A city academic has warned Birmingham is at risk of more floods – and called for a new tax to combat it.
Birmingham has been deluged by three major floods and it requires “drastic” action, he warns.
Alister Scott, professor of environment and spatial planning at Birmingham City University, believes the weather which has battered parts of the city should usher in a rethink on how we plan spaces, cities and countryside and the impact of climate change on everyone.
And he believes while a climate change tax would not be a popular choice, it is “badly needed” to fund long term schemes to protect homeowners, businesses and the environment.
Flooding in Hall Green
He said: “With the EU referendum looming and other short term economic priorities, the idea of a climate change tax for up-front investment would undoubtedly be perceived a vote loser.
“But up-front investment in climate proofing our cities and countryside is essential and will require both retrofitting existing infrastructure and housing as well as ensuring that future developments are more resilient to take full account of future flood and drought risk.”
Large swathes of the city, including Selly Oak, Alum Rock, Sutton Coldfield, Great Barr and Perry Barr suffered a major battering from storms.
It left hundreds of homeowners facing damage – and Prof Scott, an expert in ecosystem services and environmental planning, said he remained concerned about the future.
He sees a climate tax as a way to ensure public finances are available to tackle not just flooding but the other issues brought about by climate change.
He added: “As part of the newly enacted Housing and Planning Act 2016, the government kicked the idea of sustainable drainage systems into the long grass of a parliamentary inquiry.
River Rea turned into raging torrent
“Such schemes help to manage water but also come with a cost which unfortunately nobody seems to want to pay for except of course those homeowners and businesses that suffer.
“As we have seen nature can be savage, merciless and crucially for some people in the West Midlands, it can really mess up your finances.”