AT ITS October meeting Plantagenet Shire council voted unanimously to adopt a policy to allow natural burials to take place within the shire.
Council was told that natural burials provided a sustainable alternative to conventional burial, lowered the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the process and required less maintenance, due to the reduced need for landscaping, mowing, headstone upkeep and memorabilia management.
No embalming of bodies will be permitted and the deceased must be conveyed in an approved casket or coffin, constructed of a biodegradable and untreated material derived from a sustainable source.
No headstone or memorial, marker, stone, vase, tribute or any structure temporary or otherwise may be placed or erected at the gravesite.
Cremated remains to be contained in a biodegradable container that is non-retrievable, or placed directly into the earth.
Editorial note: In May 2014 the Denmark Shire council adopted a concept development plan to create a natural burial area at the cemetery, on the site of the present overflow parking area. Creating a dedicated area is very costly and needs to be incorporated into council’s business plan for budgetary consideration before it can proceed. There is nothing to prevent natural burials in the existing cemetery, but the applicable local law requires that a lead plate be affixed to every coffin. This is contrary to the requirements for a natural burial, in which all components must be fully biodegradable and chemical-free.