Borough Insight

This Issue

In this issue

As restrictions are further eased and the fragrance of freedom is in the air (or it could be the aroma from next door’s barbeque), we must remember that Covid is still with us. Whatever the changes in restrictions, we still need to be cautious to help ensure there isn't a resurgence of Covid or a major outbreak of one of the variants. In the key facts section we look at the government’s step three out of lockdown, what it means and why regular testing is important.

Normality is returning and in this month’s issue we welcome the cows back to Epsom Common and explain why they are there. Live music is returning to Epsom Market Place and we’re looking forward to a blooming great summer, as with our friends at the Go Epsom we launch Epsom in Bloom.

With local democracy to the fore, we’re asking you to join in a consultation currently being undertaken by the boundary commission, the results of which will shape the local political landscape (your views really do matter). We also review the results of the recent county council local elections.

There’s also news about a bit of a spring clean, an introduction to your new Mayor and that an independent think tank has rated the borough in which you live one of the most prosperous in the UK.

Stay safe.

News

Council review - have your say

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is an independent statutory body, whose objectives include the provision of electoral arrangements that are fair and that deliver electoral equality for voters.

Periodically the Commission undertakes an examination of a Council’s electoral arrangements. This includes

  • the total numbers of councillors to be elected
  • the number of wards or divisions
  • the number of councillors for each ward/ division

The review is to ensure that each councillor represents approximately the same number of voters and that wards represent the interests and identities of their local communities and to ensure the council works effectively and efficiently.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s last review was in 1997 – 24 years ago.Image: Current wards in Epsom and Ewell

Having conducted a very top level appraisal, the Commission is minded that the number of councillors in Epsom & Ewell should be 35. This is a change from the current borough council which has 38. This is the very start of the review process, to which residents and others are asked to participate.

The Commission wants to hear what residents and organisations think about their local area.

A 10 week consultation on the proposals will run until 19 July 2021.

The Commission is interested in views on which communities should be part of the same ward.
What facilities do people share, such as parks, leisure centres or schools and shopping areas?
What issues do neighbouring communities face that they have in common, such as high numbers of visitors or heavy traffic?
Have there been new housing or commercial developments that have changed the focus of communities?
And are there roads, rivers, railways or other features that people believe form strong boundaries between neighbourhoods?

The Commission will use local views to help it draw up proposals for new ward boundaries. There will be a further round of consultation once the Commission has drawn up those proposals.

Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said:
“We want people in Epsom & Ewell to help us.

“We are starting to draw up new wards for Epsom & Ewell. We want our proposals for new electoral arrangements to reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people.

“Residents and local organisations can help us understand community ties and identities at this early stage of the process.
“It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us.

“Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”

The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can give their views: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/27356 (link is external)

People can also give their views by e-mail at reviews@lgbce.org.uk, and by post:
The Review Officer (Epsom & Ewell)
LGBCE
PO Box 133
Blyth
NE24 9FE

Elections result

Earlier this month elections were held for the county council and the position of Police & Crime Commissioner.

County Council
All 81 seats (divisions) on the council were being contended. Epsom and Ewell has five divisions.

These are now your representatives on the county council:

Epsom Town and Downs
Steven McCormick
Residents Association
steven.mccormick@surreycc.gov.uk

Epsom West
Bernie Muir
Conservatives
bernie.muir@surreycc.gov.uk

Ewell
John Beckett
Residents' Association
john.beckett@surreycc.gov.uk

Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington
Eber Kington
Residents' Association
eber.kington@surreycc.gov.uk

West Ewell
Jan Mason
Residents' Association
jan.mason@surreycc.gov.uk

The overall result has a new council comprising

47 Conservatives
14 Liberal Democrats
4 Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell
3 Independent
3 Farnham Residents
2 The Green Party
2 Residents for Guildford and Villages
1 Nork and Tattenhams Residents' Association
1 Labour
1 Ashtead Independent, working with Ashtead Residents
1 Dittons and Weston Green Residents
1 The Molesey Residents Association
1 Labour and Co-operative


Police and Crime Commissioner

Lisa Townsend (Conservatives) has been announced as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.

She received 112,260 first preference votes in the PCC election. She was elected on second preference votes, after no candidates received more than 50% of first preference ballots.

If you want to get in touch with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner email -  SurreyPCC@surrey.pnn.police.uk
NOTE
:
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is a separate entity to Surrey Police. To report a crime or contact Surrey Police, please call the non-emergency police number on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

 

New Mayor

The new Mayor of the Borough of Epsom & Ewell is Peter O’Donovan.

Image: The Mayor of Epsom & Ewell 2021/2022Peter was first elected as a Borough Councillor in 2015 for Ewell Court Ward. He has served on various council committees, most notably on Planning for six years, and spent a year as Chair of the Environment Committee. He will hold the office of Mayor for a year representing the Council and the people of Epand and Ewell at a variety of formal and informal functions and events.

Peter is 60 and has worked in the finance sector since leaving school. He joined Lloyds Bank and made his way up to the position of branch manager before leaving the organisation in 1997. Since then, his career has included working with comparison website MoneyExtra; managing the assets for the old Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock in UKAR; and as a mortgage advisor. He is currently self-employed equity release advisor.

Peter has lived in Ewell since 2007. He is married to Sarah and has two children, Aoife (14) and Eoin (11).

Peter is a keen sportsman and helped run Eoin’s football team at AFC Ewell for a few years. He enjoys taking part in musical theatre and has performed at the Epsom Playhouse and other local venues, including the Wimbledon Theatre and the Fairfield Halls. It was whilst playing Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady at the Secombe Centre that he met Sarah.

On becoming Mayor, Peter said: “Epsom and Ewell is a special place; successful, welcoming, inclusive – the ideal environment to bring up a family and to run a business. My aim as mayor is to give something back to the borough I call home and to meet and thank the people who contribute so much to our community”.

Peter will be using the opportunity to raise funds and recognition for three (organisations that mean a great deal to him. These are…

  • Epsom RDA
    A local organisation providing disabled people with the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing through horse riding

  • My Time for Young Carers
    A charity providing fun activities for young carers aged between 7 and 15 who live in and around Epsom and Ewell, and Mole Valley

  • Look Good Feel Better
    A national charity who help boost the physical and emotional wellbeing of people living with cancer.

The Mayor is the first citizen of the Borough of Epsom & Ewell and has several specific roles during their one-year term of office. These include representing the Council and the local community at formal and ceremonial occasions, both within the borough and elsewhere, and chairing full meetings of the Council. During the mayoral year the Mayor is strictly politically neutral and the work representing those in their ward is undertaken by the other ward councillors.

Great British Spring Clean

The Great British Spring Clean is a campaign with one simple ambition: to bring together people from across the country to clear litter that blights our towns, countryside and coastline.

Litter is a huge problem across the UK, causing harm to the environment and wildlife. Over the past year, COVID-related litter, such as face masks and gloves, have added an additional risk to both the public and our green spaces.

The campaign, from 28 May to 13 June, is a key milestone in Keep Britain Tidy’s calendar, encouraging thousands to help clear up their neighbourhoods.

For 202Image: Great British Litterpick artwork1, the charity is calling on volunteer ‘litter heroes’ to help it reach a target of a million miles of picking (#MillionMilesMission). All minutes and hours promised will be converted into miles and counted on the Great British Spring Clean website. On average it takes 20 minutes to walk or litter pick a mile - you can help the campaign reach the million mile goal by pledging to pick around your local area on their website - here

The local community group, Keep Epsom & Ewell Tidy (KEET), has organised a borough-wide litter pick on Monday 31 May (details on their Facebook page). The council are supporting this initiative by providing litter pickers and arranging for collections of the group’s collected litter from pre-arranged locations.

If you are one of the over 900 people who have signed up to the council’s litter picking pledge, we’re urging you to join in by undertaking the litter pick with KEET or on another day as part of the Great British Spring Clean.

Individuals litter picking on their own should put their collected rubbish in their normal domestic refuse bin.

Please see the volunteer litter pick guidance on our website (here)

It's where you live

Epsom and Ewell has been revealed as one of the most prosperous areas in Britain.

The Legatum Institute, an independent think tank has published the UK Prosperity Index to track the Government's progress on its 'levelling up' agenda.

This borough is rated the fourth most prosperous of the 379 local authority areas in the UK.

Image: Stoneleigh FestivalThe index compares nine individual pillars and then gives an overall rating. The pillars include:

  • Personal safety
  • Living conditions
  • Health
  • Inclusivity
  • Enterprise conditions
  • Natural environment

Coming behind North Kesteven in the East Midlands, Epsom and Ewell was rated with the UK’s second highest score for ‘Governance’. The Governance pillar measures the quality of local democracy and the effectiveness of local government services.

Wokingham in Berkshire is rated overall the most prosperous local authority area in the UK. Glasgow City (377), Middlesbrough (378) and Blackpool (379) are rated the least prosperous.

Image: Stoneleigh Temple festival

Moo-ving in

In cooperation with the Epsom Common Association, the Lower Mole Partnership and Natural England, the council’s countryside team are bringing back the cattle to Epsom Common as the summer annual grazing project resumes.

ThImage: Cattle on the commone grazing project helps manage and restore wood pasture (a priority habitat) on the Common.

Grazing was re-introduced in 1997 and this season there will be 12 animals in three areas from May until autumn. The project is carefully monitored by the council’s countryside team and Natural England under the guidance of the Common’s management plan.

The return of the cattle marked the end of a period starting in the early twentieth century when grazing disappeared from the Common. Without cattle, following the Second World War, the largely open treeless landscape of Epsom Common was transformed into the landscape dominated by the developing woodland, as we see today.

The progression to a single, uniform habitat of woodland has the effect of reducing biodiversity on the local nature reserve. The grazing project is part of the vision to achieve a balance between woodland, scrub, grassland, open water and the important transitions between these habitats.

Cattle grazing is a sensitive way of maintaining the grassland without causing disturbance to other wildlife. In preference to other grazers, such as sheep, cattle create a varied structure in the grassland which is beneficial to wildlife. Additionally, cattle are easier than ponies, goats or sheep to contain within temporary fencing and are far less susceptible to being frightened by dogs.

In order to ensure the welfare of the cattle, the animals are checked on a daily basis. Daily inspections are also undertaken to ensure that the electric fencing and water supply in the grazing area is in good working order and that the cattle's mineral licks are in place.

Round the Borough Bike

Still time to win a Sprint Whisper Hybrid flat bar road bike

Round the Borough Bike, the popular non-competitive cycle event, is back with a difference.Picture: Cyclists on Epsom Downs

Running throughout May there is the opportunity to undertake the event in your own way and in your own time. This means the route can be done in one go as normal or in stages, over different days for example, and it can be cycled in either direction.

Round the Borough Bike is a 20 mile long, beautiful circular route taking in the borough’s iconic green spaces.

Participants register on the council’s website and can then challenge themselves and set their own personal riding goal, taking part any time in May.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist who has taken part before or are new to cycling and ready to take on your first challenge on wheels, Virtual Round the Borough Bike is open to anyone. The route is mostly off-road and is clearly signposted.

There will be the chance for those taking part to win a brand new Sprint Whisper Hybrid flat bar road bike, kindly donated by Fudges Cycle Store, 21-23 Upper High Street, Epsom.

To win the bike, participants need to register at www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/RBHB and follow the instructions. One winner will be randomly selected from those who take part.

Image: What's on in Epsom

 

Active April winner

Last month we encouraged borough residents to boost their mental and physical wellbeing in the borough’s great outdoors.

As part of a fun challenge, residents were asked to sign a pledge to take part in Active April and make a note of all the activities they were doing each week. This could have been how many hours they had jogged, miles walked, or types of sports played. The most active person in Epsom and Ewell was promised a £25 sports voucher to spend in their local chosen sports outlet.

Winner of the voucher was Charlotte Hornblow (congratulations)!Image Charlotte Hornblow

Charlotte is the Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator at Age Concern Epsom & Ewell. She's had a very active month taking part in Age Concern Epsom & Ewell Virtual Easter Bunny Hop throughout April as well as the Great Run Solo April Challenge.

Charlotte told us how amazing it was she had won the voucher and that she never normally wins anything, especially not fitness related.

She said "I seem to now have the running bug and have signed up to take part in the London Vitality 10k on the 31 May 2021. The Active April challenge was timed perfectly as it fit in very nicely with my training for the 10k and also as part of my training for our Mount Snowdon Trek this August to raise funds for Age Concern Epsom & Ewell..

"Since January I have been on a mission to get and stay active, to ensure I can reach the summit. In light of this challenge ahead, I would love to have a voucher for Sports Direct as I will need some new walking boots for the trek".

Charlotte is pictured right with her Great Run Solo April Challenge medal.

Ask Me About Domestic Abuse

15 June 2021, Zoom Webinar

1 in 3 women will experience Domestic Abuse at some point in their adult lives and as many as 1 in 6 men

This online event is open to any member of the public, business owners and community leaders.

The event is bought to you by Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell and Spelthorne Community Safety Partnerships and the North Surrey Domestic Abuse Service. We aim to raise awareness of domestic abuse and local support services available across North Surrey and provide participants with the knowledge to:

  • Understand why we need to break the silence on domestic abuse
  • Be confident to recognise indicators of domestic abuse and in particular coercive control
  • Know how to support a friend, family member or work colleague that may be experiencing domestic abuse
  • Consider becoming an ‘Ask Me’ Community Ambassador

The webinar will take place at 10.00am on 15 June 2021. You will hear from Community Safety representatives, North Surrey Domestic Abuse Service and Surrey Police

Click here for information on how to book.

Image: Ask me logo

www.surreyagainstda.info

EU deadline looming

Image: clock overlaid with EU and UK flags European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizens, or their family members, need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before 30 June 2021 to protect their rights whilst living in the UK.

If those residents do not apply by this deadline, they could lose their existing rights to live, work, and access free healthcare in the UK.

If an applicant has accrued five years of "continuous residence" in the UK, then they may be eligible for "settled status" (also known as permanent residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain). If an applicant does not have five years of "continuous residence" in the UK but has been "resident" in the UK at some point before 31 December 2020, then they might be eligible for "pre-settled status", a five-year UK visa. A pre-settled status holder can apply for settled status once they are eligible.

For full information visit https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

Spotlight on

Epsom in bloom - launch

The Council has launched our bid for South and South East in Bloom for Epsom, in partnership with Go Epsom.Image: Epsom in bloom logo

South & South East in Bloom is part of Britain in Bloom and runs annual competitions across the south of England.

'Bloom' used to be about stunning summer bedding dispalys. While gardening, planting and creating attractive places is still an important element, it is now as much about caring for the environment and the community coming together in caring for where they live, work, study and play.

Over the coming weeks and months there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, as well as fun activities and competitions, so keep an eye on the dedicated Facebook and Instagram pages.

Epsom in Bloom - first event

Some images from the launch event on Saturday 15 May where free plant seeds were handed out by the Mayor and volunteers. This was the last official event attended by Councillor Humphrey Reynolds in his Mayoral year.

Image: Seeds given out by Go Epsom at the Market Place

Picture credit: Epsom in Bloom

What's On

Epsom Markets this month

We're Open. Epsom Market. Est. 1685. See you there.

Regular markets take place on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday plus special markets are held most Sundays.

New for this month!

  • Art and Makers market, Sunday 30 May: Artists and Makers sell their work exclusively directly to the public 

For information on the weekly markets at Epsom Market Place see: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/market 

Sundays

Vegan Market
The Epsom Vegan Market usually takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month from 10.30am -3.30pm. The next market will take place on Sunday 23 May. See https://www.ethicalveganevents.com/marketinfo/epsom

Farmer's Market
The next Epsom Farmer's Market is on Sunday 6 June. This market usually takes place on the first Sunday of the month from 9.30am - 1.30pm. Find out more at https://www.surreymarkets.co.uk/event/epsom-market/

Taste Of The World Market
The next market is on Bank Holiday Monday 31 May. This market includes a selection of international street food to takeaway only. For more info see: https://www.facebook.com/TasteOfTheWorldMarket

All markets take place in the Market Place under the clock tower.

As you shop local, remember to shop safe when visiting our markets to keep stallholders and public as safe as possible. Please follow the socially distancing queuing system in place at each market stall. Use hand sanitiser and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Shoppers are encouraged to only handle items they intend to purchase and to pay via contactless where they can and when it's available.

If you plan to visit, please remember Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Music in the Market Place

Go Epsom is pleased to announce that Music in the Marketplace will be returning, twice weekly from Sunday 6 June onwards, for three months.

Commissioned by Go Epsom and expertly curated by MGS04, Epsom’s Arts Festival organisers, live music will take place twice weekly from 5 – 7pm on Fridays and from 12 – 2.30pm on Sundays.

Image: music in the Market Place In its first season last year, Music in the Market Place saw an eclectic line up of talented, professional performers, covering many genres of music. Musicians who routinely graced the stages of Ronnie Scott’s or The Royal Albert Hall had their public performances cancelled during last years Covid pandemic and were happy to come and perform in Epsom. These same performers and many more will be returning in 2021.

Karen Pengelly, BID Manager at Go Epsom commented “Music in the Marketplace was understandably low-key last year due to Covid but was so well received, we are bringing it back for a whole summer season in 2021. On Fridays, it’s the perfect way to end the working week, on Sundays, with busy markets happening, it’s an opportunity for people to meet family and friends in a safe, outdoor place and enjoy fantastic quality music, all free of charge. It will be some welcome light relief in such an unsettling and strange year and we look forward to bringing a smile to people’s faces.”

Epsom Medical Equipment Fund events

Two events being organised by the local charity who raises money for equipment for Epsom Hospital.

Fund Raising Dinner at Topo Gigio
196 Kingston Rd, Ewell, Epsom, KT19 0SF

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 at 7pm

Tickets are £25 each for a three course meal excluding drinks.  

There is an extensive menu which is available upon request as we need to order in advance of our visit. Drinks are available at extra cost.  

If you would like to join us, please let call  020 8337 8181 to book a place as soon as possible.  We look forward to seeing you.


Antique Valuation Day
The Station Pub, Stoneleigh Broadway, Ewell, KT17 2JA  (next to Stoneleigh Railway Station) 

Thursday, 3 June 2021 from 10am to 3pm
Start looking out those possibly valuable items!

Get an assessment and valuation from the experts at Newland Antiques (£2 fee per item to go to Epsom Medical Equipment Fund).   

Epsom Medical Equipment Fund will also have a  sale of items so do come along and have a look.  Entrance is free.  Among items for sale will be baby knitwear, shawls, hats, gloves, bedsocks, jewellery and other items for you to buy. 

Full details of the fund raising activities and future event can be found on the charities website www.emef.org.uk

 

 

Key Facts

Step three - overview

Image: Waiter serving inside wearing a facemask

Step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown which was implemented on Monday (17 May) saw further restrictions lifted.The main changes are listed below.

It is important that we all remember that COVID-19 is still a part of our lives, so we must:

  • Continue to follow the principles of ‘hands, face, space and ventilation’
  • Follow the Covid-secure measures that remain in place at different stages
  • Get tested when needed, eg if you cannot work from home, have someone in your household attending or working in education or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Get vaccinated when offered

Social contact

As part of step three, the government continues easing limits on seeing friends and family, allowing people where possible to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors have been lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people remain illegal. Indoors, the rule of six or two households apply.

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors are now able to reopen. COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will can now reopen - venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in step three include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children's play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government is also allowing some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people are able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Events

Up to 30 people are now able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Face masks

Face masks must still be worn in public indoor settings, on public transport and anywhere where social distancing is difficult.

Secondary school pupils in England are no longer required to wear face masks in class or school communial areas.

International travel

Some international travel is now permitted, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries however travellers need to check on what restrictions apply at their destinations (and if they are allowed in at all). Strict border control measures will remain in place, including pre-departure tests and a PCR test on or before day two of arrival back in the UK.

Care homes

Care homes residents are able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents also have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return.

For full information on the current guidance see: www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Step 4 is due to take place no earlier than 21 June.

Information correct at time of publishing

Tried and tested

With cases of COVID-19 continuing to decline across the country, the vaccines making a real difference, lockdown restrictions easing and with more socialisation, the requirements for Covid testing have evolved.

It is important that you are tested regularly, even if you have been vaccinated. Taking a rapid COVID-19 test twice a week and making this part of your regular routine, like brushing your teeth, is a way of keeping yourself, your loved ones and the community safe.

Rapid testing is free, quick and easy, with your result confirmed within 30 minutes.

The Surrey Covid testing centre that had relocated from Bourne Hall to Ewell Court House is now closing as obtaining home testing is easier.

Where and how to obtain a test and/or home test kit, to find out what testing involves and understand your test result, visit the NHS Covid testing pages on their website

Image: Surrey Covid testing

Your Community

Recognised for serving the local community

Surrey has a new High Sheriff, Dr Julie Llewellyn.

Julie was appointed at the beginning of the month and has already been busy. As representatives of the Queen, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector.

In her first visit to the borough, Julie visited the Water’s Edge, in support of the work undertaken at the youth centre.

Image: High Sheriff at the Waters Edge Youth CentreWhile there, the High Sheriff presented awards to our Councillor Jan Mason and to Serena Powis, who works with the volunteer sector in the borough on behalf of the council. Both were recognised for their key role in the community and doing so much to support Surrey Clubs for Young People and many other organisations within the borough.

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the monarch for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. The first recorded High Sheriff of Surrey was in 1066. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales.

Dr Julie Llewellyn is the tenth woman to hold the historic role within Surrey. Julie’s background is as a diabetic nurse within the NHS. She is chair of the Hambledon Community Fund and vice chair of the Community Foundation for Surrey.

Image: (left to right) Serena Powis, Julie Llewellyn and Jan Mason (picure credit Office of High Sheriff)

Bash the aliens!

Invasive Non Native Species Week is almost upon us. The annual week highlights the issue and draws together organisations taking action to preserve our native ecosystem. This year, the week is 24- 30th May.

Some introductions of Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) have been accidental and some have been introduced on purpose without realising the consequences:

  • HimalImage: Himalayan Balsamayan balsam (right) was introduced as a garden plant in 1839, but soon escaped and became widely naturalised along riverbanks and ditches, especially close to towns. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of other, native flowers. It also destabilising riverbanks with its very shallow root structure.  Its explosive seed pods aid its spread by sending the seeds into the river, causing further dispersal downstream.

  • Since being imported to gardens in Britain during the Victorian era, Japanese Knotweed has spread throughout the UK. It grows aggressively during the summer and has the potential to grow through structures and can even rupture concrete.

  • Image: Signal CrayfishThe Signal Crayfish (right) was introduced from America in 1975 to be farmed for food, but quickly escaped and spread rapidly through the UK. It has driven the native crayfish towards extinction through competition and transmission of a crayfish plague, which doesn’t harm signal crayfish but is fatal to other crayfish. It also burrows into riverbanks leading to erosion and increasing flood risk.

  • The Quagga Mussel is a tiny freshwater mussel from the Ukraine and was first recorded in the UK in in waterways near Heathrow Airport in 2014. It can now be found in various areas across England. It breeds extremely fast and grows in dense colonies, which can clog waterways and water treatment pipes.

These are just four well known examples of INNS that have been brought into our country and have upset the ecosystem.

There are three ways you can help support our local environment from INNS:

  • Garden wisely: When you’re planting, opt for native species. Boosting our native populations is a great way to bolster against the effects of invasive species and prevents the accidental introduction of non-natives into the wild.

  • Clean your outdoor equipment: If you hike, canoe, fish, bike or enjoy other outdoor activities, make sure you clean and dry your equipment after each use. It’s easy to pick up guest while you’re spending time outdoors and keeping your equipment clean and dry will stop them in their tracks.

  • Volunteer with an Action Group: Many environmental groups run action days to tackle invasive species.

The South East River Trust is having a series of Balsam Bashing sessions in and around the Hogsmill River.

Volunteers are being called on to take part, which you can do via the website – here

    Your Council

    Council meetings

    The following meetings of the Council will be held over the next month:

    Meetings are now being held in person, with restricted numbers in line with Covid regulations. Meetings can be accessed virtually with details of how to do this on the relevent meeting agenda.


    The agendas and details on how to view the council meetings will be published 14 days before the relevant meeting on the website links above. 

    Contact us

    Website: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk   
    Tel: 01372 732000
    Text: 07950 080202
    Email: contactus@epsom-ewell.gov.uk   

    Borough Insight is published by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council for residents in the borough. For more information and to view the current issue of the magazine visit:

    http://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/borough-insight

    If you have any queries on its contents please contact The Editor, Borough Insight, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom, Surrey KT18 5BY.

    Tel: 01372 732000.
    Email: boroughinsight@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

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