Could the proposed new plans to build an additional 2 million homes over the next 20 years be a major boost to conservation of Britain’s wild birds? Surveys have shown that 70% of people with gardens will do something active to help wildlife. So with another 2 million homes that’s an additional 1.4 million households actively supporting wildlife.
The biggest action taken by people with gardens is feeding wildlife birds. Surveys have shown that between 60% and 70% of households with gardens will feed wild birds regularly. A recent survey has shown that the UK bird food market is valued at £200 million a year. We can break that down to households pretty easily.
In the UK there is estimated to be 25 million homes, 20% of which are flats and apartments. While some flats will have gardens most will not – but then not all houses being built now have gardens either so we can assume they will cancel each other out. That leaves 20 million homes with gardens. With 70% of households feeding birds we can divide the £200 million by the 14 million households that feed birds. This means each home is spending £14.28 a year on bird feeding. Personally I think this is an underestimate as I used to spend this amount each month not each year. But we’ll stick with this £14.28 a year figure.