Administration Information - EIR

Sarah Daniels made this Freedom of Information request to Lambeth Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

26 July 2011

Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

FOI / ENVIROMENTAL REQUEST
Please send me the undermentioned details and pass to relevent person.

=====================
ENVIROMENTAL REQUEST:
Is the Local authority not responsible for foxes which
cause havock in the neighbourhood - causing disease and polution?

IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT- and provide evidence- has Lambeth done to deal with this problem?

IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT -and provide evidence- of what costs,has Lambeth given to landowners to deal with this problem?

IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT -and provide evidence- has Lambeth done to deal with this problem?

IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--
PROVIDE BUDGETS TO DEAL WITH INFESTATION?

are contractors - contrated out to provide these services if so provide

tenders
contracts entered into between Lambeth and Contractors
warranties given by contractors?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Sarah Daniels

FoI, Lambeth Borough Council

FOI Acknowledgement

Thank you for your FOI Request reference 146530.

Please quote this reference in any further correspondence pertaining to
this request. The Council anticipates responding within the statutory
period of 20 working days following the date of receipt; in this case the
due date is 25/07/11.

Please note that our preferred email address to receive Freedom of
Information requests is [1][Lambeth Borough Council request email]

Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.

Tracy Phillips

Information Compliance Advisor

Governance & Democracy (F&R Dept)

Phone - 0207 926 7717

Mobile - 07908 839 933

Email - [email address]

Address - Room 205, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW1 1RW

Email - Information Requests / Coordinated Draft Responses to
[email address]

"This email (and/or attachment) may contain information that is legally
privileged. If you have received this in error please notify the sender
immediately"

Making a Difference

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Cooper,Paul (Pest Control), Lambeth Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Daniels

Thank you for your FOI request regarding foxes in Lambeth

The London Borough of Lambeth like most other Local Authorities does not
control, trap or remove foxes. Foxes are not classified as vermin so Local
Authorities have no legal obligation, or more importantly any powers to
act against them. Although Lambeth does not control the population of
foxes and also discourages the killing of foxes, we do provide advice
about how to deter them, this information can be found on the animal
welfare pages of our website [1]www.lambeth.gov.uk I have also included a
copy of one of our leaflets and other useful information leaflets from
other organisations.

Local Authorities that have tried to control foxes in the past have
stopped doing so because it has proved to be a waste of time and money and
is largely ineffective. The methods that are often thought of as being
available are killing, poisoning, trapping or relocating, I have detailed
below why none of these methods are effective in an inner city
environment.

Lambeth had its shotgun licence withdrawn by the Metropolitan Police many
years ago and in all honesty I would not be happy to task staff to patrol
the borough attempting to shoot foxes. Poisoning is illegal and in any
case it would be impossible to place poison in such a way as to not kill a
non target species any amount of poison that could kill a fox could be
used inappropriately against humans. Hunting with dogs is now also
illegal. This means that the only method that can be employed is by using
a cage to trap them; this method is extremely time consuming and has been
found to be ineffective in controlling the numbers of foxes in the long
term. Additionally we do not use cage traps for many reasons, the main one
being that a cage big enough for a fox can be easily entered by a domestic
cat, other reasons are that:-

Only one fox can be caught at any one time in a trap

Traps have to be visited twice every day; they cannot be left overnight
(as they cannot be checked) and have to shut down over the weekend

Despatching a live fox once caught is a major problem: a shotgun cannot be
discharged within 200 yards of a highway (almost impossible in Lambeth),
they cannot be released into another area, as this is an illegal action
under the terms of wildlife legislation (Wildlife and Countryside Act and
Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996) and is deemed to be an act of cruelty.

The only option for the disposal once trapped is for the fox to be
humanely put to sleep (which can only be carried out by a vet). In our
experience vets are happy to put to sleep animals that are injured or sick
and that cannot be treated but they will not put down healthy animals just
because they annoy people.

Foxes are cunning and clever they do not just walk into cages.

They have been known to travel up to 20 miles in one night so it can take
many weeks to catch a single fox in a trap, which would still need to be
checked twice a day

Cages are expensive, animal lovers don't like seeing them and will often
collapse or steal them especially if you have people that have adopted the
local fox population

There is no such thing as a vacant fox territory, if you remove one small
population of foxes from one area it will soon be replaced by neighbouring
foxes in a matter of weeks

Boroughs that have had a trapping and destruction policy in the past have
not seen the number of foxes reduced and each dead fox in one borough was
estimated to have cost the local Council £1,500.00 per fox.

And then as stated above another population moves in very quickly, it is
nigh on impossible for a single Local Authority to eradicate foxes just
from its own borders.

Foxes regulate their own population by means of a ranking among the vixens
and lower ranking females do not become fertile during the breeding
season. Even if it was possible to remove foxes, the territory that they
had marked would fall vacant and it would not be long before another fox
moves into the vacant territory. A study has shown that if a fox is killed
on the road another one fills its territory within a period as short as
two weeks.

Some people have felt that foxes are on the increase, although it is
widely believed amongst academics and professionals that they are not
necessarily increasing, just that they are now becoming more urbanised and
this is put down to the greater availability of food (just like brown
bears in North America) The fox population, like that of all carnivores,
is self regulating and limited by the amount of food and territory
available. Cubs born simply replace the number of adults lost since the
previous breeding season. Foxes are loners, not pack animals, and the
family usually disperses by late autumn.

Foxes are creatures of habit and have routines and regular routes. The use
of deterrents is a way to break these routes and routines. If a territory
is unsuitable, they are less likely to stay and the territory will not
suit another fox either.

There are a few private pest control companies who offer such a service
although in a recent TV programme one company explained that a football
club had had 26 foxes removed in a year long period.

Removal or destruction of foxes is, at best, expensive and at worst, an
act of cruelty. Fox populations are self regulating they cannot over
populate they simply reach a level at which the environment can provide
for them, an example of this is the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, they have
now nearly all gone since their food source was removed and are now back
to normal city levels.

Deterrence is cheaper, more effective and more humane and advice on this
can be found on our website as stated above. Although it should be noted
that for deterrent methods using chemical sprays there is as yet no
compelling evidence as to their effectiveness. What is known to work is
physical deterrence such as fencing and removing food sources etc.

Some people often state that foxes pose a serious health risk, there are 2
main health risks that are known of, they are mange which is not passed
onto humans, it does in rare cases get passed onto dogs but a pet dog is
easily treated and death only ever occurs with an animal that is neglected
by its owner. Foxes do carry the round worm Toxicara Canis which can be
passed on into their faeces, the disease associated with this is known as
Toxocariasis which can cause blindness in children, however there is no
known case of this ever happening.

Another concern has been foxes attacking people, whilst it is true that it
has happened on a number of occasions and it is very distressing when it
does happen it is widely accepted that these are a one off occurrences and
mostly highly unlikely to happen.

To answer your specific FOI questions

1/ IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT- and provide evidence- has Lambeth done

to deal with this problem?

     We offer advice on deterrence see website for evidence
[2]http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/Envir...

2/ IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT -and provide evidence- of what costs,has

Lambeth given to landowners to deal with this problem?

     Nothing that I am aware of, no evidence to provide

3/ IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--WHAT -and provide evidence- has Lambeth done

to deal with this problem?

    This is a repeat of question 1

4/ IN THE LAST 2 YEARS--

PROVIDE BUDGETS TO DEAL WITH INFESTATION?

     There is no specific budget allocated to fox control or
advice

5/ are contractors - contrated out to provide these services if so

provide tenders contracts entered into between Lambeth and
Contractors

warranties given by contractors?

     Contractors are not used for this service

Should you have a complaint about the way your request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act has been dealt with, please contact
the Corporate Complaints Unit, Lambeth Town Hall, SW2 1RW or e-mail
[3][email address]

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may
contact the Information Commissioner, who can be reached at:

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 01625 545 700, Fax: 01625 545 510

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act can be found on the
Information Commissioner's website [4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours faithfully

Paul Cooper

LBL Public Health & Pest Control Manager

London Borough of Lambeth

Housing, Regeneration and Environment

Public Realm Division

Environmental Services & Highways

Public Health & Pest Control

phone: 0207 926 8861

mobile: 0795 644 9342

fax: 0207 926 8919

e-mail: [5][email address]

website: [6]www.lambeth.gov.uk

Public Health & Pest Control

26 Wanless Road

Herne Hill

London

SE24 0HW

Making a Difference

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