Lawless Southwark just claimed ‘late’ Church faculty approval forcing them to fell trees in nesting season, in breach of planning consent
Southwark just claimed that ‘late’ Church approval and demand for burial plots – a non-statutory service – forced them to breach the terms of their planning consent and fell trees on One Tree Hill and in Underhill Road Wood in bird nesting season.
Southwark Council’s new statement:
“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.”
But it doesn’t matter. On 10th March, Southwark breached the terms of their planning consent, clearing undergrowth and felling trees.
It doesn’t matter if an ecologist now okays it – over a week later.
It doesn’t matter if they have an urgent deadline for burial.
It doesn’t matter if they claim it is ‘early on’ in bird nesting season – nesting season for some birds starts in January. It is also bat breeding season.
It’s one law for Southwark and another for everyone else. They think they can:
Break planning terms if they want
Cut down trees whenever they want in or out of nesting season
Deny tree information to the Church and public
Ignore thousands of residents’ written objections
Does Southwark allow developers to get away with breaches of planning consent?
Below is our press release from earlier this morning:
Southwark Council has breached the terms of its own planning consent by clearing undergrowth and cutting down trees on One Tree Hill during bird nesting season.
Southwark gave itself consent to fell up to 60 trees and lay roads over graves for 122 burial plots in The Glade in the part of Camberwell New Cemetery.
But Southwark’s own planning application promised only to carry out works such as “removal of trees and scrub outside of bird nesting season” (Area D1 Design & Access Statement, para 2.4.7).
“No felling is to take place in bird nesting season” (para 3.2.13).
And on bat roosts and the London Wildlife Trust:
“In accordance with the LWT recommendations: vegetation clearance works would only be carried out between mid-September and the 1st November or during April to avoid the bat breeding and hibernation” (para 3.2.17).
The only months Southwark Council’s planning consent allows tree felling or clearance of undergrowth in The Glade is from mid-September to the end of October. March is now clearly well within the bird nesting season.
Yet on Friday 10th March, at least thirteen trees were cut down and undergrowth cleared. On Monday 13th March, Southwark Council erected fencing around The Glade, through woodland in Camberwell New Cemetery on One Tree Hill, adjoining the boundary with One Tree Hill Nature Reserve.
More than 200 residents have written to Council Leader Peter John and Cllr Ian Wingfield, member for the environment, copying in the London Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Bat Conservation Trust, demanding that undergrowth clearance and tree felling stop immediately.
No further felling has so far taken place but with the fences up it is clearly just a matter of time.
The Council’s wilful destruction of nature in its cemeteries is just another reason why Southwark’s burial service is not fit for purpose.
The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries are fighting to save the Camberwell Cemeteries as nature reserves like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries, with respect for the dead and nature for the living.
Southwark Council’s planning application granted consent in October 2015 (our highlights in bold):
Camberwell New Cemetery Area D1 Planning Application Design & Access Statement, July 2015
2.4.7 General Mitigation Procedures are given in the report to include: removal of trees and scrub outside of bird nesting season;
3.2.13 No trees are to be felled until bat surveys have been undertaken by the clients ecologist (below). No felling is to take place in bird nesting season.
And on the issue of bat roosts:
3.2.17 The LWT bat survey reveals bat activity over the site and points to ivy clad trees in and around the site as having moderate potential for bat roosts. These are deemed therefore to include trees at the head of the woodland glade which would be proposed to be removed.
In accordance with the LWT recommendations: vegetation clearance works would only be carried out between mid-September and the 1st November or during April to avoid the bat breeding and hibernation.