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Council’s last chance to save Honor Oak woodlands 8 August 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Environment.
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This is an update to this posting two weeks ago, based on this press statement from Southwark Lib Dems 

Southwark’s Labour council has been offered a final chance to halt the felling of 60 trees and digging up of 60 graves as part of its plans for new burial space in two local cemeteries which form part of the Green Chain Walk close to Honor Oak and Forest Hill. 

At the last meeting of the council, Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors tabled a motion calling on the ruling Labour administration to carry out a new consultation exercise on where new burial space for Southwark residents is located.  Labour refused to support the proposal.

Following the council meeting, Liberal Democrat councillors have written to the Chair of the Council’s main scrutiny committee asking for the cemeteries strategy and proposals for Southwark Woods to be looked at in more detail with a proper analysis of costs, alternatives and environmental impact.

Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, said:

“The strength of feeling locally about the Labour council’s plans for Southwark Woods is clear with over 8,000 people signing the petition to save the trees, woodland and old graves. Yet again though, Labour councillors refused to listen to local residents and call a halt to their plans. 

“There are alternatives that would allow Southwark residents to still be buried in the borough that should be looked at properly… I hope that Labour councillors will now listen at the last minute and agree that the plans should be put on hold to look at the issues in more detail.  This is the Labour administration’s last chance to change their minds and save the woods for future generations.”

Forest Hill Lib Dems are strongly supporting the efforts of our Southwark colleagues to save these valuable local woodlands.

Honor Oak woodlands under threat from council bulldozers 24 July 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Environment.
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Camberwell Old Cemetery Plans

Camberwell Old Cemetery Plans – before and after

Plans to chop down hundreds of trees in two local cemeteries which form part of the Green Chain Walk close to Honor Oak and Forest Hill have provoked outrage in the community. But despite massive opposition and the signatures of more than 8,500 local residents, Labour-run Southwark Council are insisting that the plans must go ahead.

The two affected sites are on the boundary between Southwark and Lewisham boroughs at Camberwell Old Cemetery next to Wood Vale and Camberwell New Cemetery on One Tree Hill. The Council’s plans include the felling of over 30 mature trees and the destruction of a protected grade 1 site of borough importance for nature conservation to make way for a modern sterile cemetery.

Liberal Democrats have met with local residents and campaigners against the Council’s proposals on-site to see first-hand the impact the plans to build new graves would have on the woodlands, but you don’t have to walk through the woodland to feel the benefits and impact such woodlands have.

Local air quality is very poor and the importance of green spaces and trees on the environment is well known. Its destruction will affect everyone young and old.

An attempt by Lib Dem councillors in Southwark to stop the destruction of the woodlands was rejected by Labour councillors at a meeting on July 8th.

Southwark Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Anood Al-Samerai said:

“The Camberwell Old Cemetery woodland is a Grade 1 site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation and councillors have a duty to protect to protect heritage and nature for future generations. Labour councillors should not be bulldozing through their plans for 2,000 new graves without a thought for the local environment.”

Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors have criticised the council’s 2011 consultation on its new burial strategy for a number of failings, including that it did not mention the impact on local woodlands and trees. They have suggested alternatives to Labour’s proposed strategy.

Lewisham Lib Dems, including the Forest Hill Focus Team, are strongly backing the efforts of our Southwark colleagues as well as the non-partisan community campaign, ‘Save Southwark Woods’, which is pursuing every avenue in an effort to persuade the council to back down.  We enjoy walking through these woods and know many other local residents do too.

The council appear determined to go ahead with the plans but we hope, even at this late stage, they’ll listen. Help us today, sign the petition online and tell the council they cannot destroy our precious local woodlands. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-southwark-woods

Some other helpful links:

Southwark Council’s plans

Save Southwark Woods campaign

Honor Oak Road safety action 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Streets.
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This story appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

In a response to a petition raised by the Tewkesbury Lodge Residents’ Association in conjunction with Lib Dem campaigners Alex Feakes and Philip Peake and presented by them to Lewisham Council last year, the Council have agreed to introduce measures to make Honor Oak Road safer for pedestrians and traffic alike.

Many residents had raised concerns with Alex and Phil about the speed of traffic along the road, particularly the section between Canonbie Road and Forest Hill Road, which includes Fairlawn and Francesca Cabrini primary schools. “Action on this issue is long overdue, but it’s good news that the council is finally getting its act together,” commented Alex.

The proposed measures include extending ‘guard railing’ along the pavement to protect pedestrians, footway bollards to prevent obscurement caused by pavement parking, and reinstatement and enforcement of the ‘school zone’ markings outside Fairlawn school.

Separately, the council has added Honor Oak Road to this year’s carriageway resurfacing programme, and is also considering calls by Canonbie Road residents to reduce rat running through use of no entry signs and barriers at the junction with Honor Oak Road, though like the footway proposals this will depend upon available funding.

Air quality – call for action 22 March 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Environment.
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This story appeared in the February – March 2014 Forest Hill Focus

Liberal Democrats are pressing for urgent action to tackle air quality in Lewisham after a study found it frequently ranked as one of the worst three London boroughs for air pollution-related deaths.

Forest Hill councillor Alex Feakes said: “Last summer Lewisham council agreed to set up an air quality management area including Honor Oak, after studies showed high levels of nitrogen dioxide (primarily from vehicle exhausts) in the area. However they are not even publishing an action plan until the second half of this year. We need greater urgency.”

The Lib Dems want to tackle air pollution by helping people fit better filters to vehicles and by considering banning very old diesel engines altogether. Our survey of Forest Hill residents found strong support for this.

London Lib Dem MEP Sarah Ludford is a leading campaigner for action against air pollution. She is pressing for the fast implementation of tougher EU car emission standards and for ‘tailpipe testing’ of lorries to check if diesel particulate filters have been illegally removed.

Lib Dems are also pushing pro-air quality measures inside the coalition government, including ways of increasing numbers of electric vehicles.

Saving Honor Oak Rec 19 April 2011

Posted by Alex Feakes in Community, Culture, Environment.
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