Southwark Council has proven itself unfit to run a burial service.
The Council is chopping down dozens of trees on One Tree Hill including English Oaks and a sixty-foot Poplar in bird nesting season to create just 122 burial plots.
Southwark's planning application categorically promised “No felling is to take place in bird nesting season” (Area D1 Design & Access Statement, para 3.2.13).
But in defiance, Southwark starting felling on Friday 10th March - with no ecologist or licensed bat specialist on site to ensure no bat roosts or nesting birds were disturbed.
This week, ten days after the first disturbance, Southwark has continued the felling.
This goes against the London Wildlife Trust's consultation and recommendations upon which Southwark relied heavily to gain planning approval.
Next, Southwark are to construct roads over the graves of the poor to reach the plots up a one-in-five slope. It’s costing a fortune - over £250,000 (2011 figures). And it’s hugely unpopular - over 600 people objected to the planning application.
Why the rush to move forward on such a destructive project? Southwark says these 122 burial plots are needed to stop Southwark from ‘running out’ of burial space.
But something is very wrong if - almost 20 years into their permanent “burial crisis” - Southwark needs 122 plots immediately or in-borough burial will stop.
Southwark are so desperate to hide their incompetence at having to cut down trees in bird nesting season that they are even blaming the Church of England for granting approval ‘late’.
And now Southwark is claiming that Design & Access Statements are not worth the paper they’re written on and they don’t have to keep to them. So what is the point of writing one? And 'consulting' with the London Wildlife Trust on it?
As they say, #MassiveFail.
Southwark’s inability to prepare for future burial need proves they are unfit to run a burial service.
This is yet another reason why development of new burial must stop within the Borough and the Camberwell Cemeteries be made nature reserves like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries, with respect for the dead and woods and nature for the living.
SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S STATEMENT BLAMING THE DIOCESE OF SOUTHWARK FOR FORCING THEM TO FELL IN NESTING AND BAT BREEDING SEASON:
“Unfortunately the timing of the Faculty approval and the fact that they have given us a deadline to implement the project has meant that, although we would prefer not to we must undertake vegetation clearance and see if it is possible to remove trees early on in bird nesting season.”
www.SaveSouthwarkWoods.org.uk | firstname.lastname@example.org | @southwarkwoods | Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods
Below: Trees in the Glade on One Tree Hill cut down 10th March and 20th March in breach of planning consent and London Wildlife Trust consultation. Residents' demonstration Saturday 11th March. The view from The Glade One Tree Hill to the City and Canary Wharf.