Canvey’S urban fox problem could be solved by plans to collect food waste, a leading councillor says.

Last week, islanders called for foxes to be culled because they are fed up with having their bin bags destroyed.

Residents say the foxes are thriving on food scraps left out in black bin bags.

However, Castle Point Council is set to embark on separate food waste collections, like neighbouring Southend.

These will allow residents to store their scraps safely away from the animals, either in wheelie bins or plastic kitchen caddies.

Ray Howard, Castle Point councillor for waste, said: “One of the major reasons we wanted to bring in these new collections was to provide residents with somewhere safe and secure to store their food waste.

“We know vermin, particularly foxes, are a problem all over the borough, not just on Canvey.”

The authority has secured £1million in funding from Essex County Council to set up and fund the scheme for a year.

There are two options for collecting food waste securely.

One option would see residents issued with plastic containers, known as caddies, similar to those in Southend, which can be kept in the kitchen and put out for collection on bin day.

Under the second option, residents would be able to combine their food waste with green waste in wheelie bins.

However, Mr Howard cautioned that many residents were opposed to wheelie bins.

He said: “We’ve had calls for them before, but there is a huge number of people against them. The problem is they take up space in the street and they look unsightly.”

John Fairchild, who led calls for foxes to be culled in Canvey, welcomed the changes.

He said: “It make sense. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve woken up to find the contents of bin bags strewn across the street.

“But we also need to crack down on the people who feed these animals.

“They are wild animals, not pets, and it’s completely irresponsible.”

The council is consulting on the proposals and the cabinet will review the responses in September before a scheme can be set up some time next year.