A natural burial ground could be created next to Worthing Crematorium in Findon.
Natural burial areas offered the bereaved the option of interring their loved one in either a woodland or wildflower meadow setting.
Both options are proposed to be included into the future Worthing Borough Council natural burial site.
There is a growing number of private and local authority natural burial areas being established across the country since the concept was introduced into the UK in Carlisle in 1993.
The natural burial option, offers an alternative and is in addition to, the traditional lawn cemetery that local authorities have historically provided for burials.
The proposal is that there will be three different interment options:
• ●Woodland grave - a grave associated with an individual tree, although the tree will be adjacent as part of a woodland and not directly on the grave.
• Meadow grave - a grave designed to form part of an overall wildflower meadow. These will form the majority of graves available on the site.
• Cremated remains grave - Smaller graves designed for the burial of biodegradable caskets which will be provided for the above two categories.
The ten-hectare site is currently gently sloping arable farmland and is owned privately within a family trust.
The location has a key advantage given the crematorium infrastructure is already in place and could service any natural burials that take place.
Outside of planning considerations and environmental constraints, the land itself will require only signs, naturally surfaced pathways and for a grave layout to be established.
The nearest natural burial site is privately operated by the Southern Co-operative at Clayton, on the outskirts of Brighton nearly 12 miles away.
According to officers: “The location of Worthing Crematorium in the South Downs National Park is clearly a significant benefit and is likely to be seen as a positive consideration for those making choices about options. The provision of a natural burial area will add to the range of services that we are able to offer as a bereavement service, from this location.”
Once the site is purchased the natural burial area would provide a regular income stream for the council.
It would also mean that Durrington Cemetemery would be able to operate for longer, as a percentage of interments would instead take place at the new natural burial ground.
The council’s executive members are due to approve the release of £150,000 to carry out due diligence, investigate planning issues and to fund the environmental studies at a meeting next Tuesday (March 5).