Foxes are being culled at a South London nature reserve sparking concerns cubs will starve to death without their parents.

The waste management company which is responsible for restoring the Beddington Farmlands claim the killing of foxes is necessary to protect birds on the nature reserve.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed he became aware of the cull when someone with a rifle was spotted on the land.

He asked whether other options for protecting nesting lapwings had been explored, like blocking existing holes in fences.

The local said: “I also find the time of year they are doing this extremely concerning.

"If you take out a male or female fox during cub season they have a whole litter underground that would be starving to death. That was what really alarmed me.”

The concerned resident added that he was shocked there had been no public consultation on the matter.

He added: “I think if people were aware there would be a huge public discourse on this. I am interested in what other measures have been looked into rather than killing foxes as a short-term solution.”

Valencia Waste Management, previously Viridor, is responsible for the running and restoration of Beddington Farmlands which is a former sewage works and was a landfill site until the early 2000s.

The company said an “in principle agreement” for population control on the site was agreed at a meeting of the Conservation and Access Management Committee in December 2020.

However, the minutes of this meeting are not available on the Beddington Farmlands website where other minutes have been uploaded.

A spokesperson for the company said: “It has been established that foxes have been gaining access to habitats through anti-predator fences and additional management procedures were required.

"This is conducted when populations need control, following consultation, by appropriate and licenced specialists to ensure at all times the process is humane.

“This practice is similar to other inner-city nature reserves and will support giving the target species of lapwing at Beddington the best chance of establishing a sustainable colony.”

A spokesperson for the council said, once completed, Beddington Farmlands will be one of London’s largest nature reserves where endangered birds, such as lapwings, will be protected.

They added: “Valencia has confirmed that any population control will only take place where absolutely necessary following consultation by appropriate and licenced specialists.”

News of the Beddington cull comes in the same week The Telegraph revealed the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is employing people to kill foxes and crows to try and protect ground-nesting birds.