Epping Forest Youth Council has been praised by two MPs including the district’s representative for their drugs report.

The report was published this summer after a survey of 80 young people deemed drugs one of the major issues facing young people in the district.

Youth councillors sent the report to Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing who forwarded it to her colleague, Victoria Atkins, Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability.

Speaking about the report, Ms Atkins said it was ‘heartening’ to hear about engaged and thoughtful young people focusing on a topic of real importance.

Nitrous oxide was identified as a particular problem within the district from their

To tackle this issue, the youth councillors took to the car parks and cleaned up over 550 laughing gas canisters in Epping Forest, Traps Hill, Loughton and Cornmill Lane, Waltham Abbey.

Youth Councillor Annabelle Yaman said: “The number of canisters we found whilst out and about is worrying and it shows laughing gas is a real issue for young people today.

“Through our drug awareness project, we hope to highlight the risks and make young people aware of the damage they are doing.”

Ms Atkins said that the government is working hard to address the harms of nitrous oxide in some of the ways suggested in the Epping Forest report.

Legislation is in place, she said, which carries a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment for those supplying nitrous oxide for recreational use.

She said: “While there are legitimate uses for the substance the government is aware of the risk of diversion into illicit use and has published guidance for retailers to satisfy themselves that they are in compliance with the law.”