Britain is leading the world in green burials as more and more people decide to be laid to rest in woodlands, meadows, farmlands and other habitats which are rich in wildlife -- and there are no laws preventing it as there are in many other countries.
New research to be presented at the international conference in London of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) shows that people choose green burials because of sustainability, to be in a pleasant, peaceful place which means something to them, or because local cemeteries are full.
Dr Richard Yarwood, and a team from the University of Plymouth's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who conducted a national survey of green burial sites, forecast that the number will continue to grow. In 1993, there was one in Carlisle; now there are more than 200 sites across the UK, mostly in the south east and south west.
Dr Yarwood said: "All the sites report a high demand, not only locally but also from people who have a connection to a place through holidays or family.
"Our survey shows that more than half of the sites are owned by local authorities and the rest by companies, landowners and charitable trusts. About a fifth are business opportunities, often linked to farm diversification. The sites are unregulated, but need planning permission.
"No two sites offer the same service and this individual approach is exactly what people want. Different practices at different sites reflect our changing views to burial, mourning and remembrance."
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