WINCHESTER City Council are to build up to 100 nesting boxes for swifts on local properties thanks to a new partnership.

The collaboration with Hampshire Swift Group will allow the council to provide the birds with much-needed nesting across the city.

Due to a reduction in the number of suitable sites and lack of insect food, the population of swifts has fallen.

Winchester City Council Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Cllr Jan Warwick, said: “This work has been made possible by Winchester City Council investing in biodiversity and employing a new ecologist who is leading on this project.

“We are delighted that this work is resulting in these new boxes being erected, along with other features to protect and improve biodiversity.”

The boxes will provide new nesting places for the birds as part of a large re-roofing programme being undertaken by the council in Highcliffe and Stanmore.

Tim Norriss, of Hampshire Swifts, said: “Swifts fly thousands of miles from southern Africa to Britain to breed but the suitable nesting sites are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to modern construction methods.

“Sadly, the British swift population has declined by about 50% in the last 20 years. By providing artificial nesting sites, we are helping to halt the decline of swifts and other birds.”