October 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Heavy rainfall is flooding new graves and has caused Havering Council to change the funeral arrangements at one cemetery.
Constant wet weather over the last few months has caused high water levels and the council have now decided no burials will take place at Romford Cemetery, in Crow Lane, before 11am.
This is due to graves dug the day before a funeral filling up with water and being at risk of collapse when diggers reach the required levels.
The decision came into effect on Wednesday, and means graves will now be dug on the morning of the funeral for the immediate future.
Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing and public protection, said: “We have not taken the decision lightly but must do this as we cannot risk graves flooding or collapsing.
“We know bereavement is the most difficult time for families and therefore we will do everything we can to support them. We will continue to monitor the situation so that as soon as it improves the usual arrangements can once again take place in Romford.”
The council have informed all funeral directors about the decision.
Roy Allen, director at James Hawes Funeral Directors in North Street, Romford, said informing families was a “delicate issue.”
“They are usually understanding. It’s just nature, there’s not alot that can be done about it,” he said.
Bereaved families will still be able to bury a family member in an existing grave depending on the depth and the location within the cemetary.
The council will look at each burial request and try to accommodate the family’s wishes wherever possible.
Hornchurch, Rainham and Upminster Cemeteries have not been as severely affected so burials are able to continue.
In January last year, all burials were suspended for three weeks for the same reason.