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Public opinion sought on revised management rules for Highland burial grounds

14th September 2009

People in the Highlands are being asked to have their say on proposed new management rules for burial grounds under the control of The Highland Council.

The Council approved the current management rules for burial grounds in 1999. Under Section 112 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, the Council is now required to revise and confirm the rules for another 10 years.

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee said: "Most people don't like to think about dealing with a death in their family. However, for anyone who either already has connections with Highland burial grounds or intends using them in the future it is important that they are aware that there are rules and regulations tied to using them. Being aware of the proposed changes and having a say, may help to avoid any unnecessary stresses in the future."

Copies of the proposed management rules are available at Council Service Points, Libraries and TEC Services Offices and can also be viewed on the Council's website at: www.highland.gov.uk/burialgrounds.

Some of the changes proposed to the management rules include:
Removal of the sale of lairs in perpetuity with lairs sold with a limited but renewable tenure of 25 years. This provides for better management of lairs, assists the Council in tracing ownership of the headstone in the event of it becoming unstable, and has the potential to release lairs which are no longer required.

The ownership of a lair can be renewed at the end of 25 year period for a nominal administration fee. The lair holder will also be able to return the lair if it is unused and no longer required.

In accordance with the Council's own policy, to provide for the long term stability of headstones, applications to erect headstone must be made by a memorial mason registered with the British Register of Memorial Masons (BRAMM).

Minor procedural changes including the issuing of invoices to the individual who requests the service and transferring lairs within or between cemeteries, subject to an administration charge.

The proposed changes to the management rules will only take effect once they are confirmed at a future TEC Services committee.

Undertakers and memorial masons have already been consulted on the proposals and members of the public now have until Friday 16th October to submit their comments.

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