Swift nesting boxes could be installed on new homes

Swift numbers are declining due to loss of habitat.

Swift numbers are declining due to loss of habitat. - Credit: Oscar Dewhurst

Councillors have agreed to proposals to install swift, bee or bat boxes on new homes.

West Norfolk council's environment and community panel was addressed by one of its members, Andy Bullen.

He said he was calling on the borough to support birds and animals which depended on people for survival such as swifts, bats, bees, hedgehogs and house martins.

He said swifts had declined from 133,000 pairs in 1994 to 52,000 in 2019, while hedgehogs had fallen by 30pc since 2000.

"If the decline continues it will not be long until we have few swifts in west Norfolk but we can do something about it," he said.

swift nesting box

A swift peeps out from a nesting box - Credit: Vanessa Dent

Mr Bullen proposed as the largest developer in West Norfolk, the council should include a swift, bee or bat box on every new property and install hedgehog highways.

Chair Colin Sampson seconded the proposal, saying it would "ruffle a few feathers".  He added he had seen far fewer swifts around his home in Downham Market in recent years.

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Councillors agreed, meaning the proposal will now be forwarded t the council's ruling cabinet and full council.