The following advice for Westminster residents are measures that can be taken to significantly reduce and possibly eliminate, fox incursion.
Aim to keep overgrown gardens and derelict land clear of vegetation which could hide a fox's earth. Remove structures which could provide shelter, such as abandoned vehicles. Safely seal access to disused out-houses that have missing bricks which could provide access to the internal under-floor areas. Safely seal bases of garden sheds which do not reach the ground. If you think a fox is present, test this by placing something like loose twigs around open areas of the shed base perimeter. If the twigs are still in place after a few days it probably means there is no fox. If still in doubt or foxes are clearly seen or heard, it is advised to wait until the season is over and then have the den emptied before sealing the shed base.
Although the fox is capable of climbing most garden walls, like most animals it will usually follow the path of least resistance. The best way to disrupt access to you garden is to erect a fence, ensuring access is gated to the same height. Panels should be a minimum of 2 metres high and preferably have smooth non-grip top ridges. If you have pets in pens, or keep chickens, the fence should start at least 45cm under the soil to help disrupt the fox from digging under it.
Keep pet foods indoors and bird food in feeders and do not throw food scraps on the garden. Use pet flaps with electronic locking systems to prevent foxes from entering kitchens following the scent of food. Place food refuse in plastic bags and into bins with the lid firmly shut.
Commercial animal repellents are available, but must be approved for use against foxes under the Control of Pesticides Regulation 1986 and used according to the manufacturer’s specification. The fox’s droppings need to be cleared and the area disinfected before applying the repellent, in order to confuse the fox into thinking the garden does not form part of its run.
Foxes do not like noise, devices such as the ‘Scare crow’ use heat and movement detection. In addition to noise, it also shoots water, to combine a harmless deterrent both audible and physical.
Foxes are protected under several laws. Please contact us on free phone: 0800 3580514 or, visit your local City of Westminster Library for further details before carrying out urban fox deterrence.
Fox deterrence helpline: 01892 826 222