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New Charter to Lay Out Natural Burial Standards

A three-month consultation across the funeral industry has begun for a new national charter that outlines the necessary standards for serving customers who have opted for a natural burial.

The Charter for the Bereaved and Natural Burial Grounds is a joint effort of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and public and private natural burial operators.

The founder of the first natural burial site, Ken West MBE, has shown his support for the new charter, which will add to the existing Charter for the Bereaved.

If adopted after the end of the consultation process, the customer care and service standards will be made available to all natural burial sites.  The charter will be supported by an annual assessment, reinforced by an independent panel, to spot areas that need improvement and achieve the proposed level of service.

The ICCM represents bodies that own the majority of natural burial sites across the country.  It has launched the consultation because of the growing public demand for natural burials, resulting in the number of such grounds exceeding the number of crematoria.

Under the charter the public will be given information, in a transparent manner, on the future plans related to natural burial grounds and their ownership.  Thus, people will be informed of the policies on grave digging, embalming and memorials, as well as coffin and shroud options, and can have peace of mind on what each burial ground offers in terms of quality, service and environmental management.