Wrexham Council are to remove burial and cremation fees for children under the age of 18 in the county borough.
In November 2017 the Welsh Government announced a Wales-wide agreement to scrap burial and cremation fees for children under the age of 18 had been reached.
The agreement has come into place with immediate effect, with the Welsh Government making £1.5m available to local authorities and other providers of cemeteries and crematoriums across Wales.
Currently Wrexham Council does not charge for the cremation or burial of a child aged 13 years and under. There is a charge for the Exclusive Right of Burial where the grave is purchased.
To bring the policy in-line with the new Welsh Government policy, Executive Board members were this week asked to approve proposals to amend Wrexham County Borough Council’s burial and cremation charges.
The report also featured proposed changes to the traditional burial site Plas Acton Road Cemetery in Pandy.
The cemetery is divided into five sections, the Infant Section, Cremated Remains, Traditional Section, Lawned Section and Casket Section.
However it has now been proposed that once all the grave space has been used in the traditional burial section, then the remainder of the cemetery in respect of full graves (excluding the cremated remains and casket section) will be maintained as a lawned cemetery.
The traditional section is close to completion with only a few graves still available. Details in the report presented to councillors this week, explained: “The traditional section has caused operational issues, particularly when graves are reopened for new burials, due to the fencing around the graves causing problems of access for staff and the public for the new burials.
“Maintaining a traditional cemetery is far more difficult and labour intensive. Traditional cemeteries also have a lower capacity than lawned cemeteries.”
Speaking at this week’s Executive Board meeting, Lead Member for Environment, Cllr David A Bithell, said: “The Welsh Government has supported a new standard for child funerals as currently variations across Wales.
“The change is that local authorities to agree and to stop charging for the burial and Exclusive Right of burial for cremation for children under the age of 18.
“The second aspect of report is to change the management of Plas Acton Cemetery. Plas Acton Cemetery holds a traditional sections for burials where headstone, fencing and surfacing of the graves are permitted.
“Proposals outlined is once that is completed to return to a lawned cemetery area.”
The report was seconded by Cllr Joan Lowe, who said: “I think it is really good that Welsh Government have come up with the criteria and that all counties of Wales will adhere to the same and that it is standardised. These are very difficult times for families when they lose a young one.”
The report’s recommendations were backed unanimously by members of the Executive Board.