By Steve Taggart
The cost of dying is increasing beyond the rate of inflation. Buying a grave, particularly within London and other urban areas is, in part, a reason for this. Land is at a premium and the financial burden of operating local authority cemeteries is high.
The average cost of a grave within London is £3,250, this does not include the funeral director’s fees which will usually add another £2,500. The most expensive borough is Haringey where a new grave for one person costs £7,755. Should someone wish, or want, to be buried outside of the borough where they reside the cemetery charge can triple.
This prohibitive cost of burial often leaves financially conscious Londoners with little choice but to Cremate.
Cremation fees within London can be as much as £1,100, including the Doctors’ ash-cash fees. (a certification charge that is not required for burial).
There are, thankfully, other options for those willing to relinquish central London for the peace of the countryside. Within a two hour drive from Westminster there are thirteen Natural Burial Grounds. Seven of these sites offer burial for £1,000 and under.
Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground on the North Surrey, Kent border is the closest to central London; just twenty seven miles from Westminster. It will provide a fully inclusive burial (plot, grave preparation and memorial tree planting) for £970.
Natural Burial sites offer a cost effective, ecologically friendly alternative to traditional burial or cremation, they are time rich and families can create whatever type of service or ceremony they like.
Most mainstream funeral retailers fail to inform their clients about this burial option. After all, the greatest profit margin comes from sticking to the familiar, funeral formula, that they can perform almost without thinking. Plus the speedy time slots at crematoria offer the most ergonomic use of their men and vehicles. There are however forward thinking funeral directors who will take families wherever they want to go; shopping around for these is imperative.
The Natural Death Centre charity can provide a wealth of information on all alternative options. The fallacy that death is complicated is perpetuated by the industry, when in effect it is not that complex. There is no legal requirement to employ a funeral director. The paperwork is not onerous. Embalming is not compulsory. The deceased may be cared for at home. A coffin can be purchased online and the body transported in the family estate car or Dad’s works van.
Whilst this degree of involvement may not be for most people, there are other options to suit everyone at a fraction of today’s typical costs.
visit www.naturaldeath.org.uk helpline 01962 712690