Thursday, 16 August 2007
Green funerals get green light
DENTON Cemetery is to start offering ‘green burials’ to bereaved families. Instead of a traditional headstone, a tree is planted on the grave, eventually creating a small woodland. The 100-year-old cemetery was one of just four nationally to be awarded a green flag recently. Advertisement It has lovingly tended gardens and a variety of established trees within the grounds. Tameside’s senior registrar, Mike Gurney, said: "We’re planning to create an area for green burials within the next 12 to 18 months. Instead of a traditional memorial they have a tree planted on the grave. A husband and wife would also be next to each other rather than on top of each other like in a traditional grave. It would end up as a sort of woodland area and we may plant bulbs. We’ve earmarked an area for it – it’s a lovely location already." He said while there wasn’t much demand at the moment for green burials in Tameside they wanted to include the choice as part of their charter for the bereaved. "We’ve had one or two people asking about it but up until now we’ve had to pass them on to other places that do it," said Mr Gurney. The cost of a green burial would not be much different to a traditional one, although a tree would be less expensive than a gravestone. The bereavement service can also help with DIY funerals and sourcing coffins made from cardboard or other materials for eco-friendly funerals. Tameside Council is also planning to offer bereaved families a chance to buy trees as memorials. They will be able to have them planted in any of the borough’s eight cemeteries in memory of a loved one. The council says this will be a way of generating income for the service as well as carbon offsetting and making cemeteries more attractive. Information on tree types and prices will be available from next month.