Conservationists aim to save Derbyshire's swifts


Derbyshire conservationists are pushing housebuilders to install specialised nesting bricks for Common Swifts.

The bricks are hollow and provide a home for the high-flying birds. This week, it was recommended 16 swift bricks be installed in a planned retirement apartment block in Chesterfield Road, Matlock.

Common Swift is getting a helping hand in Derbyshire (Robert Booth).

The Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project (DSCP), run by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Derbyshire Ornithological Society, aims to raise awareness of the declining species.

The DCSP's main aim, which is now increasingly included in planning applications for new housing, is to see developers install the so-called "swift bricks" in homes.

Nick Brown, who leads the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that if nothing is done "there probably won't be any swifts in 30 years".

He added: "Swifts of course cannot get into the house itself and they leave very little mess either in the box or down the wall outside – often people don't even realise they have swifts nesting."

In May 2021, the DSCP recommended a number of swift boxes should be installed in homes planned off Park Road in Swadlincote. It also asked for swift boxes to be installed on a planned apartment block in Derby city centre in 2020.

The swift bricks can be bought for around £30 or £40 each and do not need maintenance or replacement and are installed high in the eaves of buildings, out of direct sunlight.