Burial charges on the increase

WHITBY people will have to fork out more for burials, with council charges set to rise.

And those buying exclusive rights for burial in a grave are facing a price hike of around 10 per cent.

The proposals are contained in a report from Andy Skelton, Scarborough Borough Council’s head of environmental services, which will presented to Councillor Jonathan Dixon, the portfolio holder for housing, public health, property maintenance and sustainability.

If accepted, it would mean that people wishing to buy exclusive rights of burial could expect a bill of up to £600.

In the report Mr Skelton said: “The proposed fees and charges have generally been increased by around two per cent – rounded up or down as appropriate – in accordance with the council’s approved budget strategy. There are, however, some variations from this approach. “In 2008 it was reported that a review of charges, including benchmarking against other authorities, had been undertaken and that the charge then made was well below the average in the region, “ he said.

“An above inflation rise was therefore applied to this charge with the intention of further above inflation rises in subsequent years to bring the charge in line with the average. “It is therefore proposed to increase the charges for exclusive rights by a further 10 per cent in 2011/2012. It is considered this increase would bring this charge more in line with that charged by other authorities and therefore this will be the final above inflation increase.”

Currently the council charges between £210 and £555 for the exclusive rights – depending on the size of the grave – but under the proposed new charges this could rise to between £215 and £600.

Last year it was revealed that charges for cremations would cost more than £500 when new green laws were introduced.

The council introduced a £50 environmental charge for all adult cremations at Whitby’s nearest crematorium, Woodlands Crematorium in Scarborough, to deal with the environmental pollution caused during the process.

The new charge was introduced because of changes in environmental legislation relating to mercury emissions which are produced in crematoriums.

The extra £50 covers the £580,000 cost of the installation of mercury abatement equipment, which helps to reduce the level of mercury in the crematorium.

Under the proposed charges the cost of an adult cremation is set to rise from £471 to £480 while the environmental charge would stay at the same level.

On average there are around 1,100 cremations each year at Woodlands Crematorium.