Re-wild Brockwell Park – A Proposal



Brockwell Park has large areas of lawn that are regularly mowed. Few people walk on these, with nearly everyone and every dog sticking to the paths. People sit on the grass on hot holidays which is where memories are formed and photos are taken but these are a small minority of days in a year of the park. The reality is that Brockwell Park is mostly looked at from paths and that view is of grass monoculture.


Allow Brockwell Park to reforest; to enter uninterrupted secondary succession and reach a climactic state of mixed woodland: like Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods are now. Action: Stop mowing and pruning with immediate effect.

Carbon Capture

Each mature tree holds about one tonne of carbon. Soil build-up from successive leaf litter and combined biomass of smaller plants will build a sizeable carbon bank too. Every little helps drive down the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, unprecedented in our species' history, and may soften the blow of climate change that is gathering pace to destroy our way of life and that of young and future generations.


Climate change will bring more frequent and more extreme drought and rainfall. Woodland acts as a buffer to water flow, slowing water from running off the park (as it sometimes does now) and holding it during drought. Expensive drainage schemes are not required. Canopy shade will slow evaporation from the ground.


As heat waves become more frequent and intense a wooded Brockwell Park would be more pleasurable than a grassed one. As well as providing shade, trees have a cooling effect on local climate. Biodiversity will rise: Who knows what fauna and flora might make Brockwell their home.


The current practice of felling unstable trees and leaving them on site should continue, to minimise risk to people. Some non-native trees – especially evergreens – would need to be removed as native birds and insects use them less.


What about festivals and the Lambeth Country Show?

After accelerated climate change has taken full effect and triggered tipping points there will be no festivals ever again. This has to be done now to secure our future.

Can Lambeth use this carbon capture to offset other emissions?

No. We are well past the idea of carbon offsetting and 'seeking to reduce' carbon emissions. Carbon emissions must be stopped, soon, and more carbon must be drawn down by schemes such as this all over the country and world.

Why not plant trees?

Planting trees requires cost, labour, materials and carbon emissions that can be entirely avoided by allowing existing trees in the park to seed. Importing saplings is swapping one land area – the nursery where the saplings are grown – for another. In this state of emergency, all available land – the nursery and the park – should be set aside to allow trees to mature.

What about the sports fields?

Some sports pitches may remain mowed and in use. The loss of wider playing facilities for schools and local groups is regrettable but this emergency measure is to secure any kind of civilised future for young people.