Headlines: April 23rd, 2010

Local authorities in Wales are facing a call for a co-ordinated approach to providing and managing burial grounds. The Church in Wales says such an approach is the only way to prevent a crisis in the next ten years.

It is calling for action from councils and from the Welsh Assembly Government after warning that two-thirds of church graveyards are likely to run out of space and that there will a bill for an estimated 16 million pounds to maintain them. The Church is approaching the Assembly Government, local authorities and community councils for help after getting approval for such a move from its own governing body.

It is proposing that closed burial grounds should be maintained at public expense by community councils or local authorities, as is the case in England. It also wants to see the establishment of a government commission to develop a coordinated and planned approach to providing and maintaining burial space and is also calling for discussions at national and local level to explore ideas for looking after closed churchyards. The Church is also suggesting the introduction of an additional burial fee to fund the maintenance of closed churchyards.

Alex Glanville, its head of property services said that without help, churchyards across Wales would fall into disrepair and added: “Churchyards are a unique repository of information about our past and provide the story of the Welsh nation. Without help, this precious resource will deteriorate yet further.”