Skye and Raasay Area Committee updated on burial ground capacity and new burial grounds

At today’s Highland Council Skye and Raasay Area Committee Members were updated on a review of burial ground capacity and new burial grounds in the Skye and Raasay area. 

Members noted the progress made on establishing the accurate numbers of available lair capacity and the ongoing work to secure land for burial ground expansion.

On chairing the committee on 31 May, Cllr John Finlayson said: “Members are aware of the growing concern over the lack of capacity in our burial grounds on Skye and Raasay which communities continue to contact us about.

To mitigate the diminishing burial ground capacities, Council Officers are actively reviewing various locations to acquire new land suitable for the development of burial ground extensions, or in some cases new burial grounds.

“We understand the challenges in identifying suitable and available land in Skye and Raasay and welcome the work being carried out by officers and that a number of priority sites with investment could be suitable for extension. This would allow site capacity to significantly increase allowing the burial grounds to remain open for a further 20-30 years minimum.

“Continued discussion with landowners and community groups to assist in identifying land that could allow existing sites to be extended or new grounds developed is vital.”

A Graduate Intern appointed by the Council is working within its Bereavement Services Team, collating recent and historical capacity figures held at area office level on each of the Council burial grounds and comparing these records with the physical capacities in each location. This work is crucial if a digital recording system will be developed to maintain all future, current and historical data held by the Council. Options on this are being explored including an existing system in use in Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey recording all information relating to burials and lair purchases.

The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 determines that The Highland Council is statutorily obliged to provide at least one burial ground within its area. The Highland Council currently has 268 burial grounds.

The Council is taking forward a project that will involve a detailed, strategic review of the planning of the Council’s cemeteries for the next 20 years. This will include reviewing current capacity within our cemeteries and identifying potential options for consideration and as part of the Council’s approach to developing its capital programme priorities.

31 May 2021