I came across a UK web site called Natural Death that has some really cool information that has helped me clear some things up in my mind.
- I do not have to use a funeral director at all;
- Anyone can be buried or cremated without a coffin;
- A hearse is not required to move a body;
- I do not have to be cremated regardless of what I died of;
- You can have ashes scattered – even if the body was embalmed
- You can be buried anywhere without permission – even a garden;
- There are no charges for crossing local authority boundaries;.
Tiered plots are undesirable. The shallower a burial is, the less likely the body is to release methane. This is a powerful greenhouse gas that can be produced by deep, anaerobic burials. A shallow burial is the quickest way for a body to naturally degrade. They also refuse to take embalmed bodies, and frown on headstones, types of coffin and more. It states:
“There are now hundreds of beautiful natural burial sites all around the UK. Many of them are members of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds, the organisation established by The Natural Death Centre in 1994.”
- Binning Memorial Woodland, Tyninghame, East Lothian;
- Clovery Woods of Rest, Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
Neither of which is very handy for Glasgow. Then again, maybe in future this will change, so it might be worth keeping an eye on the situation.
Aberdeen is far too far, but the one on the East Coast – way past Edinburgh – (the unfortunately named Binning woodland) looks really very nice indeed. I wonder what would be the cost of getting a body out there – but I suppose I could be stuck in a hired van (kidding! – I wouldn’t make my wife do that!). The pricelist pdf I downloaded from here. It’s presently £995 for a lair and an additional £85 administration cost. This is cheaper than the City of Glasgow’s £1165 lair plus 875 internment charges. I don’t see this woodland burial cost escalating in the same way as council graveyards – the councils are just upping their income.
Private Land Burial doesn’t apply for us because we do not have a garden at this point, but it is interesting to note how much simpler (and cheaper) it is than one would have imagined.
What I gleaned from this site is that you can do away with hearses, limos, coffins, graveyards, tiered graves, religious services, undertakers, embalming, pall bearers, and all sorts.
It sounds like a free-for-all – and it makes me wonder what the massive costs of a funeral director are actually for.
I started this year being discouraged, but this has given me some hope for the future. I am not expecting to die anytime soon, so maybe by the time I am at death’s door, mushroom suits will be quickly available and cheap, and woodland burials cheap and available easily – it’s the only way I can see to combat the strange arrangement of paying exorbitant council charges, high undertaker fees, and charges for funeral plans or insurance schemes.