Council's new proposal for woodland burials offers a good compromise

In October 2016, Southwark Green Party responded to Southwark Council's revised plans for the 'old nursery' site in Camberwell New Cemetery.

We are very glad that the council has taken public concerns on board after the previous consultation.The new plans offer good compromise solutions by combining burial spaces with much needed areas of meadow or woodland.

We remain opposed to the clearance of woodland in the Old and New cemeteries for burial space. However, we recognise that there is demand from people locally for loved ones to be buried within the borough. We believe that the old nursery, as a mainly brownfield site currently closed to the public, is by far the most suitable area available.

Air pollution levels in Southwark are dangerously high. Trees help remove pollutants from the air, so our preference is for woodland (Option 4) rather than meadow. We note that the plan involves felling a small number of trees, and urge that this be kept to the absolute minimum, with trees relocated where possible. New trees should be protected from dog attacks and vandalism, and checked regularly for signs of disease. A watering schedule should be established to ensure that trees don't die from lack of watering (as often happens when private contractors plant saplings for the council and are not held to their maintenance contracts).

Car parking should be kept to a minimum, and visitors to the cemeteries encouraged to use local public transport. We would also like to see more bicycle parking.

Although Southwark Green Party supports this compromise use of the old nursery, we strongly oppose any plans to destroy existing urban woodland in the cemeteries. The loss of mature trees would have a disastrous environmental impact, as well as posing a threat to nearby properties, due to increased risk of flooding.


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