Sunday, 24 February 2019

Campaign to change the law to ensure every new house has 'Swift bricks'

We need to look after our swifts - and in Exeter there's been a project underway to give them a home:
Futures Forum: Swifts over Exeter >>> "showcasing the potential for urban green spaces to benefit wildlife"

​Meanwhile, the 38 Degrees campaigning group have a petition out to encourage us all to do our bit to give swifts a home: ​

Swifts in East Devon

Every summer, Swifts travel thousands of miles to Britain. Since the Roman era they’ve found homes in nooks and crannies of British buildings. [1] But the design of new buildings means these homes are rapidly disappearing - and so are the Swifts. In the past 20 years, the number of swifts has halved. [2]

But there’s a simple and easy solution. By adding special “Swift bricks” into new build houses, we can make sure Swifts have somewhere to nest. [3] Germany and Poland have already changed the law to make sure every new house has one of these bird nest bricks - there’s no reason we couldn’t do the same. [4]

So 38 Degrees member and bird-lover Norman has set up a petition calling on the minister for housing to make sure Swift bricks are in new homes across Britain. But the minister will only listen if he knows the public are behind Norman.
Will you sign the petition today to show him the public want him to do more to help our special summer visitors?

Save our Swifts | Campaigns by You
“It is brilliant to see people like Norman taking the initiative to fight for the future of swifts. We are very worried because these beautiful and awe-inspiring birds are in severe decline. It’s heartening to see more and more people calling for measures to help them thrive in the UK. Thank you Norman and everyone who supports this campaign.” –
Guy Anderson, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Last spring, thousands of us came together to plant bee-friendly seeds in our gardens. [5] Protecting the species that make our summers special is something that together we’re good at.

The days are getting longer, the sun is creeping through the clouds and spring is on the way. In just a few months Swifts will make the journey to Britain for the summer. [6] If we all take action today, we can make sure they have a place to nest when they get here.
Will you sign the petition and show the minister the public want Swift bricks on every new home?

Save our Swifts | Campaigns by You

The 38 Degrees team 

[1] RSPB: About Swifts:
Swift Conservation: Keeping the skies alive:
Action for Swifts: Countdown clock until Swifts return:
[2] The Telegraph (paywall): Swifts herald the start of summer, but don’t take their visits for granted:
The Guardian: Why we should care about the vanishing of the swifts:
[3] Action for Swifts: Guidance for including bird boxes in residential development:
RSPB: Swift Bricks:
Sky News: Swift action urged to help Britain's beloved birds:
[4] Tonio Schaub , Peter. J Meffert and Gerald Kerth: Nest-boxes for Common Swifts Apus apus as compensatory measures in the context of building renovation: efficacy and predictors of occupancy
“In Germany, due to legislative regulations, it is a common practice to install nest-boxes as compensation for destroyed nest sites of birds.”
[5] See note [1]
[6] 38 Degrees Blog: Bee seeds are starting to sprout:
38 Degrees Blog: Bees:
38 Degrees Blog: Seeds for Bees:

Home - 38 Degrees

To: Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing

Save our Swifts

Save our Swifts
Legislate that all UK house builders shall install Swift bricks in all new-build homes, and give incentives for retrofitting nest boxes on older properties.

Why is this important?

Swifts numbers have declined across the UK by 53% between 1995 and 2016. By incorporating a Swift brick in all new houses we can save these beautiful birds.
On fine summer evenings Swifts gather in "low flying screaming parties" as they chase each other around the buildings where they nest.
Because they rely on eating insects, Swifts can only live in the UK for a short period in summer when insects are plentiful. Swifts migrate south to Africa in August and return to us in the following May.
Let's make sure we continue to have Swifts every summer.
Swift photo by Mark Ranner

Save our Swifts | Campaigns by You

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