House Builders Urged to Consider Wildlife

Swift
Photo credit: notflic

Planning authorities in the U.K. are increasingly uttering a familiar refrain: Can't we all just get along? This growing consideration for the impact a development has on wildlife has led to the emergence of a new breed of environmentally aware developers and consultants, says BBC News.

Last year, the government published Planning Policy Statement 9, which some people interpret as nothing short of groundbreaking. "A planner who interprets it as we would could theoretically reject a development proposal that did no ecological harm whatsoever on the grounds that it did no ecological good," says Mike Wells from the consultancy Biodiversity by Design. "It is no longer acceptable not to be bad—you have to compete on being good."Edward Mayer, who runs London's Swifts, a consultancy that encourages people to provide nesting places for swifts, encourages developers to make one of those provisions homes for feathered denizens.

Swifts mate for life and return to the same nest every year. While the birds tend to nest in roofs, building regulations say new roofs have to be sealed. "They have no time to waste looking for nest places or looking for partners because they have to produce a perfect chick," Mr Mayer says.

"When a swift leaves the nest it has to be aerodynamically perfect. It has to leave the nest and then fly straight to Africa and keep flying for two to three years before it can breed," he adds.

A German company called Schwegler presents one solution in the form of a hollow brick with an entrance hole. This brick can be installed into new housing developments to instantly provide nests for swifts, and is just one of a range of products that help builders provide homes "for everything from short-toed treecreepers to hedgehogs," says BBC News. Now that's something to chirp about. ::BBC News

See also: ::The Case of the Vanishing Birds, ::Top-Twenty Birds: Birder's World Feature, and ::Using Window Design To Protect Birds

Tags: Architecture | Biodiversity | Birds | Conservation | United Kingdom

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