Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Green light for 'natural' graveyard

A 'natural' graveyard has banned hardwood coffins and marble headstones

Planners have given the green light for the country's first natural graveyard banning marble headstones and varnished, hardwood coffins, it has been revealed.

The 7.5 acre site at Woodbrook House, close to the village of Killane in Co Wexford, will have a capacity for some 5,000 plots and is expected to be open in around six weeks.

Colin McAteer, 34, of The Green Grave Yard Company Ltd, said around 300 queries have been received from families throughout Ireland and as far away as Canada since he lodged a planning application late last year.

The businessman said people were drawn to the idea because of the environmental perks.

"You're effectively using your funeral as a conservation tool, leaving a legacy of care and respect for the planet," he said.

"The idea of the graveyard is that the ground has a second use as a new living, breathing forest.

"If you look at an ordinary graveyard, there's very little wildlife, there's very little nature.

"The model that we're proposing is that you'll be creating a forest which will provide new habitat for the wildlife."

Mr McAteer said marble headstones and concrete surrounds will be replaced by native Irish trees and small grave markers, no larger than 12 inches square, formed from locally carved stone or wood.

Coffins will be allowed, but they must be made from environmentally friendly materials and not be varnished with brass handles or constructed using hard-wood.

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