Save Southwark Woods

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A Dummies’ Guide to Southwark ‘DoubleSpeak’

26 August 2015

Labour-controlled Southwark council’s fascinatingly creative use of language has reached new heights.

So the campaign to save Southwark Woods has decided to issue a ‘Dummies Guide to Southwark Doublespeak’.

This is because the language sometimes used by the council can be a little confusing.

This helpful guide is best used in association with community campaigns, especially ones to protect and preserve inner city cemetery woodland and hundreds of years of social heritage.

An extract is below:

‘Sustainable’ burial strategy’ = Fell acres of valuable, inner city, biodiverse woodland and excavate thousands of old graves, for a few hundred burials a year

‘We have consulted everyone we need to’ = We consulted a few hundred people four years ago on totally different plans for a completely different site

‘We are engaging with the public on these plans’ = We tried to get this through planning last Christmas, now we’re trying the summer holidays

‘We are listening to the public’ = We ignore every suggestion they make

‘Scrubby’, ’not beautiful’ = Grade 1 SINC woodland habitats, home to bats, owls, hedgehogs, stag beetles, and other protected species

‘Not woodland’ = woodland

‘Not a tree’ = a tree

‘Just overgrown’ = material Change of Use from working cemetery to registered Grade 1 SINC woodland

‘These are active working cemeteries’ = these areas have not been used for burial for over 50 years, one of them is virgin woodland

‘Standard landscape adjustment’ = major development involving the destruction of rare landscape character and biodiverse natural habitats

‘Care for social heritage and amenity’ = destruction of social heritage and loss of amenity

‘Local burial for local people’ = Local re-election for local Labour ward councillors

‘This is a working class issue’ = Please vote for me

‘We care about local health and amenity’ = We want to chainsaw hundreds of trees in an Air Quality Management Area and clear woodland that local mental health groups use for treatment

‘We care deeply about social heritage’ = We want to remove thousands of old gravestones and excavate thousand of graves for lucrative new burial plots

‘We provide burial for all Southwark residents who seek it’ = We do not provide burial for Southwark residents of Orthodox Muslim or Jewish faiths

‘We can’t buy multifaith burial land at Kemnal Park, it’s a private company’ = We will give £5.2M of jobs for the boys in contracts with private construction company instead

‘We don’t mind spending public money on services’ = We are taxing the poor to subsidise burial plots by up to £2,700 a plot

‘We are bringing an area back into public use’ = We allowed years of illegal dumping to take place, now we’re making the public pay for it to be cleaned up

‘We will be using quiet machinery’ = We are turning part of the Grade 1 biodiverse SINC woodlands into a waste reprocessing plant

‘Our plans will enhance biodiversity’ = These Grade 1 biodiverse SINC woodlands are in the way

‘Our plans will enhance biodiversity’