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In a meeting on Wednesday, the council admitted they want to reprocess thousands of tonnes of construction waste at Camberwell Old Cemetery.


They also want to truck thousands more tonnes of waste off site, potentially causing months of air and noise pollution and traffic chaos. And they want to fell trees and clear woodland to do it.


Meeting at the cemetery with Save Southwark Woods representatives, Darren Merrill Councillor for the Environment, and Parks and Open Spaces officer Rebecca Towers pointed to the trees and undergrowth to be cleared, to make way for the diggers, reprocessing machinery and access for hundreds of trucks coming in and out.


An estimated 1,000 truckloads could roar through Honor Oak, causing potentially months of air pollution, noise and traffic chaos.

The council plans to ‘clean’ an estimated 5,000 cubic metres (approx. 12,000 tonnes) of construction waste.


This waste, largely soil and rubble, was illegally dumped under the council’s watch between late 1990s and early 2000s. Only a few soil tests have come up with any contamination, and the council shockingly is unable to pinpoint its exact location.


Save Southwark Woods spokesperson Blanche Cameron said:


“Why is the council even considering this appalling approach? 15 years of woodlands have grown up since the illegal dumping. Imagine the impact and the pollution it’s going to have. There are better solutions available.


“Southwark should leave the waste alone, cap over the land with a natural layer of protection, and plant woodland for a fraction of the price, CO2 emissions and noise.”


SSW will be writing to the council to ask them the following questions:


How many truckloads do the council estimate would be required per day, over what period of time?


How much pollution would be created by the scheme?


How long would reprocessing 8,000 tonnes of soil and rubble on site take?


What kind of processing machinery would be required?


What bi-products would be created (e.g. waste water etc.)?


What would the social and environmental impacts of this scheme be?


Are all residents around Camberwell Old Cemetery fully informed that this is part of their plan?


How much is this scheme estimated to cost?


How much would the alternative approach cost of leaving the woods and the waste alone, capping it and planting more woodland?


Southwark council wants to turn cemetery woodlands into a construction waste reprocessing plant

3rd April 2015