Developers Resources

Species Enhancements for Urban Sites? Try a Swift Nesting Scheme

It can be difficult to include species enhancements on sites that have a low baseline for ecology, for example sites in urban locations, or sites that have a small development footprint. However, many council’s will still condition species enhancements to be included within the new development, often citing their Local Plan’s policies regarding nature conservation, as well as citing the National Planning Policy Framework.  

Many councils will also have their own biodiversity action plans or conservation strategies, which aim to target declining or priority species in their area. If you want to know more about targeting these council-specific species (to really impress your local authority and decrease the chance of having to amend your development plans) check out the advice halfway down in this article.

Swifts stay airborne for 10 months straight - BBC Science Focus Magazine

One great way o including species enhancements, without taking up valuable space in your urban development, is to include a swift nesting box scheme within the design. An insect box, or even a bat box may be somewhat tokenistic if your development is in a very urban area. However, swifts feed on aerial plankton 50-100m in the open air, often above towns and cities.

In the wild, swifts would nest high up, typically in colonies. They will not land on a building and their nests require very little maintenance. They cause very little mess and they will rarely defecate in, or near their nest.

These days, having nest boxes for birds it is a frequent condition when it comes to obtaining planning permission. This is in part due to modern buildings lacking in spaces, crevices etc. for wildlife; when compared to older buildings.

Fitting Swift Nest Places
External Swift Box
Habibat Swift Box | Habibat
Internal Swift Box

Swift boxes come in two main varieties, integrated boxes and external boxes. Where possible, internal ones are usually considered to be preferable as they are considered to be a more long-term habitat. However, the external ones are probably preferable to building developers and home owners for practical reasons.

For more detailed information on how to install swift boxes, this site (Swift-Conservation.org) has very detailed information on all things swift.

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