It is common knowledge that traditional burials are becoming increasingly environmentally harmful. Chemicals used in embalming, lacquered wooden caskets buried beneath the ground, polished stone, and marble tombstones permanently altering the landscape are all things that cause extensive and lasting damage to surrounding ecosystems.
But there are alternatives. Natural, or green burial, which seeks to mitigate the environmental impact of death, has recently been growing in popularity
A Green Burial at Speeton Village Association Natural Burial Ground
The Green Burial site at Speeton is a scenic place of reflection for family and friends to visit. There are beautiful sea views and natural surroundings of the Yorkshire coastline. As the area is a natural reserve for wildlife, the sowing of wildflower seeds and planting of bulbs is encouraged.
No particular form of service or interment is expected, the choice is left to the family. The village church is available if required.
Speeton Natural Burial Ground offers unrestricted access for visitors, so family and friends may visit whenever they choose.
Hannah Rose can offer a natural burial service at this burial ground at the time of need, or as a pre-paid plan with a nationally recognised plan provider.
History of Green Burials
The first UK Green Burial site was opened in Carlisle Cemetery, Carlisle in 1994. This is a woodland site and will become a red squirrel reserve once full. There are now over 200 Green Burial sites across the UK.
For further information on Green Burials visit www.naturaldeath.org.uk
Arranging a Green Burial
Green burials can be arranged in the same way as standard burials. These are done either through Hannah Rose Funeral Services or directly with the Burial Authority.
A plot in the green burial section of a cemetery or natural burial ground can be pre-purchased.
Green burial plots are for one interment only.
Coffins for Green Burials should be made of bio-degradable substances. This can be untreated wood, wicker, bamboo, papier máchë or cardboard. The interior of the coffin should not contain plastic materials. Hannah Rose Funeral services offer a selection of coffin types. Homemade coffins of a suitable material are also allowed. All coffins should be agreed by the Cemeteries Administration office prior to the burial taking place.
To reduce the environmental impact even further, embalming should not be carried out. Metal fittings and clothing items should also be replaced with bio-degradable ones.
Green Burials do not allow headstones or memorials to be placed on an individual grave. However a wooden memorial plaque at the head of the grave is permitted.
Memorial benches can also be purchased and located as near to the green burial area as possible, a wooden memorial plaque could also be fitted onto the memorial bench, with a personal dedication.
Further information on benches and wooden plaque placement can be obtained from the cemeteries office.
How Can the Family Be Involved?
As with any funeral, family and friends can be involved as much or as little as they wish.
A Funeral Director does not have to be involved. Occasionally, the family themselves choose to arrange as much of the burial as possible and cemeteries staff will ensure clear guidance on procedures is provided.
The family are allowed a token participation in the filling of the grave, but for health and safety reasons, the majority of this process is performed by cemetery staff after the family have left the grave side.
What are the Environmental Benefits of a Green Burial?
Formal cemeteries have a single use. Over time a full cemetery is visited by less and less people and can often fall into disrepair.
Green burials allow for cemeteries to have other uses than that of a standard burial ground. They encourage wildlife and provide a peaceful public space for reflection for years to come.