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Calling all residents of Southampton....

Southampton City Council are currently running a public consultation on the proposed "Local Plan" for the city which effectively dictates how the city will be developed in the next 20 years. If you think the council should legislate for Swift bricks to be automatically included in all new developments in the city then this is your opportunity to tell them.

A similar exercise in Brighton recently resulted in the following text being included in the Local Plan, so your comments can have a significant impact:

"- Swift bricks incorporated in the vast majority of new developments in the city” and “All new build, refurbishment, and renovation schemes should incorporate swift boxes and bee bricks where possible.”

This is what we want in Southampton, isn't it?

So how do you comment?

2. Click on "Have Your Say". This takes you to an on-line questionnaire

3. Work through the questions until you get to the following page

Click on "Environment and Climate Change" and this takes you to a page which allows you to agree or disagree with various options, including the option to improve biodiversity in the city. At the bottom of the page is a space for your comments and it is here you can have your say on how important it is that Swift bricks should be routinely included in all new developments in the city. There are a number of reasons why integrating Swift bricks is important and one suggestion is to include a comment similar to this:

"A number of urban species of bird, in particular Swifts and House Sparrows, are entirely dependent on man-made structures for nesting in urban environments. Both species are undergoing drastic national declines caused mainly by the loss of nesting sites on existing houses due to re-roofing and replacement of soffits and fascias. The inclusion of “Swift bricks” in new developments re-creates the natural holes and crevices used by these declining species and also provides nest sites for other species such as Great Tit, House Martin and roosting spaces for many other species, especially in the winter. The routine integration of Swift bricks in new developments, therefore, provides substantial biodiversity net gain in a way which is easy, cost-effective, maintenance-free and aesthetically pleasing.

In addition, Swifts are a communal species and are universally loved by the residents of areas lucky enough to have them. In many areas the arrival of the Swifts in May is eagerly awaited and there are a number of communities which organise welcome events in their local schools, arrange installation of nest boxes and participate in surveys of the breeding Swifts. In short, Swifts stimulate community cohesion and cooperation.

Secondly, the health benefits of nature are well documented. Research indicates that exposure to nature has beneficial effects on our mental and physical health, and overall well-being; people just feel happier when they are surrounded by wildlife. Swifts provide exposure to wildlife in the most urban of settings. Additionally, Swifts can provide educational opportunities, giving children their first contact with nature on their doorsteps.

In conclusion, we urge Southampton City Council to ensure that Swift bricks are integrated in all suitable new developments as this simple and cheap measure will surely provide an exceptional return on investment as Swifts or House Sparrows move in, bringing all the benefits described above."

Alternatively, you can simply email your comments to the following email address using Southampton City Vision as the header.

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