Council 'unable' to tackle 'terrifying' problem with foxes in Cleethorpes
CALLS to take action over "terrifying" foxes have been dismissed by council bosses – despite the government stating that local authorities have the power to do so.
As reported, residents in Cleethorpes said they were "terrified" of the wild animals after reports of them trying to get into their homes, stealing food from their bins and ripping chunks out of their gardens.
But a spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council said it will advise residents how to reduce the number of foxes that come into their gardens, but will not do any more to help.
Residents also took the matter to Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who then took it up with the government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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He was told by Defra the local authority have powers under the Local Government Act 2000, which states: "Every local authority has power to do anything they consider likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic wellbeing, the social wellbeing and the environmental wellbeing of their area."
And, as a result, the residents have now reissued their pleas for help.
Chairman of the Cleethorpes South Forward group, Keith Brown, said: "Everyone recognises it as a massive issue. Some people see them as a nuisance, pooing all over the place, coming too close to people's houses and trying to get through their windows, while other people put food out for them.
"It has divided opinion and there needs to be some middle ground.
"What we are saying is, if numbers continue to increase like they are doing, they will become a big problem. We need to start controlling them now – why wait until we have a crisis?
"At one point it was very rare to see a fox in town, now it is pretty common and something needs to be sorted."
NELC said it cannot stop foxes because other government legislation states: "Killing and controlling foxes under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is restricted, no poisonous substances are authorised for use on foxes, it is an offence to intentionally inflict unnecessary suffering on any wild mammal under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, the use of gin traps is banned under the Pests Act 1954 and it is an offence to set fox snares where a dog, cat or protected animal may be killed or injured."
Also, NELC does not have a pest control department – although a spokesman for the authority added that even if it did, it wouldn't do anything – as the council has no obligation to remove foxes.
Portfolio holder for regeneration and environment, Councillor Peter Wheatley said: "Foxes are protected against abuse and ill-treatment under various pieces of legislation.
"The council does not have a pest control service and even if it did, we would follow legislation and standard practice and give relevant advice regarding foxes."
He advised keeping tempting food and rubbish in secure containers to stop the scavenger animals becoming attracted to gardens, clearing the garden or using deterrents.
More advice can be found on Natural England website – www.naturalengland.org.uk