As we continue to develop new housing estates and developments, it's essential that we take steps to protect and enhance the natural environment. One way to do this is by installing swift boxes and Swift Blocks on buildings to provide habitat for these birds. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to ensure that developers are following through on their commitments to install these boxes. That's where individuals can step in and take action to ensure swift boxes are being installed as required.
Why Swift Boxes are Important
Swifts are migratory birds that spend the summer months in the UK to breed and nest. However, their natural nesting sites, such as crevices in old buildings and hollow trees, are becoming increasingly scarce due to modern building practices. This is where swift boxes come in. Swift boxes are specially designed structures that mimic the birds' natural nesting sites, providing a safe and secure place for them to breed.
Installing swift blocks and swift lofts is essential because these birds play an important role in the ecosystem. They feed on insects, including mosquitoes, and help to control their populations, as well as forming a part of the food chain themselves. The sight of screeching swifts filling our skies goes hand in hand with our belief that summer has, at last, arrived.
A Green&Blue SwiftBlock installed in a new build.
How Individuals Can Get Involved
As an individual, there are several things you can do to help ensure swift boxes are being installed on new housing estates and developments.
Check planning permissions - Before any new development takes place, it must receive planning permission. Check the conditions of the permission and see if there are any requirements for swift boxes to be installed. If there are, keep an eye out during the construction phase to ensure they are being installed correctly.
Contact the developer - If you're concerned that swift boxes are not being installed as required, contact the developer responsible for the project. Ask them about their plans for swift boxes and when they will be installed. If they're not responsive, you can also contact the local planning authority or wildlife conservation groups for support.
Get involved in local conservation groups - Joining a local conservation group can be an effective way to get involved in monitoring swift boxes and other environmental initiatives in your area. These groups often work closely with developers to ensure that environmental concerns are taken into account.
Install swift boxes yourself - If you're a homeowner, consider installing swift boxes on your property. You can purchase pre-made boxes like the Green&Blue SwiftBlock or SwiftLoft or you can build them yourself using instructions provided by conservation groups, the RSPB has some great guides, or Swift Conservation or the other swift groups up and down the country. Installing swift boxes on your property not only provides a safe place for swifts to breed but also helps to increase their overall population.
Swift boxes are an essential tool in preserving the natural environment and protecting the biodiversity of our communities. While it's the responsibility of developers to install these boxes, individuals can play a crucial role in ensuring they are being installed correctly. By checking planning permissions, contacting developers, joining local conservation groups, and even installing boxes on your own property, you can help to create more habitat for these beautiful birds. Let's all do our part to protect the natural world around us.