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Revised rules for Highland burial grounds and crematorium

By Louise Glen

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Revised rules for Highland burial grounds and crematorium.
Revised rules for Highland burial grounds and crematorium.

Revised burial grounds and crematorium management rules are to come into place from 1 June 2021 for the next 10 years.

Following a public consultation that took place in February and March this year, members of Highland Council’s communities and place committee have today approved the revised management rules.

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the communities and place committee, said: “The council recognises that this very important public service, is delivered sensitively and with care.

“It’s important that people are aware that there are rules that apply in our burials grounds and crematorium and why these rules are in place. The council will promote the rules to raise public awareness.

“Clear guidance will be provided to staff on proportionate, fair, consistent enforcement approach to breaches of the management rules. This will include guidance on when it is appropriate to take action and the action to be taken.”

Councillor Duncan Macpherson, Inverness South ward, welcomed the news. He said: "I’m glad to see that the Highland Council officers have responded positively to the suggestions made via the public consultation on burial grounds and cremation management rules.

"I was one of the councillors who raised my concerns in November when I first read the proposed guidelines on the censorship of having music played at council–managed burial grounds.

"Outlawing bag pipes at funerals was simply not acceptable.

"I’ve attended Highland funerals when a family member or close friend of the deceased has played a tune on a family heirloom fiddle and I’ve even been present when a beautiful lament was played on the small pipes.

"The playing of bagpipes is a fundamental part of our Highland culture, which was sadly outlawed, along with the wearing of clan tartans for many years after the Battle of Culloden.

"As a Highland Councillor who represents the ward that includes Culloden Battlefield, I would say: We don’t want an ill advised bureaucratic oversight in the new guidelines for funerals to spoil the wishes of our citizens, for a traditional Highland funeral and a musical send-off at the graveside.

The Highland Burial grounds and crematorium management rules are on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/burialgrounds

The Highland Council has a statutory obligation to manage burial provision, memorial safety and cremations as set out in the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016. The council will undertake its next statutory review of burials grounds and crematorium management rules in the year 2030.

READ: Regulations governing all 268 burial grounds across the Highlands and Inverness Crematorium are set to be updated after a public consultation amid concerns that included motorhomes using cemetery car parks for overnight stays

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