Planning: what can you do?
If Hampshire County Council is included there are 16 planning authorities in Hampshire. Each authority processes hundreds of planning applications per month, a few of which are for developments of 5 or more houses or flats and we aim to log and review these applications. Each application is different and will be at different stages of the planning approval process. Overall our approach is to first check whether the application includes a specification for Swift bricks. If not, does the ecologist report (if there is one) recommend Swift bricks? If not, what does it recommend and why? We would normally submit a detailed comment explaining why Swifts need to be conserved and how easily this can be done using Swift bricks. On occasion we'd contact the ecologist with messages of support or, more likely, an explanation of how we consider their recommendations could be improved. The developers can also be contacted with details of Swift bricks and how these can assist them towards biodiversity net-gain. We also aim to make ourselves known to the biodiversity officers at each authority.
We are currently arranging training for volunteers wishing to help us with this. You need only a few hours a month, internet access and some experience with computer work. See here for more details or email