Have your say on our trees and green spaces

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Residents are being invited to take part in our Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting.

Views over Epping

Have your say

Epping Forest is a green district which is why it’s important to hear your views on our districts trees and green spaces.

We want to hear the issues that affect you, your family and neighbours, what is working well and what needs improving.

The meeting

  • Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting
  • Monday 12 September
  • 7pm
  • Epping Hall, St Johns Road, CM16 5JU

The result will feed into an action for the local area as well as influencing future strategy across the whole district.

Refreshment will be provided

Teddy Bears Picnic

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Come and join Countrycare for some fun outdoor activities at our Teddy Bears Picnic at Linder’s Field Nature Reserve, Buckhurst Hill on  Wednesday 31 August 2016, 12pm – 2pm – and don’t forget to bring your teddy bear with you!

Teddy Bears Picnic

Bring along a picnic and enjoy bug hunting, crafts, nature trails and more …

The reserve entrance is located on Roebuck Lane – where it meets Russell Road. The gates to the reserve are covered with brass animals, so you can’t miss them!

 

Free activities at Healthy Living Festival launch

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Thursday 30 June 2016 marks the launch of the Debden Festival of Healthy Living and we are offering you and your family free taster activity sessions from 3pm to 7pm at Debden Campsite and Conference Centre.

There will be a number of activities for children, adults, the over 50’s and the whole family to enjoy

  • a forest buggy walk
  • a lifewalk
  • Taoist Tai Chi session
  • Play in the forest
  • Family yoga
  • Orienteering
  • Mountain biking

With the longer days and warmer weather coming, there’s no better time to improve your health and wellbeing by getting active!

Try it for free

Yes! You read correctly – try all of the above for free! So why not come with your friends and family for the day, bring a picnic or enjoy our tasty BBQ? Whether your aim is to try something new or spend some quality time with your family, come along and enjoy the day with us!

Summer activities for all

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: “The event on 30 June is the perfect opportunity to showcase all of the exciting activities that will be available to all over the summer. The Council are offering activities for children, adults, the over 50’s and the whole family from 30 June – 24 July, there is something for everyone and for all abilities.”

Councillor Kane continued: “Don’t be shy, come and try something new and plan to get active this summer! Many activities are offering free first sessions too, so book now!”

Debden Festival of Healthy Living

Epping Forest present findings to Overview and Scrutiny

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Working with the council, Your area, Your council

Paul Thomson, Superintendent of Epping Forest and Judy Adams, Chairman of the Friends of Epping Forest, presented the outcome of the City of London’s recent consultation to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (7 June).

COL EppingForest

Ensuring the forests future

Forest Management costs £5 million and attracts 4.4 million visitors each year. The Friends of Epping Forest have been active for 45 years and encourage enjoyment of the Forest. They see this as the best method of ensuring its future.

Consultation

Pressure to open up the Forest for cycling, access for all and creating a safe place for visitors were among the top issues to emerge.

Maintenance of the forest including mowing and grass cutting were a main issue. The consultation found the concept of commoners’ rights and cattle grazing were mostly supported. An Introduction of fees and charges to car parks as well as speeding was also a big concern. Mr Thompson also expressed unhappiness at the granting of some recent planning applications.

Litter is an ongoing problem. 150,000 bags of rubbish are removed each year. People want to see more bins. Fly-tipping costs thousands of pounds a year. People do not want to ban commercial dog-walking. There is support for encouraging filming as a means of income generation.

Copped Hall is one historic site prompting debate about conservation. Paul Thompson and Judy Adams agreed that the Forest is not a park.

Moving forward

Horses have been part of the Forest landscape for centuries. Paul Thomson acknowledged that current licensing arrangements could be improved. He also recognised the need to look at the deer sanctuary in Theydon Bois and also advised management of the deer population is linked closely to road safety.

Following a long and detailed question and answer session, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin thanked Paul Thomson and Judy Adams for a very informative presentation.

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

 

Five free ‘Lifewalks’ in May

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May 2016 is National Walking Month and Epping Forest District Council’s Walking for Health Scheme, Lifewalks, are offering all new walkers the chance to enjoy five free walks in May with the launch of their new diary of walks. So why not sign up today?

There’s no doubt about it, walking is good for you. Great for your heart, your lungs, your muscles, bones and is excellent for your overall wellbeing!

‘Achieve your goals’

Older People’s Engagement Officer, Karen Murray said: “This scheme is for everyone, no matter your fitness levels or age. Lifewalks are short and range from 1.5 to 3 miles in distance and last from 20 – 60 minutes. They are always on good paths, so you don’t need any special clothes or shoes to take part. The walks are local and start from various locations in and around the Epping Forest district. If you want to improve your general health, improve fitness, walk for weight control, rehabilitate from a period of ill-health or even just to meet new people and discover our beautiful district, our friendly walk leaders and groups can help you achieve your goals – whilst you enjoy yourself! So why not take advantage of this special offer and sign yourself up for your first walk today!”

Options for joining

  • Pay-as-you-walk – cost £2.00 per walk, all you need do is turn up
  • Buy a Lifewalks Privilege Card – £28.50 for 6 months (entitles you to as many walks as you like)
  • Annual Privilege Card – £55.00 for 12 months (entitles you to as many walks as you like)
  • GP referral – a month of free walks

• Download a Lifewalks diary

To order a Lifewalks diary by post, call Karen Murray on 01992 564222 or email kmurray@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Teaching dogs new tricks

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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?

 

Council pioneers drone use

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Drainage, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Stories in both the national and local media published over the last week have reported us buying 2 aerial camera systems also known as drones.

This is true but some of the stories have contained inaccuracies which we would like to put right.

DJI Phantom 3 aerial camera system

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

Cabinet agreed purchase

At a meeting of Epping Forest District Councils cabinet on 11 January 2016 it was agreed to purchase 2 drones for £5,000. This includes Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training for staff. Watch the decision at cabinet.

This money came out of our ‘invest to save scheme’.

The drones purchased are DJI Phantom 3 and will be operated by our GIS team once trained. (GIS = Geographic Information System).

Saving money

We have been buying commercial photographs and videos for site surveys for over 50 years. This has included the hire of drones. Purchasing drones has many benefits that will save the council money and time. These include

  • Real-time surveys for planning purposes saving us having to purchase aerial photography for new planning developments and landscaping enforcement
  • Surveying roofs and guttering on council owned estates saving money and time on scaffolding and surveys
  • Identifying illegal waste transfer sites and previously unidentified unauthorised caravan encampments
  • Find out more on the cabinet report dated 11 January 2016

Generate  income

We are hoping the drones could generate the council income. We will be exploring the opportunities of shared use with other local authorities and public bodies. This will help to ensure we remain a low council tax authority (we have frozen our portion of council tax for the last 6 years).

A valuable tool

We would like to reassure residents that the drones will not be used for snooping on our residents but used as a valuable tool in the fight against environmental and planning abuses. We will not be looking into peoples back gardens.

Innovative use of new technology

This innovative use of new technology helps to save the taxpayer money and helps us to look after the environment in the Epping Forest district, in which we are proud to live, work and enjoy.

 

Clean for The Queen

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Councillors, Biffa representatives and council waste management staff donned gloves and brandished litter pickers and sacks as they contributed to the Clean for The Queen campaign in Loughton today.

Leader of Council Chris Whitbread and Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall helped to collect litter from the verges in Rectory Lane.

Clean for the Queen

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

Clean for The Queen

Vacuum your villages! Spruce up your cities! De-litter the land!

Clean for The Queen is a campaign to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday, which will be officially celebrated in June 2016.

Litter pick groups have been organised in Matching, Ongar, Theydon Mount and Willingale as well as by residents groups from Oakwood Hill in Loughton and Ninefields in Waltham Abbey.

Let’s take care of our environment

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “We’re committed to keeping Epping Forest district a clean and attractive place all year-round,  so we’re delighted to be supporting the Clean for The Queen campaign.”

“I know a number of local town and parish councils and residents groups are also getting involved with their own litter picks, and it’s not too late for others to join in. We’d love to help promote their work.”

“If everyone disposed of their rubbish properly we could both improve our environment and reduce this unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.”

“It’s important that everyone takes responsibility for their rubbish. Let’s take care of our local environment and keep Epping Forest a beautiful place to live, work and visit.”

 

Young volunteers help protect wildlife

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Epping Forest Youth Councillors along with young volunteers cleared 5 tons of woodland in just 6 hours during their school half term break.

Epping Forest Youth Council volunteering at Chingford Plain

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

Project Nightingale

The young volunteers worked under the guidance of The City of London and Epping Forest District Council’s Youth Engagement team to clear an area of woodland, returning it back to grassland as part of Project Nightingale, The City of London’s project working to create favourable habitats for nightingales and other songbirds. Cutting back scrub plants such as blackthorn and hawthorn, together with young tree species such as oak, birch and willow.

These plants will regrow into a thick bushes open to the sunshine. Without the scrub habitat many of Britain’s declining songbirds may be lost from the Forest forever.

The block of scrub the young volunteers worked on is one of several in the area which will be cut on rotation over the next few years. Creating a mosaic of differently aged plants with a range of heights and thicknesses.

In the last few years, several pairs of nightingales have returned to Epping Forest as a direct result of scrub management regime.

Seeing the difference

Youth Councillor Joseph Pascoe said ‘we had a great day, it was exhausting but also exhilarating, as we cut back so many trees, you could really see the difference we had made also not many people can say they had a BBQ in the forest in mid February’.

Volunteering opportunities

The day was funded by the Jack Petchey Education Fund.

To find out about volunteering opportunities, please go to;