The battle between landowners and wildlife has raged on many 'battlefields' across the world. I
I made this video some time ago but just got around to publishing it exploring two issues very important to the Thames Estuary - the first part explains some of the issues of coastal sea walls and how landowners have sought to profit from the increase value of the land from such public infrastructure.
Of course the uplift in value of the the land behind a sea wall is captured by the landowner and not the taxpayer who funded the sea wall. This is grossly unfair on taxpayers across the country as money is funnelled from all taxpayers into the pockets of landowners who often pay no tax on that huge uplift in the value of their land. Simply charging a Land Value Tax would capture this unearned uplift in the value of the land and repay the taxpayer for its construction.
But in many situations the sea wall is not needed to protect people's lives and jobs but the perverse incentive to build sea walls will mean landowners will lobby for them very hard. That incentive means we loose so much of our coastal habitat such as Salt Marsh which is the habitat we have lost the most in the Uk over the last 100 years. When these perverse economic incentives exist there is little wonder then that is where we see wildlife and nature lose out the most. A land value tax will remove the perverse incentive to destroy wildlife in many situations, not just coastal sea defences and help us restore nature back to our country. At the same time we will save the taxpayer a packet on schemes that are uneconomic and not needed.
In part two I will explore how rewilding our coastal salt marshes could save London from flooding and the taxpayer the cost of an expensive new Thames Barrier.....
Peter Smith, CEO of the Wildwood Trust argues that we need a better way to fund coastal flood defences. The taxpayer pays millions every year, not for protecting homes, but just for the benefit of a few farmers and land spectaculars. This process has decimated coastal wildlife and in many cases proved of little public benefit. The people who have made a fortune should repay this increase in the rental value of their land back to the taxpayers who funded the flood defences. This would help ensure we only invest in flood defences where we need it and stop the destruction of some of the UK's most threatened wildlife habitats. The public collection of the nations rents will mean everyone contributes their fair share, making the use of natural resources more efficient helping our endangered wildlife to return.