Concerned About Fox Numbers?

Advice on refuse storage and disposal

Residents who are concerned about fox numbers in their neighbourhoods are being urged to make sure they store and dispose of their refuse carefully to help tackle the problem.

The numbers of foxes living in an area is totally dependant on the availability of food. The more food there is the more foxes there will be.

Within residential areas food from waste stored inappropriately will make up the greater part of their diets, so residents can play an important role in limiting their numbers by changing the way they store their household waste. 

Refuse sacks should always be stored in a bin, preferably a metal one with a close fitting lid. Binliners that contain unwanted food remnants left outside unprotected will leave them vulnerable to foxes, cats and also potentially rats.

Using a refuse bin with a lid will not only help limit fox numbers, it will also prevent rubbish bags being ripped open and strewn across front gardens, pavements and roads.

People with front gardens should leave their binbags inside their bins near the front of their garden gates on the day of collection. People without a front garden should place their refuse out for collection as late as possible to limit the amount of time it can be preyed on by animals.

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Foxes are now a common sight in London. While some people welcome them as an interesting addition to the capital's wildlife others view them as pests who cause a multitude of problems.

“Some people also like feeding foxes and attracting them into their gardens, but this takes away their natural wariness towards people and can have the unfortunate effect of encouraging them to enter other houses in search of food or even to follow people in the street. Of course this can be very intimidating and can cause people great distress and anxiety, especially those with small children.

“The most humane and natural way to control the fox population is to limit their food supply. The less food there is for them to eat - the fewer there will be.
“It is really important that wherever possible, people place their bin bags in a solid container. Plastic binliners left out in front gardens will normally contain food scraps and a hungry fox will rip them to shreds. As well as the mess this leaves behind, it also helps sustain greater numbers of foxes.”

Residents concerned about the presence of foxes in their neighbourhoods can download a useful information pack from the council's website at

Many complaints relate to their presence in gardens. Residents can do a lot themselves to deter them.

  • House domestic pets like rabbits in fox-proof accommodation.
  • Refrain from feeding pets in the garden.
  • Ensure that meat and household waste is not put on compost heaps.
  • Do not leave food out for foxes as this will only attract them and increase the numbers the area will sustain.

Foxes can also be deterred by clearing undergrowth and thick vegetation from gardens so that they do not have shelter.

The council will not deal with foxes. As with any pest, responsibility for dealing with foxes lies with the landowner and householders are strongly advised to contact a professional pest control company.

Cllr Cook concluded: “The simplest and most effective way to deter them from causing you and your family problems is to limit their food supply."


November 13, 2014