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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Plan to reuse old graves unveiled
Gravestones in cemetery
The government could break a taboo to ease a shortage of space
Old graves could be reused to ease an acute shortage of space in cemeteries, the government has said.

Untended graves more than 75 years old would be reopened and the remains buried deeper to make room for another coffin in the same plot.

Harriet Harman, the minister responsible for cemeteries, was ready to break a "political taboo" with the plan, she told the Evening Standard.

A consultation earlier this year looked at the idea for England and Wales.

Ms Harman said: "We have now got to make some decisions that have been put off and put off.

It's the big political taboo, isn't it, and it has become quite complex with all the different cultural approaches to death
Harriet Harman

"They have been put off because people do not want to make the decision about whether you do what is described as "lift and deepen".

"This is where you use space - I am phrasing this delicately - in a vertical as well as a horizontal way.

"It's the big political taboo, isn't it, and it has become quite complex with all the different cultural approaches to death."

The Government's consultation on the issue involves local authorities, churches and local communities.

Ms Harman said the problem was particularly bad in London, where Mayor Ken Livingstone backs the idea.

Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management chief executive Tim Morris said it has been difficult politically for governments to implement the plan.

"It was recommended by a Commons committee five years ago and the public assume it already happens but no government has had the stomach to actually do it," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Plan agreed to end grave problem
17 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Borough suffering grave problem
02 Jun 05 |  Nottinghamshire


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