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Over 150 turned out to the Family Ceme-Tree Day yesterday Bank Holiday Monday, to protest the destruction of Southwark Woods.


Southwark council plans to clear woodland, felling hundreds of trees and digging up hundreds of old graves and memorials at both Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries, to make way for 4,800 new burial plots in sanitised and sterile landscapes.


But thousands want them protected and declared nature reserves, like Highgate and Nunhead Cemeteries, with respect for the dead and wild woodland for the living. The woodlands and meadows hold social, historical, health and environmental benefit for all residents of Southwark and south London.


Save Southwark Woods campaigners organised the event as part of London Tree Week, with bug hunts and ‘family tree’ portraits. Camberwell art students recorded interviews with visitors from near and far about why the beautiful woods at both cemeteries should be saved.


“I often bring a mental health user group to enjoy this wonderful space,” said David Brown.


“Many of our users say how therapeutic it is to meet, eat and wander the area.”


“Wild spaces like this are not replaceable,” said Sam and Hannah, “and are invaluable for the well-being of people in the city. Please don’t take this special place away.”


Southwark has not even applied yet for permission from the Church of England for their misguided and destructive plans, nor carried out the full range of biodiversity surveys required.


With an online and paper petition currently standing at 7,300, campaigners are wondering how much more tax payers’ money is the council willing to spend before they cancel these ill-conceived, unjust and short-sighted plans?


Representatives of SSW will present the petition to Southwark council at the next full Council Assembly on July 8th.


They will be calling on Councillors to recognise the enormous popular support shown to protect these woods, and to declare the cemeteries nature reserves, for the long-term of benefit for all.

CemeTrees Day 25th May 2015


Family Ceme-Tree Day: bug hunting, tree hugging and protesting the destruction of beautiful Southwark Woods

26th May 2015