Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Al Murray and Micky Flanagan

To Southwark Council Leader Cllr Peter John and Chief Executive Officer Eleanor Kelly


We condemn Southwark Council’s actions to destroy acres of woods and meadows and dig up or mound over tens of thousands of old graves at the Camberwell Cemeteries.  


Families have not been consulted, no Burial Needs Assessment, no Environmental Impact Assessment, no financial disclosure, war graves are being developed over, and the burial service embeds religious discrimination against 30-50% of residents seeking burial by faith.


Nature, especially wilder areas, is not just a luxury for the rich or an ‘inconvenience’ to be cleared for development. These woods and graves are beautiful, inspiring places that connect us to life and death, vital for citizens' health and well being. Woods are the lungs of London, the graves are the libraries of London's social and family history.


We urge Southwark Council to listen to thousands of residents and save the Camberwell Cemeteries as nature reserves with respect for the dead and woods and nature for the living.


Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries - the Save Southwark Woods campaign

Sign the Open Letter to Southwark Council Leader Cllr Peter John




Dr Tony Juniper, writer and ecologist


Bianca Jagger, Founder, President & CEO, The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation


Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, journalist and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation


Peggy Seeger, folk singer


Malini Mehra, CEO of GLOBE International, Southwark resident


Dr Susie Orbach, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, writer and social critic


Jonathan Bartley, Co-Leader of the Green Party


Nathalie Bennett, Green Party


Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party


Melissa Sterry, international design scientist, writer and cross disciplinary designer


Sian Berry, AM and Leader of the London Green Party Group


Caroline Russell AM, London Green Party


Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of London Liberal Democrat Group


Zac Goldsmith MP, Conservative, Richmond Park


Rosalind Readhead, independent campaigner


Darren Johnson, previous London AM and Leader of the London Assembly Green Party Group


Jenny Jones, Baroness Moulsecoomb, Southwark resident


Comedians Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Al Murray, Micky Flanagan, Lewis Schaffer, Katie Bridget O'Brien


Helen Fuller, author


Sophie Stafford, Editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine 2003-2014, nature photographer and writer


Allison Robertshaw, Director of human rights organisation Zennström Philanthropies


Craig Bennett, Policy & Campaigns Director, Friends of the Earth


Vicki Hird, Senior Campaigner, Friends of the Earth


Dave Goulson, Founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust


Cllr James Barber, Lib Dem, East Dulwich Ward, Southwark and Lib Dem candidate 2015 for Dulwich & West Norwood


Donnachadh McCarthy, activist, author and campaigner


Sarah Rees, Environmental Scientist, Presenter & Filmmaker


Naomi Newstead, Conservative candidate 2015, Camberwell & Peckham


Nick Wrack, Socialist TUSC candidate 2015, Camberwell & Peckham


Rebecca Fox, National Health Alliance candidate 2015, Camberwell & Peckham


Kingsley Abrams, Socialist TUSC candidate 2015, Bermondsey & Old Southwark


Lucy Hall, Independent candidate 2015, Bermondsey & Old Southwark


Rashid Nix, Green candidate 2015, Dulwich & West Norwood


Justin Smith, Southwark Green Party


Vasile Popa, President, BUCOVINA Cultural Society, promotion of cultural traditions and protection of the nature of Bucovina, Romania


Dr Lizzy Attree, Director, Caine Prize for African Writing and temporary lecturer in African Studies at King's College London


Roz Johnson, Programme & Planning Manager, Peabody Trust


Miles King, conservationist and commentator

Mike Keogh, Chair of Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership

Dr Phoebe Carter, ecological advisor, nature writer and resident

Dr Paul Thomas

Rose Bridger, writer

Denise Hawrysio, Associate Lecturer, Camberwell College of Art

Josh Nelson, former resident of the borough

Ann Walker, local artist and yoga teacher

Dr Joni Cook, ecologist

Paul Bray, regular visitor to Southwark Woods

The Ralphs Littlehoyle family, regular visitors

Gail Pickett

Nancy Nunn, osteopath and local resident

Stephen Govier, London Region Director, Retailers Against Crime London & LBAC Partnership

Hannah de Lasti

Margaret Oliver, resident

Robert McDonald, Caity McDonald, Cait Wilkinson and Emma Wilkinson

Mark Green, journalist

Marco and Amanda Silvestri, local residents

David Wilson, Digital designer

Mark Foster-Moore, local resident

Heidi Davidson

Lesley Wertheimer

Olenka Pierozynska

John Emery, Holy Island

Elaine Shoobridge

David Wilson, local resident

Gill Hickman, artist

Hilary Murphy

Kasper Seward

Jane Langley, Founder and CEO of Blue Patch

Carol Wyss, artist

Philip Jackson

Claire Sheppard, local resident

Trish Watts, Nunhead resident and engineer

Thea Potgieter, local resident

Charlie McVeigh

Emily Walters

Richard Kaminski

Gail Farrow

Allan Rowell

David Neal

Janet Trethewey

Michael Dow

Thomas Sutcliffe

Rosie Zero

Sarah Abrahart

Jean Morris

Carly Ritter

Susan Hillwood-Harris, local resident

Simon Cleasby

Harry Dicks

Rosemary Tipping

Tracy Lyons, local resident

Tim Wilkins, wild plant botanist

David Hardy, local resident

Gemma McGill

Jeremy Lynn

Susan Turner and Mark Evans

Michael Holland

Vanessa Gash, local resident

Vicky Mauricette

Joann Walsh

Karen Giles, biology teacher

Helen Lowe

Alison Craig

Peter, Aimee and Robert James

Wendy Flower

Emma Mason

Kathy Harman, retired teacher and grandmother

Sharon Speak

Anne Schuman, local resident

Steve Stevens

Tracey Forbes

Kit Whitfield, novelist

Georgie Stagg

Justin Davin Smith, Southwark resident

Miko Brown, illustrator and Southwark resident

Hilary Norton, local resident

Nina Giebel and John Creighton

Susan Englefield

Adam Norton, Southwark resident and Centre Manager at St Mary Abbots, Kensington

Helen Drake

Stevie Cooke

Ruth Wong

David Curtis, local resident

Jane Weller, local resident

Ed Burgess, local resident

Tam Safford

John Tozer

Eva Monson, SE23

Debbie Thomas, Director London Log Company

Kumiko Nagano

Nicky Munyama

Gerry Daniels

Jennifer Kren

Howard Andrews

Elly Rowbotham

Kerry Barker

Steve Cornish

Nic Boothby

Georgina Noble

Jane Beacon

Fi Stephens, Hackney Marshes User Group

Barbara Grehs

Ian Tyrrell

Vicky Sholund, Save Lea Marshes

Abigail Woodman

Matt Parsonage

Timothy Moore

Simon Walsh

Rae Levy

Emma Jones, local resident

John Monson, Retired Consultant Physician

Rose Ades

Donna Earrey

Viktoria Johnson Higham designer/jeweller, David Higham illustrator and Ignatz Johnson Higham animator/designer, residents backing on to Camberwell Old Cemetery

John Polenski, Southwark

Joe Public, former resident and independent researcher

Wendy Daffin, local resident

Gwyneth Morgan, local resident    |    |    @southwarkwoods    |    Facebook Page Save Southwark Woods

And email us to sign the Open Letter


Dr Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst, writer and critic

"Londoners thrive in the glorious mix of urban density, parks, woods and heathland. It's part of  what makes our city infinitely fascinating and nourishing. Stillness, busyness,  surprise. We depend on this diversity for our renewal as individuals, communities, and as a city."

Dr Tony Juniper, writer and ecologist

"For too long we've been blinded by the myth that Nature is a nice to have and that looking after green spaces is an inconvenience that gets in the way of progress and development.


The threat to Southwark Woods is a recent case in point. This little oasis for wildlife is facing destruction because it is believed the area can be used for a better purpose.


It is only possible to take this view, however, if the multiple benefits provided to society by places like this are ignored. We know that areas rich in wildlife are really good for people's wellbeing, they tie up carbon, trees help to cut pollution (which in London leads to thousands of premature deaths each year) and are helping to recharge groundwater.


All of that is worth a great deal, including in pure economic terms, and especially in densely populated urban areas. The more we sanitise our cities and replace wilder areas with manicured and tarmac landscapes, the more we diminish the huge practical values that wilder areas bring. Instead of replacing this wonderful amenity Councillors should instead focus on the interests of the people they represent and invest in the enhancement of Southwark Woods, not to promote its destruction".

Peggy Seeger, folk singer

"We cannot afford to cut down ANY MORE TREES. The problem of needing more graves will not be solved by cutting down Southwark Woods. PLEASE RECONSIDER and find another solution to this issue."


Bianca Jagger

Founder, President and Chief Executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador. Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA. IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador

AL MURRAY - SUTCLIFFE uktv_mickey_flanagan jenny eclair SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Zac Goldsmith MP environmentalist, journalist

“Given London’s growing population, I understand the need to provide more grave-spaces in London; it is one of the many demands for land that we have to juggle with. But it would be a terrible mistake to lose what has become a much loved local nature reserve in this old cemetery and I strongly urge Southwark Council to think again.”


Jenny Jones Baroness Moulsecoomb

“Southwark Council must abandon their shortsighted, anti environmental proposals. In this crowded and polluted inner London location we cannot afford to lose hundreds of trees to the chainsaw, as well as the green space that is essential for local wildlife and which  residents depend on  for their health and wellbeing. That is why I am right behind the campaign to declare Southwark Woods a 100 acre nature reserve.”

Caroline Pidgeon AM Rosalind Readhead caroline russell tom_chance_mayor_assembly SIAN BERRY benali hamdache

Christian Wolmar, Labour London Mayoral contender 2016, journalist and historian

"There are few enough wild woodlands in London, without councils seeking to destroy more of them. This is a precious ‘lung for London'."

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat

Leader, London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group

Siân Berry, Leader London Assembly Green Group, London Mayoral candidate 2016

"I fully support the campaign to Save Southwark Woods. Woodland habitats, and space for people to walk and enjoy nature, as well as the protected designation of Metropolitan Open Land, are some of the most precious and rare things in London. A clear alternative new burial site is available, and there’s no way the woods should be harmed."

Tom Chance, Green London Mayoral contender 2016

Community campaigner and Leader of Green Party head office at the London Assembly

Benali Hamdache, Green London Mayoral contender 2016

Community and LGBT campaigner, Green Party Spokesperson on Equalities

Caroline Russell, Green London Mayoral contender 2016

Councillor for Highbury East Ward, Islington

Rosalind Readhead, Independent London Mayoral candidate 2016


Rashid Nix, community campaigner and Green Party candidate for Dulwich & West Norwood 2015

Dave Goulson

Dave Goulson, Founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

“Our cities have all too few places where wildlife can thrive, and where kids can go to experience nature first hand. It is vital that we protect places like Southwark Woods.”

Paul Tavares, Independent London Mayoral candidate 2016

"We must protect our green environment but also respect our loved ones beyond their passing."

PAUL TAVARES Independent biancajagger by Rankin Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Human rights campaigner, journalist and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation


Jonathan Bartley

Joint Leader of the Green Party and Founder of Ekklesia