Cabinet Minister steps up, then down

We’re rather impressed by the new guidance published by James Brokenshire, Housing Secretary until Boris Johnson’s scything of cabinet posts. Why has this pumped up our tyres? Well, it’s a significant step forward in doing what we’re passionate about – preserving biodiversity in the face of the challenges presented by housing developments. One excerpt from the guidance reads: – ‘Relatively small features can often achieve important benefits for wildlife, such as incorporating ‘swift bricks’ and bat boxes in developments’. We couldn’t agree more.

One of our followers, Lindsay Jerome in Havant, Hampshire has been one step ahead, demonstrating what a difference just one determined individual can make. Lindsay, writing in her local paper in Emsworth, recounts how she lobbied Havant Borough Council to make provision for birds and bats in the area’s latest 2,000 home site. Leading by example, Lindsay had one of our bird boxes retro-fitted in her own home and sent the council photos. The council were sufficiently impressed to announce a requirement to provide nesting accommodation for birds in every new house built in the area. Hedgehog-friendly fencing is also a recent planning stipulation in Havant. Many thanks Lindsay and congratulations on the recent arrival of a discerning family of Blue Tits in your own bird brick house!

Bat Bricks not always the answer.

We’ve noticed an increase in architects and developers asking about bat bricks. At first sight, they may appear an easy to fit and low cost solution, but they can lead to problems. Unlike a bat box, having passed through the bat brick aperture, bats have access to the entire structure of the building. This could be undesirable for all sorts of reasons, and there could even be legal issues if the resident bats were disturbed as part of e.g. a future extension.

So when are bat bricks the better solution? Well, they’re perfect in a bespoke bat tower (more about these in a future blog), or could be appropriate in a small, quiet outbuilding where nothing much goes on. We certainly wouldn’t recommend them being fitted in 10 Downing Street.