Suffolk/Essex: Green burials boosted by limited burial space

Oliver Pecock, at the burial site at Oakfield Wood, Wrabness, Essex.

Oliver Pecock, at the burial site at Oakfield Wood, Wrabness, Essex. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

MORE people are choosing green and woodland burials, partly because of a lack of room in churchyards and traditional cemeteries.

The claim comes days after cemetery managers and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management called for the law to be changed to allow existing burial plots to be re-used to combat issues of dwindling space.

Oliver Peacock, director at Woodland Burials, which operates four sites across the UK, including one in Wrabness, near Manningtree, and another in Culford, near Bury St Edmunds, said a greater number of people were choosing eco-friendly burials.

Mr Peacock said: “The woodland burial offers a less formal setting than a cemetery or churchyard; it’s not austere. It’s generally more relaxed.

“I think people feel that they are doing something personal. In addition the growth of woodland burials has been stimulated, if you like, by the lack of conventional burial space. Churchyards are full, cemeteries are getting full.”

He added: “But also, undoubtedly, people are more aware that they want to do something that is green. We have become much more conscious of our environment and seek to protect it for our future.”

Mr Peacock said: “People use it because they believe it is the right thing to do – added to the fact that it’s a beautiful place to go back and visit. It’s far more comforting going to than a cemetery full of gravestones. We actually have people taking a picnic to burial ground and sitting by the grave or on the benches and reflecting.”

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Tim Morris, of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, said the lack of burial space was a “looming crisis.” He added that, although green burial sites are important, they do not relieve pressure on lawned sites.

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