Conservationists applaud swift response to K Village plans

Swifts are to be offered more nesting sites when the K Village site in Kendal is redeveloped, following approaches from local conservationists to the developer, Lou Kendal Limited.
Swift in flight

© Stefan Johansson

The planning consent includes provision for 15 swift bricks - hollow blocks which are sized to hold a nest – to be fitted beneath the eaves of the Lound Road frontage of the building, and that they will be maintained for the lifetime of the development.

Ros Taylor from Kendal Swifts said: “We are delighted that this has been agreed, and I would like to thank Cumbria Wildlife Trust so much for the support that they have given us. We would not have been able to get this condition without the support we have had from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, RSPB and others.”

David Harpley, Conservation Manager at Cumbria Wildlife Trust explains why swift bricks are so important: “The number of swifts in the town has declined over recent years. Around 10 years ago there were still great flocks of swifts chasing and screaming at each other above Kendal and along the river but numbers have declined radically.”

It’s thought that the decline is partly down to not enough consideration being made of the birds’ nesting sites when buildings are renovated and re-pointed. David says: “Most swifts nest in gaps between the tops of walls and below the eaves of buildings, so if these gaps are filled or the buildings are knocked down they’ll struggle to find another suitable nest. Including swift bricks in new buildings is a great way to ensure these much-loved birds don’t lose their nesting sites. We hope that other developers will include this simple and inexpensive measure in future new builds.”

Kendal Swifts are part of Swifts in the Community, whose aim is to conserve swifts by preserving and enhancing the traditional nesting sites of swifts in the area’s local towns and villages.