Homes for Nature

Crest Nicholson has signed up to a major new initiative from the Future Homes Hub, to support wildlife on their new developments. The housebuilder has joined 19 of its peers, committing to the Homes for Nature initiative, which 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, for participating companies.

The initiative is a response to the widespread declines in some bird populations across the UK, including swifts, swallows, and house martins, and represents a major step towards providing the minimum of 300,000 nesting bricks and boxes thought to be required to support swift populations and many more bird species across the country.

In addition to birds the much-loved hedgehog is also under threat in the UK. New developments will also feature hedgehog highways as part of this voluntary commitment, providing small fence cut-outs that allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens. This voluntary commitment is in addition to the recently implemented Biodiversity Net Gain regulations, which requires all new developments to achieve at least a 10% increase in biodiversity.

Mark Kershaw, Head of Sustainability at Crest Nicholson said: “We are pleased to be one of the founding members of the Homes for Nature commitment, which strengthens our Sustainability ambitions.

By considering from the outset how our developments can enhance biodiversity, we can integrate the need to provide new homes and improve social infrastructure with environmental benefits, ensuring both people and nature can thrive.”

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.”

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.

The scheme will come into effect in September 2024 for all new planning applications. The initiative will run until at least 2030, with annual reporting to track progress and to identify further suitable measures that could be introduced to support other wildlife.