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Update On Projects To Maintain Burial Ground Capacity And Crematorium Services For The Highlands

3rd September 2023

A report was presented to members of the Communities and Place Committee yesterday (Thursday, 31 August) outlining a number of Bereavement Services projects currently being progressed to maintain burial ground capacity and crematorium services within the Highlands.

The update focused on matters around the progress of burial ground extensions and also on work which has been commissioned to review the options for a cremator replacement at Inverness Crematorium.

Detailed analysis and projections are used by the Bereavement Services Project Board - which also provides governance and oversight – to inform priority areas within the region, either for sourcing areas of land for the development of new burial grounds, or extending existing grounds to provide additional lairs to meet the future projected need of localities.

The provision of suitable burial grounds is generally delivered through the Council's capital programme, however, members were encouraged to hear that works are progressing well with £300,000 worth of funding secured through the Health and Prosperity Strategy having delivered the completion of an extension to the burial ground at Daviot, Inverness and contracts successfully awarded for upcoming works in Skye.

Furthermore, £100,000 of the Health and Prosperity Strategy funding has been identified specifically to support ongoing improvements at the Crematorium in Inverness.

Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Communities and Place Committee, acknowledged some of the challenges relayed to members in yesterday's update and said: "The Council operates a vast estate of 245 burial grounds and we remain aware of the challenges presented in some areas of Highland in terms of securing suitable land for new developments. The team are reviewing burial ground extensions where current capacity is less than 10 years based on past trends and will look to provide additional lairs at existing grounds where it is possible to do so."

He continued: “In doing so, we hope to be able to continue to meet the expectations and preferences of communities and the newly-completed extensions at Chapellhill, Easter Ross and Proncynain, Dornoch are testament to this commitment.”

There are recognised challenges in some areas with burial ground provision with it becoming increasingly difficult to identify available land for development of extensions or for new burial grounds.

Cllr MacKenzie concluded by recognising the progress being made in investigating improvements for the Crematorium in Inverness: “Work is already underway on a project to review the options for the replacement of the current cremators to comply with national legislative changes being brought forward by the UK Government from 2027. Additionally, a number of changes are currently under consideration to improve the overall experience of families and visitors to the crematorium along with an enhanced range of memorial and remembrance options.”


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