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Housebuilders agree to new Homes for Nature commitment

Housebuilders agree to new Homes for Nature commitment
Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

UK homebuilders have signed up to a major new initiative to support wildlife on their new developments.

The Homes for Nature commitment will see a bird-nesting brick or box installed for every new home built, as well as hedgehog highways created as standard on every new development taken through planning from September 2024.

Homes for Nature was developed by the industry-led On-Site Nature Measures Working Group, convened by the Future Homes Hub, an independent organisation established to enable the new homes sector to meet the climate and environmental challenges.

This voluntary commitment is in addition to the recently implemented Biodiversity Net Gain regulations, which require all new developments to achieve 10% more wildlife.

Major step to support bird populations

There are already 19 homebuilders signed up to the scheme, who build more than 90,000 homes per year between them.

Homes for Nature therefore represents a major step towards providing the minimum of 300,000 nesting bricks and boxes required to support swift populations and many more bird species across the country.

As well as integrated nest bricks, boxes and hedgehog highways, homebuilders are encouraged to incorporate additional features, such as bat roosts, insect bricks and hibernacula.

Nature-led sustainable urban drainage systems and pollinator-friendly landscaping will help to make even more homes for nature on new developments.

Ed Lockhart, chief executive of the Future Homes Hub, said: “Homes for Nature is a fantastic opportunity to create many more homes for wildlife, bring people closer to nature and at the same time provide a helping hand to some much-loved and critically endangered species.

“A commitment to installing integral nest bricks or boxes and creating hedgehog highways as standard is a simple but effective way to support our precious wildlife, including the iconic swift and hedgehog.”

Becky Ingham, chief executive of Action for Swifts, added: “For centuries, swifts have shared our buildings and homes by nesting in the nooks and crannies of old-style buildings. In recent years, the loss of nesting sites has had a major detrimental effect on this red-listed species.

“It’s heartening to now see the commitment from so many major developers towards installing integral bricks, which will last the lifetime of the building and provide our swifts and other cavity nesting birds with long-term habitat.”

The scheme will come into effect in September 2024 for all new planning applications and run until at least 2030.

The commitment currently applies to low-rise houses, with further work underway with industry to identify an appropriate nature positive approach for new apartments and high-rise buildings.

The full list of builders signed up to Homes for Nature is:

  • Barratt Developments
  • Bellway
  • Bloor Homes
  • Cala Homes
  • Crest Nicholson
  • Croudace Homes
  • Deanfield Homes
  • Duchy of Cornwall
  • Durkan Homes
  • Hayfield Homes
  • Keepmoat
  • Miller Homes
  • Orbit Homes
  • Persimmon
  • Redrow
  • Strata Homes
  • Taylor Wimpey
  • Thakeham
  • Vistry Group


Related: Homebuilding giant Taylor Wimpey saw profits fall 50% last year