Your rubbish, your responsibility

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

Fly-tipping in Essex is draining more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year.

#CrimeNotToCare

Partnership working

This week, Love Essex, a partnership of councils, businesses and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is launching its #CrimeNotToCare campaign to inform residents they could unwittingly end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine, if a rogue trader dumps their waste illegally.

”Your rubbish is your responsibility”

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “We need the public to understand their rubbish is their responsibility and they must do the right thing with it. Giving it to a man with a van who offers to get rid of it cheaply could prove costly for people and result in them getting a criminal record.”

Incidents on the rise

In the Epping Forest district there were 2,384  incidents in 2016 to 2017, a significant rise from the previous year’s figures of 1,944. The number of prosecutions of residents where fly-tipped waste has been traced back to them is also on the rise.

Successful prosecutions

A man was recently fined £461 and ordered to pay £758 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to failing his ‘duty of care’, at Chelmsford Magistrates Court. The Loughton resident had allowed a man who knocked at his door to take 40 black sacks away for £70 cash, without checking he was authorised to transport the waste – rules he was unaware of.

The rubbish was then fly-tipped in a garage area in Loughton and traced back to the resident.

”Important campaign for our country”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton added: “#CrimeNotToCare is an important campaign for our country and we are delighted that Epping Forest District Council as part of Love Essex, is partnering with us.

“There are almost a million fly-tipping incidents in England every year and cleaning it all up costs us £50million a year. It blights communities and our countryside and is a menace.”

Seek advice

Ensure you don’t fall foul of the law, visit www.recycleforessex.com/crimenottocare for advice.

Top tips to dispose of waste correctly

  1. If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a permit. Check their credentials and vehicle details here
  2. Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning
  4. Protect yourself by being careful with your waste. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops

Report fly-tipping

Roydon man fined for illegal tree felling

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Licensing, Media, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Prosecutions, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Mr Paul Hayden of Old house land, Roydon was fined a total of £3,199 after illegally cutting down trees protected by tree preservation orders (TPO’s).

Reckless actions

On 6 July at Chelmsford Magistrates Court Mr Hayden pleaded guilty to cutting down 2 oak trees, 2 Hawthorn trees and willfully damaging another Hawthorn, all were protected by Woodland Tree Preservation Orders in a conservation area.

Mr Hayden told the magistrates he had occupied the property for 26 years before buying in it 2016 but did not instruct his solicitor to carry out usual conveyancing searches.

He cut down the trees to clear a riding path for his daughter to avoid the horses eating acorns, which he said are found to be poisonous to them.

£3,199 worth of fines

The Magistrates considered his actions to have been reckless but not for monetary gain and implemented fines of £400 for each tree cut down and £250 for the damaged Hawthorn. He will have to plant replacement trees.

Mr Hayden has also been ordered to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £1,309 and a victim surcharge of £40 making a total of £3,199.

More information

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

Do you know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Housing, Media, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

“If you know or suspect someone is committing fraud you should report them straight away” urges Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra.

Fraud affects everyone. Money stolen by housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud or business rates fraud is depriving our public services of the vital resources they need.”

Know a cheat in your street?

Report someone you think is committing fraud

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – someone who has committed a social housing fraud by

  • illegally sub-letting
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Council Tax fraud – someone who gets a Council Tax discount by falsely

  • stating the property is empty
  • claiming they live alone
  • claiming they are a student
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital/property in excess of the limit

Business rates fraud – a person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely

  • claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to

Not a victimless crime

Cllr Mohindra said: “Fraud is not a victimless crime. Don’t think that reporting benefit fraud is wrong or underhand. If a fraudster commits fraud in the Epping Forest district we will use the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize and confiscate their assets.”

We need your help

“We constantly look for fraud but no matter how hard we try, we cannot do it alone – we need your help” said Councillor Mohindra.

“Please tell us if you suspect someone is committing fraud by filling in our online form or by calling our fraud investigation team on 01992 564444.”

Loughton men prosecuted for fly tipping

Written on . Posted in Community, Environmental health, Loughton, Media, Our countryside, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

2 Loughton men were fined a combined sum of £2,788.38 after pleading guilty to fly-tipping in 2 separate cases in Loughton.

Case 1 – Dominic Bennett

Dominic Bennett of Colson Road, Loughton was caught on CCTV dumping a fridge freezer on a patch of grass in Bushfields, Loughton. Our Environment & Neighbourhoods team were made aware of the fly tipping on 25 October 2016.

Mr Bennett could have paid a fixed penalty of £200 and avoid prosecution proceedings, but he decided not to pay the penalty. Mr Bennett pleaded guilty to fly tipping at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 6 July 2017. He was ordered to pay a fine of £320, as well as the council’s prosecution costs of £1,170.52 together with a victim surcharge of £32. Total fine of £1,522.52.

Fly tipping Prosecution Mr Bennett

Case 2 – James Leach

We were made aware of fly tipped materials in a garage area in Chequers Road, Loughton on 10 November 2016. The materials were traced back to James Leach of Harvey Gardens, Loughton.

Mr Leach admitted he had asked a person who knocked on his door to remove 40 black sacks for £70 cash in hand.

Mr Leach was fined £461 and ordered to pay £758.86 for the councils prosecution costs together with a victim surcharge of £46. Total fine of £1,265.86.

Fly tipping Prosecution Mr Leach

Paid the price

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “It’s vital when you’re disposing of waste that you do it responsibly. Mr Leach failed to check the man he used was licensed to carry out the job and he ultimately paid the price. To avoid ending up in the same situation always remember to Check Challenge and Record.”

Check, challenge, record

Getting rid of some rubbish? If you’re using a private contractor always ensure you check, challenge & record.

Find out more on GOV.UK waste duty of care.

Check

  • Always check that the company or person you are intending to give your waste to is authorised to take it
  • Ask for their waste carriers registration details
  • Telephone the Environment Agency to check the public register on 03708 506 506

Challenge

  • Always ask for their details and what will happen to your waste
  • Ask yourself – Is it a good idea to employ somebody who has cold called offering to remove waste before you have checked their details
  • Trust your instincts. If in doubt, don’t give them your waste

Record

  • Always record the details of who you give your waste to and any vehicles involved. Legal waste operators will be happy to cooperate
  • Householders must make reasonable checks and businesses who produce commercial waste must keep waste transfer notes to comply with their waste duty of care

Council 27 July 2017

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Democracy, Grants, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our attractions, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

In a sombre council meeting on 27 July 2017 tributes were paid to current Councillor Gary Waller and 3 former councillors who passed away recently.

Gary Waller 1945-2017

Council remembers Gary Waller

Council Chairman David Stallan and Council Leader Chris Whitbread led emotional tributes to Councillor Gary Waller who passed away just a few days earlier.

Gary Waller was one of the most active and senior members of Epping Forest District Council, holding one of the most responsible cabinet roles as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder. So sudden was his passing that his reports still featured on the council agenda.

A former MP with a wealth of experience, good humour, and friends across the council, councillors offered their heartfelt condolences to all he knew and loved.

Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright

In a sombre council meeting, councillors also fondly remembered former councillors Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright who all passed away in recent weeks. Councillor Stallan thanked all those who spoke so movingly in memory of ‘4 great councillors’.

Good progress reported to councillors

Council Leader Chris Whitbread and fellow members of the cabinet reported on a range of recent successes.

Reports included

  • Epping Forest Shopping Park
  • Tourism website and conference
  • Fly tipping prosecutions
  • Progress on a new leisure centre for Waltham Abbey following the letting of a new leisure centre management contract with Places for People
  • MiLife mental health and awareness programme for school children
  • Grant aid to 11 local organisations totalling £29,667
  • Updating information on the draft Local Plan
  • Council CCTV cameras helping the police

Council housing safety

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou also provided councillors with extensive information and reassurance on the safety of local council housing.

There are no high-rise council properties in Epping Forest and very few with any form of cladding (checks suggest this cladding is safe). All council properties are low enough to be reached by Essex Fire and Rescue vehicle platforms. Councillors were invited to attend future meetings to satisfy themselves of the fire safety measures and procedures in place.

Annual reports

Annual reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Governance Committee were also noted along with the council’s anti-fraud and corruption policy.

Know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Every year thousands of pounds of your money is stolen by cheaters, money that should be used to improve your local community.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Report fraud

Know a cheat in your street?

Right now, fraudsters are cheating us all. Here’s how they do it …

Housing tenancy fraud

Someone who has committed a social housing fraud by

  • illegally sub-letting
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Council Tax fraud

Someone who gets a Council Tax discount by falsely

  • stating the property is empty
  • claiming they live alone
  • claiming they are a student
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital/property in excess of the limit

Business rates fraud

  • A person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to

Have you spotted a cheater?

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “Have you spotted a cheater? Tell us immediately. Your report will be treated in the strictest confidence and can be given anonymously.”

“Fraud is not a victimless crime. It is taking money from honest taxpayers. Every penny lost to fraud means we have less money to spend on providing the services you want.”

“Spot the cheater and don’t let them get away with fraud!”

Christmas contact information

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, Local plan / planning our future, 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

We are closed from 5pm on 23 December 2016 until 9am on 3 January 2017. There are still ways you can get in touch with us when you need to over the Christmas holiday period.

Christmas message from Chairman Jeane Lea

Report it

Report it online (non-emergency) – report missed bin, noise, flytipping, fraud, abandoned vehicle, etc.

Report by email (non-emergency) – emails sent here will not be looked at until 3 January 2017.

Phone (emergency) 01992 564000

Housing repairs (emergency) 01992 564199

Social media

We monitor our main Twitter and Facebook accounts every day.

Pay it

Pay online 24/7 – pay Council Tax, rent, business rates, leasehold charges, etc.

Pay by phone 24/7 01992 564600

Our Debden cash office & Epping kiosk will close at 4:30pm on 23 December 2016 and reopen 9am on 3 January 2017.

Our Waltham Abbey library kiosk is subject to Waltham Abbey library opening hours.

Waste and recycling

Christmas 2016 revised collection dates

  • Collection date Tuesday 27 December 2016 revised to Wednesday 28 December 2016
  • Collection date Wednesday 28 December 2016 revised to Thursday 29 December 2016
  • Collection date Thursday 29 December 2016 revised to Friday 30 December 2016
  • Collection date Friday 30 December 2016 revised to Saturday 31 December 2016

Recycling real Christmas trees

Leave your real Christmas trees with your food and garden waste in January 2017. Remove the pot, all decorations and if over 6ft, cut in half to ensure safe collection.

Special collections

Our special collections service closes at 5pm on 23 December 2016 and resume at 9am on 3 January 2017.

Lost or found dogs

Call 07815 512833 weekdays from 7am to 9pm, weekends and bank holidays from 10am to 7pm.

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 22 December 2016 and reopens 10am on 3 January 2017.

Housing benefit payments revised dates

  • Payments due 26 December 2016 will be now be available in bank accounts around 23 December 2016
  • Payments due 02 January 2017 will now be available in bank accounts around 29 December 2016

Normal payment cycle will resume from 9 January 2017.

 

Don’t get conned this Christmas

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Licensing, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, have produced 10 top tips for a safe festive season online.

Don't get conned out of Christmas

10 top tips for a safe festive season online

  1. Online shopping
    If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality or doesn’t even exist. Always check payment pages are secure, and log out when you’ve finished shopping online.
  2. Auction fraud
    When making a purchase from an auction website, use insured payment methods like PayPal and never do a bank transfer to people you don’t know. Do all you can to check the seller or buyer are authentic. And look out for fake goods: they’re illegal and cost livelihoods.
  3. Ticket fraud
    Buying gig or event tickets as a gift, or for yourself? To avoid fraud, buy only from official sources, and never pay by direct transfer.
  4. Holiday fraud
    Whether you’re planning a break at Christmas or next year, make sure the holiday or flight is genuine by researching it thoroughly, and check travel agents for an ABTA / ATOL number.
  5. Scam emails
    Scam emails, calls, texts and posts are getting cleverer and you’re bound to get some over Christmas. Think twice before you get talked into anything, however busy you are.
  6. Passwords
    Passwords that are easy to guess, that you use for more than one account or that you share with others, are a no-no!
  7. Cyber crime
    Secure Wi-Fi is vital for your privacy. At home, check your router security settings. Out and about, never use free Wi-Fi hotspots when what you’re doing is private.
  8. Subscription fraud
    Don’t sign up for ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trial goods without thoroughly reading the small print. You could be signing up for massive direct debits.
  9. Malware
    Don’t open attachments or click on links in festive (or any other) emails you’re not expecting, as they could be scams. And be careful with ecards as they can be fraudulent too.
  10. Anti-virus software
    And we don’t mean coughs and colds! Always have internet security (antivirus) software and apps switched on and updated.

Posters

View posters in a slideshow by clicking on a poster below and then click start slideshow

A favourite time of year for criminals

Councillor Gary Waller Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder said: “Christmas should be a happy time, but sadly this is a favourite time of year for criminals. We all need to think about our online activity, especially when buying goods over the internet.”

“Action Fraud has put together a top 10 list of tips to keep you safe this Christmas. They cover everything from buying goods online, booking tickets for a show, as well as online holiday fraud and subscription fraud when signing-up for free or low cost trial goods.”

Stop online crime coming to town

Councillor Gary Waller ended: “I urge you to take a look for yourself, the advice is unbiased and easy to follow. By working together we can hopefully stop online crime coming to town this Christmas.”

Report fraud to Action Fraud

 

#BinIt or get a £75 fine

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Local business, Media, Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

People who throw litter from their vehicles or drop litter on the streets can expect a £75 fine.

Love Essex group

Don’t toss it – #BinIt

Epping Forest District Council has joined up with other councils and businesses across Essex as part of the Love Essex Don’t toss it – #BinIt campaign launched on Monday 15 August 2016 to highlight the problem of littering.

According to Keep Britain Tidy almost a third of motorists admit to throwing rubbish out of their vehicle window.* The ‘Don’t toss it – #BinIt’ campaign warns litter offenders, both drivers and pedestrians, that their anti-social behaviour comes with a fine of at least £75.

It costs £17 million a year

“It costs £17 million a year to keep Essex clean and tidy,” says Councillor Will Breare-Hall (Environment Portfolio Holder), “That’s £17 million which could be spent on other initiatives in our communities. People know what they should be doing with their litter – and it is not throwing it on the ground. Litter offenders are still in the minority, but the price of their actions is paid by everyone.”

Councillor Breare-Hall added: “Adults need to set a better example. Every year, we talk to school children across the district at Crucial Crew about littering. It is very clear that the children know that littering is anti-social and they do not like to see it, yet we still see litter alongside many roads across the district dropped by adults. Your litter is your responsibility. There are hundreds of bins for your rubbish across the district but if you can’t find one, take it home.”

Enforcement officers from the council have issued over 100 fixed penalty notices for littering offences, with fines amounting to over £5,000. Officers regularly carry out littering patrols and will also report offenders when they are out across the district completing other work.

There is no excuse

Councillor Will Breare-Hall added: “The message could not be clearer, residents across the district don’t like litter, there is no excuse and you will get fined if we catch you littering.”

Posters

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

 

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.