ANIMAL lovers are calling for the installation of more nesting sites for swifts to help stem their declining numbers.

In just a few months’ time, these small birds will be making their epic 6,000-mile journey from Mozambique to the UK.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is spearheading a campaign to convince Brighton and Hove City Council to build nesting spots such as swift bricks or boxes on new housing developments outlined in its City Plan.

Activists argue there are not enough nesting places in the city and say it is cost efficient to set them up.

The birds stay in the UK for a short time between May and August.

Chloe Rose, South East conservation officer for the RSPB said: “Swifts are a key focus of our work in Brighton and Hove due to their rapidly declining numbers and the fact that they are solely reliant on urban habitats to nest in.

“Having the stipulation within the City Plan for swift bricks to be installed in all new housing developments would give swifts ongoing security, and protect this species for generations to come.

“In other cities we have managed to get swift bricks included in the local city plan and we are pleased to work with partners, businesses, local councillors from all parties and residents alike to encourage everyone to make a home for these vulnerable and special birds.”

Conservative councillors Robert Nemeth, who represents Wish ward, and Andrew Wealls, who represents Central Hove, are also backing the campaign.

Along with the RSPB, they consulted the tourism, development and culture committee and requested urgent action to build more swift boxes.

Cllr Nemeth said: “We are delighted to really get behind this campaign.

“It’s clearly a no-brainer that a small investment will make a huge difference to the city’s swift population.”

Mr Wealls said: “There are simply not enough new nesting opportunities in new developments across Brighton and Hove.

“Without a clear policy that compensates for the loss of the nests and provides new opportunities in new developments, there is no guarantee swifts will thrive in Brighton and Hove in the future.”

A city council spokesman said: The tourism, development and culture committee agreed to ask officers to come back with a report on what changes need to be made to both local planning policy and process to ensure that a vast majority of new developments in the city incorporate swift boxes or bee bricks.”