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New houses to be tailored to swifts

Press release -

New houses to be tailored to swifts

Developers will be asked to fit new houses with nesting bricks so that migrating swifts will have a temporary home of their own.

The council’s planning department will be drawing up the necessary policy, but builders are being encouraged to install them voluntarily until then.

The move was prompted by Councillor Alan Quinn, Bury Council’s cabinet member for the environment.

“Swifts arrive from Africa in the spring to breed here but their numbers are in decline due to a lack of suitable nesting sites,” he said. “This is due to new buildings not having the nooks and crannies where swifts could get inside buildings to nest. Now swifts are on the RSPB's ‘amber’ list of conservation concern.

“If swifts don't use the nesting bricks then the humble British sparrow will! Again, sparrows are declining dramatically for the same reasons and they are now on the ‘red’ list after suffering a serious decline in numbers.”

Cllr Quinn added: “Although formal planning policy will take some time to draw up, until then I’m asking all housing developers to consider incorporating nesting bricks on a voluntary basis.”

Annabel Rushton from the RSPB in Greater Manchester said: “The swift is an iconic species; its appearance announces the start of summer as they swoop and soar above our gardens. Sadly, like many UK species the swift is in trouble. Their numbers have dropped dramatically, putting them at risk of disappearing completely in the UK.

“We are working hard to reverse this decline. Preserving existing nest sites and installing swift bricks in new buildings are some of the best ways to help. In previous centuries builders would often create spaces for swifts, but these techniques have fallen out of practice with modern homes.

“It is really heartening to hear that the use of swift bricks is being encouraged by Cllr Quinn, and that incorporating them into formal planning is in the pipeline too. We hope to see many more councils across the county adopting them, to keep spectacular swifts in our skies for the future.”

ENDS

Press release issued: 20 February 2018.

Picture: Cllr Alan Quinn with an example of a nesting brick.

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Bury Council consists of six towns, Bury, Ramsbottom, Tottington, Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich. Formed in April 1974 as a result of Local Government re-organisation it was one of the ten original districts that formed the County of Greater Manchester. The Borough has an area of 9,919 hectares (24,511 acres) and serves a population of 187,500.

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