Calls for city newbuilds to take swifts into account

Colin Hynson, has been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to his idea to restart Norwich trade Sch

Colin Hynson, who has started a petition calling for swift bricks to be used in housing developments - Credit: Archant

A petition has been launched calling for the nesting habits of swifts and other small birds to be taken into account in new city housing developments.

Started by bird enthusiast Colin Hynson, the petition to Norwich City Council is asking for it to make sure any new housing development includes specialised bricks designed to allow swifts to nest in them.

It was started earlier this week by 58-year-old Mr Hynson, inspired by his childhood fondness for the birds, and has already been signed more than 400 times. 

He said: "I remember when I was a child swifts would fly all over the city and the sights and songs would be tremendous.

"However, they just seem to be around as much any more, which is such a shame - and this is because there are fewer places to nest."

He said that historically, the birds would make nests in the eaves of building roofs, but as building methods have altered over the years these spaces are not as readily available.

Some developments though make use of swift bricks - specifically designed bricks with holes bored out, allowing just enough space for a swift or similar sized bird to make a home.

And Mr Hynson is calling on Norwich City Council to lobby new developers to include these in their designs, or if the building is not brick-based to provide bird boxes instead.

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He said: "As far as the overall costs of developments go you'd think the difference would be pennies to the homebuilders - but would make such a difference to the birds.

"It would be a tiny thing that would have a big effect."

This is not the first time somebody has stood up for the plight of the birds in the city though, with a similar petition submitted to the council last year.

A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “We have previously received a petition around this, which was addressed in council in September.

“In conditions for development of larger applications, we regularly include bird boxes of various kinds as well as bat boxes and hedgehog gaps.

“We value the opportunity of increasing biodiversity, and limiting the environmental impact of developments in the city.”