People will soon be able to be buried in woodlands in Argyll and Bute thanks to a new policy being introduced by the council.
Four of the area’s cemeteries will be extended to include an area for woodland and green burials, which are more environmentally friendly.
The policy has been designed to provide choice for those who are seeking an alternative to a traditional burial. But one downside is that a lair will cost double that of a normal plot.
The cemeteries proposed to have woodland burial areas are Pennyfuir, at Oban; Carrick at Tarbert; Strachur in Cowal; and Barbour in Helensburgh and Lomond.
Jim Smith, head of roads and amenity services, told the council’s environment development and infrastructure committee members yesterday: “We have proposals for four sites as a starting point and it is proposed that we monitor the take up.
“There have been an average of about six inquiries a year over the last three years about this. If the policy is agreed to and once we have got that facility we will decide whether to expand it.”
Woodland burials are essentially burials in a less formal setting than traditional cemeteries. The graves are shallower, and there is only one internment. Maintenance standards are more in keeping with a natural woodland setting, with grass being generally cut only once per growing season.
Trees are planted at or near the grave to provide a tree canopy over time. Funeral processes and the type and construction of coffins are also more sympathetic to the environment.
Woodland burials require more land due to the low density of lairs and the single interment which reduces the number of interments by comparison to similar areas of land in conventional cemeteries. For this reason the council is proposing that lairs in a woodland burial setting will cost twice the price of a conventional lair.
Councillor Ellen Morton added: “This is a good news story. We are expanding the service, we are offering an alternative.”
The woodland burials plan will now go before the policy and resources committee to be rubber stamped.