Future burial and cremation optionsBurials can take place in three of our cemeteries - Roselawn, Dundonald and Belfast City Cemetery
Roselawn is the only cemetery with new burial plots available. There are no new grave plots available in either Dundonald or Belfast City Cemetery, but burials can still take place in existing graves.
As cemetery space becomes increasingly full however, we need to think about how we will manage burials within the greater Belfast area in the future.
To help us do this, we are considering a number of options, including:
- identifying a new cemetery site
- providing additional cremation facilities
- exploring other burial methods, such as natural burials
Natural burialsA natural or 'green' burial is when the body is not embalmed and is instead buried in a single-depth grave in a biodegradable coffin. This allows the body to recycle naturally into the ground.
Other features of natural burial include:
- identifying graves with a simple stone or other marker
- covering the whole area with grass and wildflowers
- planting native trees so the area eventually becomes woodland, with paths leading to the graves
- placing only fresh flowers (without any wrapping or containers) on graves.
Following extensive testing at both sites, our findings indicated that ground conditions at Lisleen would provide a potential cemetery site for the wider Belfast area. However, work would need to be carried out to develop a management system to help minimise the impact on the water environment in the area.
Test results from Nutt's Corner showed that, in its current form, at least part of the site is unsuitable for development as a cemetery.
While these assessments were carried out, we commissioned a report to examine our assumptions about the need for a new cemetery. There are a number of reasons for this, including:
- change in burial rates - trends show that the demand for burials is decreasing, as more people are choosing cremation as an alternative
- Reform of local government - new council boundaries from April 2015 mean we will grow to take in around 50,000 additional residents
- additional land is now available beside Roselawn Cemetery, which means that we could potentially extend this burial ground. This would be subject to planning permission which we have now applied for.
These findings were discussed by our councillors at a meeting of the council's Burials Working Group on 10 August 2010. The group made a number of recommendations which were brought to our Parks and Leisure committee in September 2010.
The committee agreed that the Nutt's Corner site is not suitable, and will no longer be considered as a potential site for a new cemetery. In November 2010, the committee also agreed that the Lisleen site will no longer be considered as a potential site for a new cemetery.
We are currently undertaking a process to identify potential new sites. Updates will be published on this website when available.