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‘Naked’ campaigner urges Government to take action to help swifts

A “naked” nature campaigner has attended a meeting with Government wearing only silhouettes of swifts as part of a campaign to help the birds.

Hannah Bourne-Taylor was accompanied by Tory peer and ex-minister Zac Goldsmith for the meeting in Westminster to urge the Government to mandate “swift bricks” in new homes and extensions.

The nest boxes – hollow bricks with an entry hole – provide nesting opportunities in buildings for the migratory birds, who are red listed due to concerns over their conservation status.

Ms Bourne-Taylor said: “According to estimates by the British Trust for Ornithology, as few as 45,000 pairs of swifts remain in Britain with their population in rapid decline.

“Our home is their home and without swift bricks, there is no safe, permanent nesting habitat for swifts anywhere in this country.

“I feel it is necessary to make a bold move again to remind the government that the very existence of these beloved birds dubbed our ‘icons of summer’ is at stake.”

She said all the Government had to do was add a requirement to building regulations mandating the £30 bricks.

A swift brick carried by Tory peer Zac Goldsmith
Swift bricks provide a place for the birds to nest (Victoria Jones/PA)

Lord Goldsmith said; “The proposal is so simple. Swift bricks are sustainable, require no maintenance and can be added simply as a brick when a new home is built.

“Modern homes are structurally unaccommodating for nature, in particular for cavity nesting birds like swifts.

“It is a key reason their numbers are collapsing and why they have been added to the dreaded red list of the most endangered species.

“This simple step would help turn those numbers around and I can’t see any reason at all why the government would resist.”