A hedgehog has been found dead at the Old Nursery site in Camberwell New Cemetery, and strimming is the most likely cause of death.
The site has been inaccessible to the public for years and is now a valuable and important refuge for nature. However, Southwark Council wants to dig it up for 1,000 burial plots.
The hedgehog's remains were found during a site visit by the Southwark Cemetery Stakeholder Group. Groups have demanded Southwark stop clearing habitat on site immediately.
Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to kill hedgehogs.
Southwark Council knew there were very likely to be hedgehog on the site as there is a well-known hedgehog colony on nearby One Tree Hill.
Hedgehogs hibernate in the winter. Yet Southwark chose this time of year to clear habitats.
The hedgehog was likely killed by strimming. But the real cause of death is Southwark Council’s insistence on using inner city natural green space to bury people in the borough.
In response to Southwark’s survey about this site, 76% of residents said ‘no burial’. The site has been untouched by people for years and habitats have grown up and many valuable species have taken refuge here.
Known as Area B, the three-acre ‘brownfield’ site is a biodiverse green space next to Honor Oak Park station. It is part of the Honor Oak Nature Corridor which includes Devonshire Road, Garthorne Road and One Tree Hill Nature Reserves, Camberwell New Cemetery which is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and Brenchley Gardens.
Southwark is reviewing its 5 year-old Cemetery Strategy as it is out-of-date with borough demographics and current thinking on nature and climate change.
Plans for this are under review. Southwark therefore gave assurances on the stakeholder site visit to Area B in October that no works would take place on this part of the site.
No matter Southwark’s claims to enhance ‘biodiversity’ or ‘preserve green space’ - burial on this site will lead to destruction of nature.
It’s not just hedgehogs that will be affected. Lizards, slow worms, bats and other protected species are also recorded in the cemeteries’ ecology reports, along with rare miner bees, bumblebees, butterflies, dragonflies and many other species.
Hundreds of trees have already been felled in Underhill Road Wood, Camberwell Old Cemetery. Imminently, Southwark intends to start cutting down dozens of trees on One Tree Hill next to the Nature Reserve.
This is Southwark preparing for burial at any cost, to nature or to us.
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries Save Southwark Woods Campaign is fighting to stop the destruction of these beautiful inner London green spaces and make the cemeteries Memorial Park Nature Reserves.
Photos: The dead hedgehog found in Camberwell New Cemetery, and Southwark’s interpretation of biodiversity at Area F Woodvale, Camberwell Old Cemetery, where an old hawthorn hedgerow and meadows were cleared in 2013 for burial plots crammed in cheek by jowl.
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Above: Dead hedgehog found in Camberwell New Cemetery by members of Southwark's Cemetery Stakeholder Group
Below: Southwark’s interpretation of biodiversity at Area F Woodvale, Camberwell Old Cemetery, where an old hawthorn hedgerow and meadows were cleared in 2013 for burial plots crammed in cheek by jowl.
Bottom: Area B Old Nursery site where the dead hedgehog was found.