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Superintendent's Update April/May & June/July

Report of the Superintendent of Epping Forest.

Minutes:

Members received a presentation from the Superintendent of Epping Forest and noted his report summarising the Epping Forest Division’s activities across April to July 2018. The following comments were made:

 

Staff and Volunteers

·         The Superintendent advised Members that recruitment was underway to address a series of staff shortages. It was noted that the team had sadly lost Russell Staffurth and Peter Williamson.

Award winners

 

·         Epping Forest has received the prestigious Green Flag Award for the 15th time in a row and a Green Heritage Award for 2018/19 from the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Weather

 

·         The Superintendent advised that the wetter than average April and the very dry and hot summer had had an impact with the Forest reflecting 2% lower than normal on a heat map.

Parklife

 

·         The Football Foundation has provided a grant of £34,777 to enable the City of London Corporation to develop plans for a hub at Wanstead Flats football.

Forest Services

 

Fly tipping

·         Members were advised that fly-tipping and littering had significantly increased over the hot summer months.

Rough Sleepers

·         Members were advised that there had been a number of rough sleepers at the Forest over the summer months and that the City of London Corporation was working to find better outcomes to resolve rough sleeping on the Forest.  

Deer vehicle collisions

·         Members were advised that the number of deer related road accidents was moving proportionally down from 2017.

Fire

·         The Superintendent advised that the extremely hot weather and lack of rainfall had led to 37 forest fires throughout the summer reaching a damaging burn of approximately 60 acres at Wanstead Flats. The Police and Fire Services were still looking investigating suspected arson at the flats.

·         Annual training with the Fire Authority is due to take place in the spring.

Heritage, Landscape and Nature Conservation

Biodiversity

·         Members were advised that a number of rare birds and beetles have been spotted in the Forest.

·         It was noted that there had been a population explosion of the beech leaf mining weevil Rhynchaenus fagi and the Team had received guidance from the JNCC regarding treatment.

Grazing 

·         Conservation grazing took place throughout the summer.

·         The Superintendent noted that a report regarding the Eagle Pond Heritage Landscape would come to the next meeting. 

 

Oak Processionary Moth (OPM)

·         Members were advised that there had been a significant rise in OPM nests leading to a busy period of work to manually move the nests with Essex Bridleways Association.

·         It was noted that only 4 nests were found in 2017 and that the response to OPM would be re-evaluated to manage the dramatic rise.

Land Registration

·         The Superintendent advised that a tribunal hearing was awaited following a re-submission regarding the case of the land claim on Forest Land at Broomhill Road, Woodford Green.

Visitor Services

 

·         Members were advised that there had been significant social media growth and as of 19 June 2018 was as follows - Twitter followers: 6,487 (13% increase); Facebook likes: 1,415 (103% increase); Instagram followers: 1,011 (184% increase).

 

·         Members were advised of two exhibitions which opened in the summer. An exhibition to celebrate 130 years of golf on the Chingford Golf Course, in partnership with the Royal Epping Forest Golf Club, took place on 16 June to 15 July and an exhibition to mark the 140-year anniversary of the passing of the Epping Forest Act of 1878 opened on 21 July.

 

·         The Superintendent noted a pattern of antisocial behaviour following schools breaking up for the summer holidays and advised that the Team were working with schools to prevent this.  

 

·         Members were advised that a licensing agreement had been agreed with the Donkey Derby owners and event organisers.

 

·         With regards to the Woodredon Estate Properties, the Superintendent advised that the freehold was sold and there were four properties were for sale. He noted that the City of London Corporation would be able to continue managing the land by selling the land on a leasehold basis.  

 

·         A Member queried the criteria regarding dog and other animal incidents on the Forest noting that there had been a serious dog attack on a horse and a child which were not referenced in the report. The Superintendent agreed to look into this incident.

 

·         Members voices thanks the Team for work on the Wilderness event in September.

 

RECEIVED.  

Supporting documents:

 


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