Snail’s progress on Swift Bricks

The homelessness plight of some of our aerial fast mover friends came up a few months ago in a petition that we signed and shared with our social media networks. Like all good campaigns it is a collaboration between highly motivated individuals and organisations championing what little Biodiversity we have left.

On Monday 10th July I spent some of my very valuable time watching the debate on #SwiftBricks in Parliament. What are Swift Bricks I hear some of you asking? Well, if you are fortunate enough to have Swifts, Swallows or House Martins living either in the eves of your home or in other homes in your areas then you will know that in the summer months these magnificent creatures are busy breeding and building their nests in the nooks and crannies of human dwellings. Like far too many other species our fast moving friends are in rapid decline with Swift numbers, for example, having dropped by 50% in the past 30 years.

Swift Boxes

Swift Boxes are sometimes used by the few enthusiastic individuals that care enough about nature to make minor adjustments to their castles so to live in better harmony with wildlife. These, of course, are just wooden boxes that people purchase or even build themselves.

If you are thinking of having a go at building a box or two which we highly recommend, especially if you have children then remember not to use any chemical preservatives. Using preservatives may extend the life of the box but theses chemicals are highly toxic and harmful to the birds.

Hopefully, more and more people will soon start taking measures to welcome not only the fast movers but other birds and other wildlife into their homes and gardens. We need to do this because we are the ones that have made Mother Nature very sick indeed and there is an awful lot of healing to be done. Unfortunately, voluntary measures will not be enough and politicians must take action and bring in policies to assist the healing process. One way to increase the amount of suitable habitat is to have Swift Bricks put in to the house at the point of construction. This costs practically nothing and would be a great way to increase the chances of these species surviving an ever changing climate and many other hazards like #Pesticides and rapidly decreasing insect populations.

Ok, so who is going to put the bricks in all these wonderful new totally sustainable housing developments? That sounds like a stupid question and an obvious answer would be brick layers. But brick layers work for construction companies and housing developers who havenโ€™t got the greatest reputation for green thinking and are usually at loggerheads with environmentalists over construction vs destruction of green belt. I think I can safely say that they definitely arenโ€™t on each otherโ€™s Christmas card list. So the idea is to make the inclusion of swift bricks mandatory in all new builds and for that to happen a petition to Parliament to debate and then more importantly take action was necessary.

Our attention was first drawn to the issue by Hannah Bourne-Taylor and her personal and extremely passionate blend of Art and Activism:

The Petition

Looks like we were not the only ones to take notice of the issue. After all of Hannahโ€™s et al. efforts 109,000 people signed the petition and going over the hundred thousand mark guaranteed the debate:

The Debate

It started well with enthusiastic contributions from several Members who seemed to have done their homework. Some Members even shared stories of their own personal experiences and their commitment to conservation:

Well, looks like Mike Avery was bang on the money with his tweet above. After all those positive contributions to the debate explaining how incredibly easy and cheap this would be the Minister was having none of it. I donโ€™t know her name I really canโ€™t be bothered to look up all the names of the politicians because they keep coming and going. However, the young woman who gave the blah blah blah on behalf of the government informed the Members that the government had decided to do nothing but defer the decision to local authorities. This decision would, of course, throw the proverbial spanner in the works of the whole campaign. Campaigners would be forced to lobby local governments and local new housing developmentโ€™s one at a time. Then the Minister started praising all the government’s other green stuff which obviously didnโ€™t take long. She was in essence trying to change the subject or at least trying to deflect from this incredible miscarriage of justice.

Not sure what they are protecting or more probably who they are running interference for. If they canโ€™t even agree to do a wave of a pen policy like this that would mean so much for biodiversity how can the nation possibly trust them to come up with the bold and pioneering policies that are required to #SaveOurWildIsles.

What next

Hannah seems to be very disappointed with the outcome as you would expect. However, she doesnโ€™t sound like a young woman who is going to go away anytime soon.

How to get involved

Please check out Hannah’s internet presence and get involved with the campaign on social media. We need all the Cyber Eco Warriors we can muster. We will be trying our best to keep our readers informed and do what we can to promote and support the development of the campaign. If you are interested in receiving updates on this issue and others then please sign up to receive our News From The Front bulletins.

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