Sinkhole shuts Smethwick road

Credit: Elizabeth Smith

A sinkhole measuring two-feet has opened up in a street in Smethwick.

Wigorn Road, Bearwood, is closed while repair works are take place.

A leading academic has said sinkholes will become more frequent due to the effects of climate change.

Natural sinkholes are caused as softer soluble rock and sand is washed away by water.

In some areas vertical gaps in the limestone bedrock have become filled with sand and soil over thousands of years., when this is removed by water sinkholes open up.

The recent increase in the number of sinkholes is due to the severely wet winter which has raised the water table, meaning more is washed away causing instability.

The wetter winters predicted by climate change will see changes in the water table that could cause more sinkholes, according to Dr Nigel Woodcock from the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University.