BUSINESSES in Blaenavon have joined the Town Council in trying to promote the town as a safe habitat for an endangered bird species.

Since 1995, the number of swifts in the UK has more than halved, with one of the main factors thought to be losing nesting sites due to house renovations.

Blaenavon Town Council is hoping to reverse the trend by installing a dozen nest boxes in and around the town centre to replace sites that have disappeared over the years.


Businesses including the Lion Hotel, Forgeside Rugby Club and Jadeni hair salon have embraced the plan, and the Council Offices will also hosting a box.

Project lead Cllr Jackie Huybs said: “I always thought Blaenavon had a healthy swifts population, but lots of residents have told me that they remember there being many more when they were younger.

“It’s fantastic that local businesses and residents have taken this project to their hearts."

The Welsh Parliament swift species champion Jenny Rathbone MS said: “There has been a disturbing decline in the number of swifts nesting in Wales because new buildings often lack the nooks and crannies that swifts use to nest in.

“The Town Council's action is so important to help to prevent the decline of swifts in Wales and across the world.”

Mayor of Blaenavon Cllr Alan Jones said: “I’m passionate about birds and all wildlife - in fact, the last week or so, it’s been great to hear cuckoos near my house.

“I’m delighted that Blaenavon is becoming a swift-friendly town. We know there are already a few such towns in England and Scotland, and that there’s a big project in Cardiff Bay, but we believe we’re the first town in Wales to take this kind of action in trying to halt their decline.”