The House of Lords has recently debated an amendment to make swift bricks mandatory on all new houses built in England. This proposed change to the levelling up bill was tabled by Conservative peer Zac Goldsmith, and the amendment has already been debated in Parliament in July, where it received cross-party support.
Swift bricks are a cheap, effective way of providing homes for cavity-nesting species such as house martins, starlings, house sparrows, swifts and many other small birds and invertebrates.
For many of the bird species, loss of nesting sites is a major factor in their decline, with the number of migratory swifts having declined by 60% between 1995 – 2020, and estimated numbers of breeding pairs falling from 59,000 to around 48,000.
Although a seemingly small change, the inclusion of swift bricks, and other inbuilt cavities into new developments as well as incentives to retroactively insert them into existing buildings can make a huge difference for biodiversity, and only help to grow the connection between people and the nature on their doorsteps.