Yesterday, the Diocese of Southwark approved Southwark Council cutting down acres of woods in Camberwell Old Cemetery and on One Tree Hill in Camberwell New Cemetery - for inner city burial plots.
In Camberwell Old Cemetery, Southwark Council intend to mound over the graves of 48,000 people - including more than 40 Commonwealth War Graves - for 'new' burial plots over the dead.
The Diocese ignored more than 900 people's written objections, with just three people supporting Southwark’s destructive scheme.
In the Consistory Court pre-hearing in May last year, Philip Petchey the Chancellor of the Diocese, warned off Southwark Woods campaigners from defending the trees, threatening them with Southwark's legal costs if they continued.
Petchey has now produced his ruling.
Below is what the Church has decided to support:
Destruction of acres of inner city woods and green space: Two acres of woods felled in Camberwell Old Cemetery. Dozens of trees to be cut down on One Tree Hill in Camberwell New Cemetery - including 10 English Oaks.
Disrespect and desecration of graves: Removal of family memorials, mounding over 48,000 graves and driving vehicle access roads over graves on One Tree Hill.
Digging up the dead: Mass exhumation is apparently perfectly acceptable even though no families have been consulted, paving the way for Southwark to dig up graves on an industrial scale.
Burial over and within other people’s graves: Also perfectly acceptable, even though it is against many people’s faiths and personal wishes, including many Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Promoting systemic religious discrimination: Southwark's 'new' burial plots are unsuitable for a third of residents by faith, yet Southwark’s discriminatory burial service is not mentioned once in the eight-page judgment, even though this was one of the major objection points to Southwark’s schemes. www.savesouthwarkwoods.org.uk/diocese-reject-discrimination
Ridiculing objectors: The Save Southwark Woods campaign was mocked for valuing trees ‘too highly’ while the Church's environmental policy claims it must care for God’s Creation.
In the pre-hearing last May, the Chancellor told campaigners that defending trees was outside the Church Court’s remit and would likely land them with Southwark’s legal fees if they continued.
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries, the Save Southwark Woods campaign, are fighting to protect the woods and graves of the Camberwell Cemeteries and preserve them as Nature Reserves, like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries.
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Above: Two acres of woods felled and chipped without Church permission to mound over the 48,000 graves of the poor below to sell off as 'new' burial plots.
The Church of England has ruled that the beauty, history and nature of the Camberwell Cemeteries' woods and graves can be destroyed for shoddy 'new' burial plots over the dead, crammed in cheek by jowl, cost millions, flood regularly and exclude by faith one third of residents who require burial.
Human remains dug up illegally in Camberwell Old Cemetery in 2008 and left by the side of graves.
Chancellor Philip Petchey - who has given Church of England approval for Southwark Council's horrific mass exhumation project - wrote 'Exhumation Reconsidered' in 2001 promoting the digging up of graves to extend Christian burial provision.
Harriet Harman's 2007 law cancelling burial rights in perpetuity is based on Petchey's work.
Southwark's burial strategy is based on Harman's law - which cancelled RIP and which laid the groundwork for the mass exhumation of thousands of people's graves across the Camberwell Cemeteries and indeed throughout London.
Southwark has not done a Burial Needs Assessment - it would show Southwark's burial service discriminates against at least a third of residents, possibly as many as half, whose faith requires burial.
Southwark Council wants to begin mass exhumation as soon as possible and is now 'grave profiling' - spending millions and ignoring thousands of residents' objections along the way.