Angus farmland to be site of area’s first natural burial ground

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The view across surrounding countryside from the proposed site

The first green burial ground in Angus is to be created on farmland near the border with Dundee.

Councillors unanimously approved an application for the Cairnbrae Natural Burial Ground, in a field opposite Kellas Wood.

Only around 20 burials a year will take place, involving biodegradable coffins, and no headstones or other mementos will be allowed on the half-hectare corner site.

Instead, families will be encouraged to plant trees or place small boulders to remember their loved ones. Part of the site will also be set aside for the scattering of ashes.

In time, it is hoped the scheme could accommodate almost 500 plots.

Angus planning officials said they believed the proposal, lodged by the Kettles family, who have farmed the land for generations, would enhance the local landscape.

More than 102 letters of the support for the plan were submitted. However, concerns were also raised over issues including flooding, water contamination and a fear that animals might dig down into the 1.3 metre deep lairs.

A decision on the planning bid had been deferred so environmental body SEPA could consider a number of aspects relating to the proposal.

The development standards committee heard there are now close to 300 natural burial sites across the UK, including 19 in Scotland. The closest one to Angus is at Crieff. Fife Council also recently approved the region’s first site in Aberdour.

Applicant Alma Kettles told the committee: “This would provide Tayside and Angus with its first ecologically sound alternative to natural burial.

“It would be one of the smallest in the UK, but provide Angus residents with a therapeutic, peaceful end-of-life ritual.

“We fully understand the local concerns and will do our utmost to allay those,” she added.

Angus officials said they were content with planned car parking and access arrangements for the site, which is close to a sharp bend on the road between Kellas and Murroes primary.

In their report to councillors, they said: “Through time the site would develop the appearance of a small woodland which is not an uncharacteristic or inappropriate feature in the local landscape.”