In Brighton, on the south coast of the UK, buildings are no longer just for humans. Every single new development over five metres tall now has to include at least one ‘beehive brick’ and three bird boxes.
So, what is a ‘beehive brick’? It’s a big, white block with holes in it that aims to offer the insects refuge for hibernation in winter. Simple. And how about the bird boxes? What are they like? Well, they’re designed specifically for swifts, which travel more than 6,000 miles from Africa to the UK in summer to nest, and they’re similarly sleek and stylish – so just the kind of thing you wouldn’t mind having on the side of your house.
Councillor Alan Robins praised the designers of the bird boxes, the RSPB, saying they ‘have come up with a simple scheme that will increase biodiversity and encourage wildlife to thrive in our city’. This is true: while protecting local habitats is a key issue for city authorities all over the world, it’s often not all that easy (or cheap) to implement policies that help. But with bird boxes costing £25 and prices for ‘bee bricks’ ranging from £6 to £20, in Brighton at least, that is changing. Us next, please!