COLUMN: Let’s stop Southwark Council’s plans to develop woodland

News Desk (02 July, 2015) Columnists

Column by Donnachadh McCarthy

967'Save Southwark Woods' protestors

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub….    Anytime Southwark Council wants to bulldoze yet another local woodland, you can be sure some councillor will call it unsightly “scrub” and so not “really” natural or woodland worth preserving.

This is exactly what they did when they barbarically bulldozed Camberwell Green’s only little community orchard. Well it is Cllr Peter John saying it this time. He is reported as describing the beautiful woodland in Camberwell Old Cemetery, that they want to bulldoze to create 4,800 new graves, as “scrubby”.  It really is worth judging for your-self the aerial video of the beautiful “scrubby” woodland that is on the campaign group’s website at www.savesouthwarkwoods.org.uk .

The battle to save these woodlands and the playing fields at Honor Oak Park from being bulldozed into ugly lines of gravestones has been going on intermittently for decades. Southwark will have a population of over 350,000 by 2035, which means over 312,000 deaths during the next century. It is impossible to find burial space for all of us.  We must accept that Southwark’s inner city graveyards are full and let them be a beautiful 100 acre nature site.  Estimates of the costs of providing the new graves vary up to £15 million. Southwark could instead use the money to buy land in the green-belt just five miles to the south and establish a green cemetery.  Here those, whose religions require them to have a burial, could instead of endless rows of gravestones with manicured grass, have a tree planted in their memory with a little plaque.

In life our generation has wreaked so much environmental destruction on the planet, that the very future of humanity is threatened with the climate crisis. Surely it is not too much to ask that in our deaths we make a positive legacy and not bequeath yet more destruction? The campaign is delivering their petition (which already has an amazing 6,400 signatures) to Southwark Council on July 8th. The petition link is on their website and their Facebook page is Save Southwark Woods.  Come on Cllr Peter John, open your heart to the beauty of these woodlands, scrub the bulldozing and create a beautiful new woodland cemetery instead.  Yes You/We Can!

 

 

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