Council Leader, Cllr Chris Whitbread announced that Councillor Sam Kane has stepped down from his role within the Cabinet for personal reasons.
The Leader thanked Cllr Kane for all the work he has done as Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services over the years.
A further announcement will be made shortly with plans for the Cabinet going forward and who will take ownership of the Customer and Corporate Services portfolio. It is likely that services will be divided among the current Cabinet members.
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Emergency alarm upgrade
Over the next year homes and businesses will hear more and more about the digital switchover, which will see all analogue telephone lines discontinued by November 2025.
As part of this switchover, the Cabinet agreed to the procurement of a new emergency alarm system in its independent living schemes and designated dwellings for older people.
Members heard how the Council is working with Telecare Services Association to help modernise the scheme, ensuring the upgrade is fit for purpose and value for money.
Waste fleet vehicles
Members agreed to an 8-year contract with Specialist Fleet Services for the hire and maintenance of waste collection vehicles. The fleet of vehicles will form part of the council-owned waste collection company, due to start in November 2024.
Councillors agreed that hiring the vehicles is preferable to outright purchase. This option gives more flexibility, is more cost effective and will allow for the changing of vehicles as and when needed to fit the service. Outright purchase of vehicles also increases the risk of not being ready for operation in November 2024 due to delays in manufacturing.
The current fleet of vehicles used by waste contractor, Biffa, is not owned by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and will be unavailable once that contract ends later this year. For EFDC to manage its statutory duties in relation to domestic and commercial waste collections, it must have its own fleet of suitable vehicles.
All environmentally friendly options for vehicles have been considered. EFDC will be getting some electric vehicles as part of this contract, although, unfortunately, some large refuse collection vehicles or specialist machines are not yet compatible with electric vehicle technology. Alternative fuel types have been considered wherever feasible, including the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil. This is a diesel substitute which delivers a carbon saving of 80-90%.
It was recommended that the increase in taxi fares be implemented as soon as possible after a recent consultation. The fare rates will then be reviewed on a yearly basis.
Work will begin shortly on the retrofitting of the Council’s housing stock, mainly in rural areas of the district, to help homes become more environmentally friendly.
Cabinet Members thanked residents for their help with waste collection over the Christmas period and during the recent heavy rain fall. There were no major disruptions to collections during this time, however with residents’ cooperation and assistance, collections went smoothly to clear the extra Christmas waste and recycling.
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