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?


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

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

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

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Community, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

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;

Green volunteers maintain district’s beauty

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The amount of time local people give to volunteering for Countrycare, the council’s Countryside Management Service, increased by 10% last year up to near record levels.

Countrycare volunteers at Bobbingworth

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

A total of 739 days of voluntary work were given in 2015 this equates to 4,434 hours donated. In financial terms at a rate of £7 per hour this has saved the council £31,038. 55 people volunteered during the year including 8 people who were new to volunteering. Work is carried out in all conditions whatever the weather throughout the year.

52 tasks have been completed at 20 different sites across the district. Chigwell Row Wood and Roughtalleys Wood in North Weald were visited the most often with 7 visits each. In 2015 the Countrycare team have worked with

  • 6 Parish and Town Councils
  • Essex Wildlife Trust
  • Woodland Trust
  • Harlow District Council

Making a difference in their local community

As well as routine maintenance of the Reserves they have replaced all of the benches and repaired fencing in Roughtalleys Wood, installed new steps to make access to the site easier at Weald Common, constructed a boardwalk at Linders Field, Buckhurst Hill and constructed and installed bat boxes at Bobbingworth and bird boxes at Norton Heath.

The new Community Orchard for Loughton was cleared and a variety of new trees planted by the volunteers. They also carried out wildflower surveys at all of the Countrycare reserves.

Countrycare is very appreciative of the work and effort put in by its band of volunteers in all weathers and has tried to make the work interesting and varied throughout the year. Indeed 5 volunteers attended over 40 of our tasks in the last calendar year.

A great volunteering opportunity

Councillor Gary Waller, Cabinet member with responsibility for Countrycare said: “We’re so grateful to our Countrycare volunteers who donate their time to ensure Epping Forest’s green spaces are maintained, as well as working hard to provide habitats for an abundance of wildlife.”

“Epping Forest Countrycare offers great volunteering opportunities, meeting every Thursday come rain or shine, with transport arranged so anyone can join in. If you’re interested in being outdoors, keeping fit and making a difference in your community, as well as socialising with likeminded people, get in touch.”

Get involved

Countrycare can tackle more ambitious and challenging management work on the 9 Local Nature Reserves and other Local Wildlife Sites because of the support, experience, dedication and support of its volunteers.

Interested in becoming a Countrycare volunteer?

Find out how you can get involved