Diocese of Southwark Approves Deforestation of One Tree Hill for Graves
Sounds like a nice bloke.
Yes, this is true. Now as a result, the judgment has taken the Council’s ecological assessment as the authoritative one (undertaken by the same firm that does tree surgery work for the council), so environmental issues were not an influence on the decision, in the absence of any ecological argument from the objectors.
Now we can expect planning applications (from the council to the council).
Cut 'em down and plant them again - so good for the environment
Copied from www.relevantnow.com
Beefriendly trees for churches in Diocese of Southwark
Churches across London can make their neighbourhood a greener, more bee-friendly place as part of a new project supported by the Mayor of London.
The Conservation Foundation’s Trees for Sacred Spaces project is enabling churches in the London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester dioceses to plant trees that support bees and other pollinators as part of the Mayor’s ambition to make London one of the greenest cities in the world. The tree plantings will also offer an opportunity for churches to organise events and ceremonies that involve members of other faiths in their parishes to celebrate and help to enhance the environments that people of all faiths and no faith share.
There are over 600 churchyards or areas of church land within Greater London. Whilst not all churches have suitable spaces, those with no space to plant a tree will be encouraged to donate one to a school or community garden within their parish, helping to increase London’s tree canopy cover and support bees and other wildlife to thrive in London.
The project is supported by the diocesan bishops. The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, says, “In our global city, in this interconnected world, practising love of our neighbours means looking after the natural environment that we share. Parishes across London’s dioceses have made strides in encouraging biodiversity in our churchyards through Churchyards for London. It gives me great pleasure that one of the final projects I will launch as Bishop of London will offer our churches the opportunity to plant more trees in their areas, contributing to local air quality as well providing places of peace and beauty for generations to come.”
Bishop Chartres played a pivotal role in developing The Conservation Foundation’s Yews for the Millennium project which planted over 8000 yew trees, many in churchyards, throughout the country to celebrate the year 2000.
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, is equally enthusiastic. He explains, “The Mayor of London’s tree planting initiative is an innovative way of contributing to the life of London’s communities by improving the city’s air quality and also brightening its public spaces.
He continues, “The Diocese of Southwark is playing its part in the initiative by giving all of our parishes in the Greater London area a tree for their churchyard, or to pass to their local schools and community gardens. I am pleased to commend this project as an important way of helping to steward the earth’s natural resources.”
Welcoming the involvement of churches, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, says, “The Mayor wants London to be one of the world’s greenest cities and is introducing a wide range of measures to fulfil this ambition: a first step has been the commitment to provide £750,000 to plant more than 40,000 new London trees this winter, including helping The Conservation Foundation plant more than 600 trees in or near churchyards across London.”
David Shreeve, director of The Conservation Foundation, says, “A fifth of the capital is already covered by trees but some parts of London are short of greenery. Churches can play an important role in helping to make these areas look and feel better by planting one of the trees. All the trees available will be bee-friendly and therefore as well as benefiting London’s landscape and atmosphere they will also be supporting the capital’s pollinators.”
The trees will be available between March and June 2017. Those wishing to take part are asked to visit www.conservationfoundation.co.uk/trees to find out more and to register to receive trees.
Yes I noticed Southwark Diocese self-promoting their planting a small handful of trees:
They’ve just agreed to cutting down far more trees than they’ll be planting. In a precious area of woodland that gives the Honor Oak area its character.
And they’ll be replacing this historic woodland area with barren graves, with a minimum of tree planting - if any.
That’s not actually true.
Older trees capture carbon at a higher rate than young trees:
In terms of carbon capture that’s true. In terms of supporting biodiversity older trees provide an important environment for wildlife.
In what sense are graves ‘barren’?
Is there an implicit anti-religious motive behind this anti-graveyard campaign?
It is not a graveyard. Yet.
No. The graves are barren, at least in the way that they are managed by Southwark Council, from a biodiversity perspective. Almost a monoculture in fact.
I still think they should do tree burials.
This is a difficult subject - Right now, I’m someone who is immersed in funeral arrangements and when (I don’t even want to think about it) my mum passes away - I will find the money to make sure she has a grave/burial and not a cremation (my choice) - and of course one close to me. This is not a new problem, in the old days, particularly during the many plagues and the London human-growth explosion of the industrial revolution, dead bodies were transported out of the city because the authorities simply couldn’t cope and didn’t have the space. However, for many, it is very important to be able to regularly visit their loved one’s who have departed, have some peaceful time of reflection in front of where they are buried, lay some flowers, establish a tomb stone with a personal message inscribed upon to commemorate that the persons’ life left a foot print. It is a comfort and the friends and relatives way of connecting in respect and solace. It’s a tough one - I love all things greenery, trees and nature - I nearly weep when people pave over their gardens to make them easier to look after, build over land, pull up established nature for the ‘must have/in vogue look’…but I also have huge respect and understanding for humans and their needs and feelings to find a designated and recognised resting place for those they love, that is close to them - and of course, in a City - that always comes at a price - space costs.
Not at all. There were several options for the graveyard in the original consultation. Some of them were far less destructive. Unfortunately Southwark Council ignored the result of the consultation and chose the most barren. That is, the option with the fewest trees and natural features.
Understood @Gillipops and thanks for posting this.
You are right but we are in a position now where we are running out of space again. Some salient points to consider also:
- Southwark is unusual as an inner London borough in that they are still trying to accommodate all burial within the borough;
- The space that they want to convert to cemetery is new burial space (Old Nursery site and One Tree Hill). In the case of the latter this adjoins ancient woodland and parts will have a 1 in 5 slope if you want to visit a grave up there;
- A relatively new concept in this country is one of burial in perpetuity. This is now legislated against which opens up the possibility of re-use after 75 years. Some people are not comfortable with this but it should be borne in mind that this legislation, by a quirk possibly, does not apply to the Camberwell cemeteries. This will not change without a Lords amendment (oddly they have other business on their plate right now) yet the council burial strategy relies on this as well as the new burial space they plan for in order to cope with the future burial requirement (assuming this happens in borough);
- The burial requirement just mentioned is not just for locals. This includes burial for anyone in London prepared to pay for it.
For me, it is hard to see this as a sustainable strategy. Am sorry, I realise this is very delicate. But I do hope a compromise can be reached which repescts those already laid to rest and the needs of the living.
Church backs destruction of inner city woods and graves
Dear friends, thank you. More than 900 of you in this campaign wrote to the Diocese of Southwark to object to Southwark Council’s destructive development of the Camberwell Cemeteries.
Now, the Church of England has been forced to reveal their contempt for nature and heritage in our cemeteries.
The Consistory Court of the Diocese of Southwark has just approved Southwark Council’s applications to cut down two acres of woods in Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries.
It was not unexpected but it is still painful to see the Church support such destruction. They received only three letters in support. Their argument was that it is okay to cut down a tree for burial plot.
The Church even tried to ridicule this campaign by saying we’re all valuing trees too highly. So much for caring for God’s creation!
You can read the six-page ruling by Consistory Court judge and Southwark Diocese Chancellor Philip Petchey here (he wrote ‘Exhumation Reconsidered’ in 2001, promoting digging up the dead for new burial plots).
But we have made tremendous progress and we’re not going away.Together, we are forcing the Church to justify their actions.
And we are exposing the Cemetery industry - the Church and Council included - for their greedy and destructive plans.
Here’s what the Diocese of Southwark has approved:
Destruction of two and a half acres of inner city woods and green space in Camberwell Old Cemetery and on One Tree Hill in Camberwell New Cemetery - paving the way for the destruction of cemetery woods throughout London and indeed Britain.
Desecration of the resting place of the dead, removing family memorials to mound over 48,000 graves - including 48 Commonwealth War Graves - and driving a vehicle access road over graves on One Tree Hill.
Digging up the dead is acceptable - even though this wasn’t even part of this application and no families have been consulted.
Burying people over other people’s graves is acceptable - even though it is against many people’s faiths
The full press release is here - including the complete court ruling:
Thank you again for being a part of the Save Southwark Woods campaign, we’re not going away.
You can sign up to our newsletter here for more frequent campaign updates
We will keep fighting together to protect the woods and graves of the old cemeteries and preserve them as Nature Reserves, like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries.
Chair, Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries
The Save Southwark Woods Campaign
07731 304 966
@wmorgan1 thanks for sharing, Wendy, and for your campaign efforts.
Very important that we don’t let Southwark Council and the Church get away with ignoring the overwhelming results of the public consultation.
As you say, the precedent set here is very dangerous.
The churches stance doesn’t surprise me. Their persecution of people to pay glebe rent still wrinkles many.
One aspect I have been mistaken on. I had assumed that a planning application would be required. Not so, approval already given in 2015 will suffice apparently even though the scope of works have changed since:
The only thing that could delay tree felling is nesting birds or roosting bats.
Tree felling has started. The council were meant to have assessed the site for nesting birds or bat roosts but there is some doubt they have done this. It is definitely bird nesting season and bats will be awaking after hibernation.
There is an emergency demo at 12pm tomorrow (Sat 11th March) meeting at the Brenchley Garden gates or shortly after at the glade that is threatened. Press will be there. Please come if you can.
I really don’t think the council/diocese care about a demo. Sorry.
They’ll be forced to care if London-wide media covers the demo. I hope it does.
Yes. A National newspaper will be covering this on Sunday. If you care and can turn up please do.
Look how long other took on Millwall and that had massive coverage. I hope it works but don’t feel positive vibes.
In the national news:
Good to see that the Telegraph thought this important enough to bring forward publication by a day.
@LewisSchaffer’s earlier video describing the area destined to be stripped of its trees:
More national news coverage:
CC @Brett, @BlancheCameron and @LewisSchaffer
A Local Assembly member attended the protest (David Kurten), and was very supportive of the cause.
He’s going to ask a live question to the Mayor of London about this, which should be interesting. I hope he’ll be able to post the results here.
It is terrible that trees in Camberwell New Cemetery are under threat. I’ll be asking a question to the Mayor about Camberwell Cemeteries on 22nd March.
Thank you and welcome to SE23.Life.
Excellent, David - from our prior chat, and FYI others - the Assembly meetings are open to the public, so if anyone would like to hear Sadiq Khan’s response first-hand, you can
Quick question. Other than support, does the London Mayor have any influence on the outcome? Can he intervene in a meaningful way?
He could do if he chose to, cf Garden Bridge. The incumbent and previous mayors seem to prefer to sit this one out. An almighty shame as this is surely a test case for London and nationally.
Hi Chris - I am not a verified member, but would like to PM you. Can you activate me - I have an interesting suggestion on this subject that I wouldn’t want to post ona public forum
@LEON I have enabled PMs for you.
Does anyone know what is happening the land right next to the tracks? There has been a lot of work going on here over the last month - hopefully not for more cemetery space…
Hang on, is this the same one as before? The one that the council approved earlier this year?
Stop talking about destruction of woodland and just stop burying the dead! It is only demand for burials that is the problem. Educate people that it is wasteful and effectively landfill rendering land unuseable for 100 years.
If you must bury your loved one then you must be willing to pay a high fee and maintenance costs,
But that is what they are doing. Plots will be available to anyone in London who can pay for them.
This is Network Rail land and they are using some of the level section for maintenance purposes.
Do you consider £714.00 sufficient for a 100 year plot? Given the value of development land for much needed housing.
I have not done the sums but say a 1000 plots gives a revenue of £714,000 but could build ‘x’ homes worth ‘y’ millions either for sale or social housing. How can thst be considered sufficient return On the wasteful use oc land.
I don’t think a comparison with development potential is valid - this is Metropolitan Open Land. I agree £714 is not much but do you have a source for this? This is the schedule for 2015/16:
This is the link I found giving price per plot. Not sure what point you are making the fact is the land is removed from use for 100 years.
That, I believe, shows the cost to Southwark per burial of £714, not the price to bury a loved one. You can do rough calculations on the profit from both sources (yours and mine) if you wish but I believe it is considerably more than your estimate.
The point I was making is that the land is not removed from development into something built like accommodation due to its zoning (thankfully). I agree there are many better uses for this area than burial though. Probably not so many that provide a handy income source for the council so who cares what Lewisham residents think?
Why doesnt Lewisham build low rise affordable housing with memorial gardens on the roof’s for all to share.
Memorial green roofs!
Well in a nutshell yes. It does not cater for burials but perhaps peoples desire to be buried after they die could be changed. That we we get the housing we so desperately need and a green place for people to pay their respects to their loved ones.
£714 is nothing if that is what is being paid to keep a plot for 100 years. As I said before both my parents are cremated & are in the crematorium & I pay over £200 every five years to keep a rose bush with their ashes. Admittedly wages have to be paid to gardeners, but I think for the amount of people that have roses it other flowers, Southwark make a good profit…it is everyone’s choice what happens when they die, but I think they should maybe be charged every few years like I am to keep a plot for their loved one…extra income could go towards building much needed housing.
There’s a letter in the Evening Standard about this
Cemetery plan will affect wildlife too
"I am writing regarding your recent article headlined “Families’ fury at council plan to sell off burial plots above paupers’ graves” [News, October 13].
The removal of memorial stones and the mounding over of graves — and/or the actual exhumation of the deceased — are only part of the scandalous plans for Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries in Honor Oak. Ten acres of wild woodland, containing a variety of mature trees, have been sentenced to Southwark council’s axe. And with them will go insect, bird and mammal habitats.
The designation of such a large area of flora and fauna is particularly Philistine, given the endless demands for more housebuilding in London wherever new homes can be squeezed in.
We should be conserving these pockets of green tranquillity, not destroying them.
Has anyone had any positive engagement with our elected representatives about the issue?
Not any that still hold office in my experience! Part of the problem here is that it is Southwark who are doing this but it is arguably Lewisham residents who are most impacted. The new constituency proposed by the boundary commission could conceivably help but, even if it’s not dead in the water already, will arrive too late to assist with this particular issue re woodland.
The London mayor, both incumbent and previous, see it as a local planning issue. Quite apart from the fact that Southwark age both applicant and planning authority, this is short signed in my view and runs contrary to the official line which puts an economic value, quite rightly, on green space.
Even if the land is on the Southwark side of the boundary, that is no reason why Lewisham Councillors or MP’s cannot represent us on the issue.
Well, so far I have found that it is a reason, albeit not a reason I agree with. If you have found differently then please advise.
Oh, have you had one of ‘our’ representatives say that that they can’t help because the land is not in Lewisham?
It shouldn’t prevent councillors and MP’s from representing concerns that we have.
Did @DavidKurtenAM ever report back on the question he asked the Mayor? I see from the Mayor’s site that the question was asked and an oral response was make.