plan is the Council’s best attempt at identifying the preferred sites for growth and draft planning policies based on the evidence it has now.

If the council gets new evidence or information through the consultation, this can be used to update and amend the Plan. Opinions are not enough. We need facts and evidence.

  • Deadline

The deadline for responses is 1 December – not true.

The deadline for responses is 5pm on Monday 12 December 2016.

Exhibition photos

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

It’s a two-way conversation and we are listening

John Phillip added: “These are just a few of the things we have heard. It is therefore all the more important that people fact check on the official website. This is a real consultation. It’s a two-way conversation and we are listening.”

He concluded: “Some people have told me I’ve already made up my mind and the draft Plan is set in stone. It is not.”

“I know many people hold different and valid points of view. The most important thing is to stick to the facts and make your voice heard. The best way you can do that is online.”

“If online consultation is not for you, you can complete a paper questionnaire for return to Freepost EFDC LOCAL PLAN RESPONSE or you can email LDFconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.”

 

Take to your bikes this winter

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

As the leaves turn brown and the dark days and nights creep in, Lee Valley Regional Park – in cooperation with Epping Forest District Council – will be running a series of enjoyable, weekly Cycling For Health bike rides this wintertime, encouraging visitors to get outdoors, get fit and stay healthy on just two wheels whilst enjoying the park.

The first two-hour, guided bike ride of the series begins this week on Wednesday 2 November, departing from Fishers Green Car Park in Waltham Abbey at 10.00. Meeting points for subsequent rides include Chingford Plain, Nazeing’s Clayton Hill Country Park and the London in Bloom 2016 award winning site Gunpowder Park, recently honoured with gold level scores and named ‘Country Park of the Year’.

Cycling Back of group

Cyclists lucky enough to own a bike will need to pay just £3.50 to join one of the 20 group rides scheduled until the end of March. Riders eager to join but without wheels are welcome to hire a helmet and bike for just £7.00 per person which includes the ride fee.

Matt Ewings, Cycling Development Officer at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said:

“The Cycling for Health programme provides lots of opportunities to not only get outdoors and get fit, but to meet new people and discover new cycle routes throughout the park. Even if the weather is a little grey and wet, cyclists will enjoy the park’s varied landscape and ever active wildlife. We hope the programme encourages our new and regular visitors to cycle in the beautiful park.”

The park will also host a special Bike Maintenance Workshop at Gunpowder Park from 9.30 until 15.00 on Wednesday 23 November, offering cyclists expert advice and tuition on how to look after themselves and their bikes. The two-hour indoor workshop will include bike safety checks, guidance on how to change a wheel’s inner tube, demonstrations on brake and gear adjustment and tutoring on the upkeep of a bike’s drive chain.

Participants at the workshop will then set off for a rewarding two-hour ride to explore the surrounding area and stop off for lunch at a local café on the route. Places for this special event are limited and booking is essential – cyclists are advised to secure their place in advance for

the price of £13.50 per person. Riders attending the workshop will also receive a complimentary bike puncture repair kit.

Covering distances between 10-15km, every group ride has been categorised into either an easy, medium or hard difficulty level taking into account the route’s gradient and will also venture across a variety of ground terrains such as tarmac, solid earth and redgrow. In addition to discovering new cycle routes, participants can also take advantage of the session’s rest break to refuel and meet their fellow riders.

Cycling offers numerous health benefits for riders, young and old, regardless of experience or difficulty. Hopping onto a bike for just one hour a day can burn up to approximately 650 calories – the equivalent of two large slices of pizzas or a bowl of luxury ice cream.

In addition to keeping riders fit, cycling can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease – one of the UK’s biggest killers taking over 160,000 lives a year – by up to 50%, whilst improving mental health and wellbeing.

To book your place, visit www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/cyclingforhealth or call 01992 564226 for more information.

Local Plan consultation opens

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The public consultation for Epping Forest’s draft Local Plan is live.

We will be taking your views on the draft Local Plan from 31 October through to 12 December 2016.

Planning Our Future

The Local Plan will guide the future growth of the Epping Forest district to 2033.

The Planning Our Future website is a one stop shop for you to find all the information about the draft Local Plan and what it means for Epping Forest district, as well as a quick and easy way for you to provide us with your feedback.

I want your views

Councillor John Philip Planning Policy Portfolio Holder said: “The draft Local Plan will be the blueprint for the development and conservation within this area. It will guide the location of new housing, employment and infrastructure all the way up to 2033.”

“I need to hear from you. Public consultation on this draft runs from 31 October through to 12 December. You can find all the information you need online.”

A great place to live

Councillor Philip ended: “Tell me what you think and more importantly tell me why you think it. I need good solid reasons that we can use when we go before the planning inspector for our approval.”

“Epping Forest is a great place to live. With your help we can keep it that way.”

Read more

 

Award for Copse restoration team

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Media, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Forest Countrycare together with Sheering Parish Council have won the Essex Wildlife Trust Living Landscapes Award for their work restoring and managing The Copse in Sheering.

Kevin Mason receives the award

Countryside Assistant Kevin Mason accepted the award on behalf of the partnership during the Essex Wildlife Trust’s annual general meeting Saturday 10 September 2016.

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

Essex Wildlife Trust Living Landscapes Award

Essex Wildlife Trust recognised the valued contribution towards Living Landscapes in Essex for being

  1. Good for Wildlife
  2. Good for People and the Community
  3. Good for the Local Economy

Sheering Copse

The Copse (a small wood) in Sheering forms an important link in a chain of woodlands linking Epping Forest with Hatfield Forest.

The site was an open field until the 1950’s and 1960’s when it was planted with a mixture of woodland trees. It was left unmanaged for 48 years until Sheering Parish Council invited Epping Forest Countrycare and their volunteers to manage the site in 2014.

They were tasked with removing fallen trees and making the site safe. Paths were cleared and dangerous trees were removed. An open woodland glade was created using wildflower seeds after removing 30 Scots Pine trees and a lot of discarded rubbish.

This award is their award

Local Ward Councillor and Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller said: “What great news! This is now the 6th site in the Epping Forest district to receive the award.”

“Of course this would not have been possible without the enthusiastic and willing band of volunteers who turn up in both the rain and sunshine to help protect the landscapes and wildlife we love – this award is very much their award!”

6 sites

There are now 6 sites in the Epping Forest district that have received a Living Landscapes Award

  1. Linder’s Field LNR, Buckhurst Hill
  2. North Weald Common LNR, North Weald
  3. Bobbingworth Nature Reserve, Moreton
  4. Jubilee Nature Reserve, Ongar
  5. Swaines Green, Epping
  6. Sheering Copse, Sheering

 

Rutting season has begun

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Motorists, dog walkers and visitors are advised to be aware that the deer mating season, also known as the rutting season, has begun.

Wild animals (deer) road sign

Rutting season

The rutting season starts late September and peaks mid-October, during the season male deer, or bucks become less aware of their surroundings.

They can be highly aggressive as they are full of testosterone as they attempt to fight off rivals to attract as many females as possible. This makes them less aware of dangers around them, such as cars and bikes on the roads.

Be aware

Councillor Gary Waller, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport said: “Throughout the rutting season, drivers should take great care because there are large numbers of deer about, and sadly people have lost their lives not long ago in our area when cars collided with them at this time of year.”

“Remember that deer may be close at hand even if there aren’t trees on both sides of the road. Deer often move in groups, so if you see one, there are likely to be others following and they may leap out without warning.”

Motorists

Accidents on the roads involving deer increase at this time of year and drivers should be extra vigilant where there are deer warning signs and slow down when driving through the forest.

Dog walkers

Dogs should be kept on a lead. It is important to keep disturbance of the deer to a minimum and dog owners should be aware that deer can feel threatened by dogs and may also disrupt the deer breeding pattern.

Walkers

Walkers are advised to keep at least 50m away from deer, never get in between 2 deer and avoid feeding or photographing them at close range.

 

First look of our draft Local Plan

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Housing, Licensing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Residents and councillors have their first chance to view an advance version of the draft Local Plan before Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting on 6 October 2016.

Website launch infographic

The plan, available to view on the Cabinet agenda from 27 September, is subject to change at Cabinet and the meeting of Full Council on 18 October 2016. Only once agreed with any further amendments at Full Council will the draft be ready for public consultation from Monday 31 October 2016.

First chance to see

Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip said: “This is everyone’s first chance to see what the Plan for consultation will look like but it is important to remember that things could still change between now and the end of October. It won’t be finalised until all councillors have had their final say at Full Council.”

“However, by getting this early draft out a month before the official consultation starts, we are ensuring everyone has as much time as possible to consider the issues before the deadline for responses on 12 December 2016. We don’t want your views yet – not until the draft plan is finalised, but we are looking for as much feedback as we can possibly get once the consultation starts on 31 October 2016.”

Consultation website

A special consultation website has been created to support the Local Plan consultation process. It has been designed to make consultation feedback as simple and straightforward as possible.

Epping Forest District Council is also preparing a leaflet for district-wide delivery to households and businesses in the next few weeks to encourage feedback, as well as holding exhibitions, placing adverts in the local press, handing information cards out at railway stations and sending frequent reminders out on social media.

Local town and parish councils are helping the district council with articles in local magazines, posters on noticeboards and more social media.

Everyone’s Local Plan

John Philip said: “This is everyone’s Local Plan. It is the plan for our future, the future of our children and the future of our grandchildren. It will guide development across the district including where to build new homes and employment for a growing population right up to 2033.”

“It will also seek to protect all the most important things we love and cherish about our district including natural spaces and the Green Belt. Please get involved. Follow the process and give us your feedback.”

Local Plan infographics

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

 

Explore the life of a hedgehog

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

What’s small, round, brown and covered in spines? A hedgehog of course!

Bring your kids to our Hedgehog Day on Wednesday 1 June to learn about one of Britain’s most familiar wild mammals with the Epping Forest Countrycare team.

Hedgehog day 2016 poster

Hedgehog day

  • When – Wednesday 1 June 2016 11am to 1pm
  • Where – Linder’s Field, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5QN
  • Cost – £3 per child
  • Booking – call 01992 564224 to book a place

Come and explore the life of a hedgehog

Enjoy some hedgehog inspired games, learn how to make your garden more hedgehog friendly and what sort of food will encourage them to visit. Hedgehog day is aimed at 4 to 11 year olds.

Find out about Hedgehogs

 

Teaching dogs new tricks

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Teaching dog owners how to handle and care for their dog is the aim of the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme.

13 dogs including labrador, border collie and a curly coat retriever passed different levels of awards at Thornwood Village Hall on Sunday 24 April 2016.

  • Gold award 7 dogs and their handlers took part and 4 teams passed
  • Silver award 4 dogs and their handlers took part and all 4 teams passed
  • Bronze award 8 dogs and their handlers took part and 5 teams passed

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

Fun way to train your dog

Animal warden Lyn Cook said: “Good dog behaviour and obedience is important. The Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Schemes is a fun way to train your dog and learn how to keep them happy and healthy.”

“Microchipping your dog became law on 6 April 2016. Dog owners can be fined up to £500 if their dog isn’t microchipped by the time it’s 8 weeks old. A microchip would help reunite owners with their dog if they were lost, found hurt, or even stolen.”

Want to know more?