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Save our cockney sparrows

28 January 2014

When was the last time you saw a house sparrow?  You know those small, noisy birds seen around our towns that love our rubbish.  In London, the house sparrow population has decreased by nearly 70% in the last 20 years.  CEMEX UK and the RSPB are working together to save the ‘cockney’ house sparrow.

The staff on 12 CEMEX readymix concrete plants in London are helping the campaign by installing bird boxes on the sites and undertaking bird surveys to see how and if, sparrows use industrial sites. 

The nest boxes have just been erected to provide shelter and it is planned for grass and wild flower seeds to be planted in unused areas of the sites to provide food.

According to the RSPB, who have been investigating the cause of the decline in numbers, it seems that lack of food is a major factor.  The loss of wild flowers and grass areas in cities like London has resulted in less seeds and insects, two of the sparrow’s favourite foods.

Another factor found by a university study is the increased urban noise.  Hungry chicks calling for their parents cannot be heard, resulting in failure to thrive.

A former volunteer conservationist Chris Leese, Vice President Readymix and Mortars, CEMEX UK comments “Many years ago I worked as a volunteer conservationist so this project is close to my heart.  It is hard to believe that the once common house sparrow which we took for granted, has faced such significant decline and is now on the endangered list.  “Working alongside the RSPB in our London business we hope to help save the sparrow and bring it back to our communities, being the best for communities.” RSPB London Manager Martyn Foster said: “CEMEX UK recognises the value of partnership and we know that we’ll do more to restore London’s sparrow population by working together than we could operating alone. We’re losing our wildlife in our towns, cities and the wider countryside. All nature needs our help and this is a great step forward.”


  • For further information contact Elizabeth Young, email: telephone: 01932 583214 or Tim Webb, RSPB London Communications Manager on 020 7808 1246
  • Helping to build a Greater Britain – CEMEX’s vision is to help build a greater Britain by providing solutions to construction problems through our innovative building materials, our expertise, our understanding of the construction issues and our people.  We aim to create the best service and the best solutions for a better future.   
  • The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations
  • CEMEX is a global building solutions company and leading supplier of cement, ready-mixed concrete and aggregates. In the UK, CEMEX also produces asphalt, and has a significant share of the concrete- paving and block sectors. Additionally, the company is the leading supplier of concrete sleepers to the rail industry and a supplier of PFA cement additives. CEMEX has a national supply network in the UK with over 360 locations, to ensure that quality building materials are available to customers locally. For more information, see,
Building the Future
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