100 signatures reached
To: Local Government and Regeneration Committee, Scotland
Scotland: Keep a minimum distance between crematoriums and homes!
This petition asks that the Committee alters the proposed Bill to ensure it retains the 200 yard minimum distance between crematoriums and homes in order to protect the privacy of mourners and home-owners as recommended in the Governments own consultation on the Bill.
Why is this important?
Would you like to attend the funeral of one of your loved ones only to hear the sounds of a neighbouring barbecue or a loud stereo? Would you like to live next door to a constant funeral procession, with all the associated sounds coming through your windows daily?
The Scottish Government is proposing to allow crematoriums to be built and operated directly next to your house in their new Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill. The Local Government and Regeneration Committee will meet on January 6th to review their proposals.
The Scottish Government have made a huge oversight in their new Cremations and Burials Bill: they have removed the requirement for any minimum distance to be upheld between crematoriums and homes. This is a vital protection for the privacy of mourners and home-owners and a minimum distance must be upheld in law.
In the Government's own consultation paper on the bill (which they put out to industry experts to pass comment on their plans) 75% of respondents recommended to keep a minimum distance of 200 yards (see Q11 in this document: https://goo.gl/8PlZ93). The Consultation Report states:
"Respondents were strongly in favour of retaining a significant minimum distance. Many who commented considered that the most important factor for retaining a minimum distance was to ensure privacy and dignity for both home owners and mourners. A substantial distance would also ensure adequate provision for memorial gardens and car parking."
This petition asks the Local Government and Regeneration Committee to ensure the 200 yard minimum distance is upheld in the new Bill.
Already in Haddington, East Lothian, the local planning authority has granted permission for a crematorium to be built in anticipation of the new law - construction has not begun yet but it will soon if the Bill is passed by the Committee this petition is addressed to. For the crematorium in question; there are several neighbouring properties, including a dairy farm. The closest home is only 45 yards away and has bedroom windows below the level of the proposed chimneys in line with the prevailing wind! The proposed car park for the crematorium is directly next to the garden meaning that both the home owners and mourners would have a huge lack of privacy. Imagine walking to your loved-one's funeral and hearing children playing or people laughing? Imagine trying to relax in your garden whilst mourners walk by. Also, emissions from crematoriums are still not entirely understood - particularly and most worryingly in the case of mercury which is present in tooth fillings and is extremely toxic to humans and animals.
The Scottish Government hope that by removing the requirement for any minimum distance to be upheld between a crematorium and a home that local planning authorities will make the correct decisions on a case-by-case basis. However, the above development is a case in point that this does not work: East Lothian council owns the building in which the proposed crematorium is to be built and they have wanted to sell it for a number of years. They have agreed a deal with a crematorium developer to sell the building and therefore have a vested interest in ensuring everything goes smoothly in the panning process and, as such, have ignored local businesses and home-owners concerns and ignored all of the numerous negative impacts the development might have. They have abandoned due diligence in the pursuit of profit.
If the Scottish Government allows this Bill to pass without upholding the minimum distance of 200 yards which is recommended by it's own consultation then it is condemning not only the people of Haddington but also countless others in future to have their homes and businesses - never mind the funerals all over the country - severely affected. The Government's job is to create legislation to protect people in all aspects life and if this Bill is passed into law without upholding any minimum distance between a crematorium and homes/businesses then the Government will fail in it's duty to the people of Scotland.
It is clear that Local Planning Authorities are subject to prejudice and therefore fail to protect the people of Scotland given what has occurred in Haddington, East Lothian in anticipation of the new law being passed.
Please uphold the minimum distance of 200 yards!
How it will be delivered
This petition will be emailed to all members of the Committee the day before the meeting in which they will discuss the bill.