Wanstead Flats temporary coronavirus mortuary to become wildflower habitat

A temporary morgue on Wanstead Flats in East London will become a wildflower habitat Credit: PA

A temporary London mortuary used to store bodies at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic is being dismantled to make way for a new wildflower habitat.

The site, opened in April at Wanstead Flats in east London, was one of six emergency mortuaries set up to deal with deaths.

Temporary mortuary on Wanstead Flats Credit: PA

But as the death rate has fallen, the four-acre site near Epping Forest "will be reseeded with native species" and expected to open to the public next summer, said the City of London Corporation, which owns the land.

Notice that the area is fenced off to protect re-growing plants Credit: PA

While coronavirus is likely to still be with us for a long time and we mustn't be complacent, the removal of the mortuary is a welcome sign of the green shoots of normal life beginning to return to our open spaces.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, City of London Corporation

In the coming weeks, teams will prepare the soil before sowing the land with a wildflower seed mix, including seeds collected from nearby areas of the forest.

When it has grown, the grassland will provide a rich habitat for visitors and wildlife to enjoy, and will mark out a lasting, natural reminder of those who lost their lives to coronavirus.

Graeme Doshi-Smith, City of London Corporation
Wanstead Flats is the southernmost portion of Epping Forest Credit: PA