Foxes

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th December 2006.

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Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Hammersmith and Fulham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) powers and (b) duties local authorities have to control urban foxes.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs)

There is no statutory duty on local authorities or anyone else to control foxes in their areas. In so far as local authorities are owners and occupiers of property, they have the same powers to control foxes as any other owner or occupier. In practice, many councils provide advice to householders in their area on managing and deterring the presence of foxes.

The means used to alleviate problems are at the discretion of the owner or occupier, provided that steps taken are humane and do not contravene current legislation, such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, and the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986. Currently we have no plans to change this policy.

Strategies to reduce fox problems would usually involve non-lethal methods such as preventing access to food sources, improving protection for pets, or the use of repellents. If foxes are to be killed in an urban area we would recommend that this is done by a professional pest controller who would usually use cage trapping followed by humane killing.

An advisory leaflet that describes a number of different approaches that are suitable in urban situations is available from the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/rds/publications/technical/TAN_08.pdf

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