Petition Legislate to ensure swift bricks are installed in all new buildings in Wales.

Swifts are the fastest birds in level flight and can sleep, eat, drink and mate on the wing. Their cries define Welsh summers. Sadly, they are rapidly declining – down 72% in the last 30 yrs. Swifts nest in holes in buildings. Renovation makes them homeless, and new-builds currently offer no cavities. Without more nesting options, swifts will disappear. Incorporating swift bricks into all new developments would help swifts (and other struggling birds like house martins and sparrows) to recover.

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British Trust for Ornithology data show Welsh swifts declined by 72% from 1995 - 2018. They are Red Listed as Birds of Conservation Concern. Swifts face many challenges, but nest site loss is a major factor. Due to the scale of Welsh decline and ongoing destruction of their unprotected nest sites, only a mandatory approach will provide enough new nest spaces to allow swifts to recover to anything like former levels. Regulatory or legislative change is needed for this.

Swift bricks are nest-boxes that can be built into a wall. They are BSI standardised, affordable, sustainable, easy to install, don’t need maintaining / replacing, and help other declining hole-nesting birds.

Swifts’ lives have been linked to ours for centuries. Their connection with buildings is captured in an old Welsh name – gwrach yr eglwys (‘church sprite’). Swifts are a charismatic species and enliven built up areas, inspiring people and communities. They depend on us - their disappearance would be a real loss.

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