Housebuilder, Barratt Developments, which includes both the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands, is set to install swift bricks across a selection of its developments within the North East, in an aim to boost the numbers of swifts in the area.
Barratt Developments North East will be installing swift bricks at a select number of developments across the region, including South Fields in Morpeth and Blossom Park in Pegswood.
Barratt Developments North East also has plans to extend this initiative further by installing swift bricks at a selection of additional developments across the region including City Edge in Newcastle, Cherry Tree Park in Sunderland and Elba Park in Houghton Le Spring.
The work forms part of a corporate partnership with the RSPB to help give nature a home by supporting wildlife on new housing developments. Building new homes for the swifts is an important goal of this partnership with the UK’s population of swifts having fallen to fewer than 90,000 pairs, down from 150,000 pairs two decades ago.
Swifts are an urban species of bird which use spaces in rooftops or in old buildings to make their nests. The species has seen this serious decline in numbers partly because modern building methods can eliminate the swifts’ access to rooftops and as old buildings are demolished so reducing available nesting sites.
Every year the swift helps announce the arrival of summer as they complete a 6,000 mile migration to nest and raise their young in the UK. They are one of the fastest birds in the world, able to reach up to 70mph and often not touching the ground for up to three years at a time.
Carl Sobolewski, Managing Director at Barratt Developments North East, commented: “Our aim is to try and give nature a home, so by installing swift bricks into houses as we build them it is a simple and effective way to do just that. Swifts are an iconic bird that used to be seen everywhere. By giving them new nesting sites hopefully it will help give them a boost so we can see more of them.”
Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB, said: “There’s nothing quite like seeing and hearing swifts soar over rooftops as they perform breath-taking aerobatics at incredible speeds on a summer’s evening. Although their calls can make it seem like there are a lot of them, unfortunately this is a bird we are very concerned about as there are less than half the number we used to see in our skies in the 1990s. Housebuilders like Barratt are able to help our swifts, and their commitment to create homes for them as well as people will make a big difference in keeping these amazing birds in our skies.”