Combating Chiswick's Fox 'Hot Spots'
Landowner told to return empty property to residential use
With the spotlight still on the issue of foxes and their increasing numbers on our streets; Southfield Ward Councillor Gary Malcolm put the matter before Ealing Council.
His concerns centred on one particular fox ‘hotspot’ Berrymede Road off Acton Lane and asked what can be done so that the dens be removed from what appears to be a number of unoccupied houses.
The Councils Pest Control Service (which forms a part of the Safer Communities Directorate) collates the numbers of complaints from residents that relate to urban foxes.
It is estimated that sixty percent of the urban fox population is killed annually by cars and disease, with Mange being a major killer of urban foxes and causing a decline in population in early years of the century.
Since the media coverage following the incident in the London Borough of Haringey in June, the Council reports an increase in public interest, with a further 10 requests for service.
In common with other London Councils, Ealing does not offer a service to residents for the management or treatment of urban foxes, but do provide advice to residents about measures that can be taken to reduce the risks posed by foxes. Many local authorities do not trap or destroy foxes. This is because direct control is not effective. Research has shown that trapping and killing foxes (or relocating them to rural areas) has little, if any, effect in reducing their numbers. When a fox is removed another fox will quickly take over the vacant territory.
A spokesman for Ealing Council said, "Although we do not offer treatment for foxes, we do send out `Fox Pack` information as required and/or direct people to the Council’s web page, which contains very good detail on foxes and how to 'deter' them.
"One of the key elements of managing urban foxes is to remove food sources, and it is for this reason the waste containment and management is important. Southfield Ward does boast the best street cleansing performance with 97% of all scheduled cleansing carried out to grade A standard since January of this year.
"Ensuring the vacant land does not present a problem to neighbours and communities Regulatory Services Officer, Envirocrime Prevention Officers and Empty Homes Enforcement Officers work together to identify and manage problem premises/land."
The Berrymede Road site was identified in the recent empty property audit of the borough. The landowner has been notified of the Council's interest to see this land returned for residential use and for the management of pests on this site.
The Council said it will pursue its enforcement policy to ensure that this land is managed in a way that does not have a negative impact on residents or businesses, and to achieve this land being returned for residential use.
June 24, 2010