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Leedam Natural Burials

Leedam are the leading provider of natural burial grounds in the UK. We have 10 burial grounds across Wales, England and Scotland. Our ethos is to only use natural materials and leave the lightest of footprints - The way you see the burial grounds today is the way they will always stay, a natural environment that can continue to be a habitat for wildlife, used for grazing or become mature thriving native woodland.

Why do you care about the climate?

The funeral industry is a huge polluter at every stage…

1. Embalming is terrible for the environment and releases toxins into the soil (we do not allow it at our burial grounds)

2. 79% of people in the UK are cremated, which is around 470,000 people each year spread across the UK’s 300 crematoriums (Pharos Statistic Issue 2019). Out of these 300 crematoriums, there are approximately 606 cremator machines; 99% of which are gas powered. For every gas cremation, approximately 245 kg of carbon is released into the atmosphere which, when added together, is around 115,150 tonnes of carbon released each year; solely from cremation in the UK.

In 2012, Crematoriums were required to fit mercury arrestment systems, but still, this has not been enforced and there are crematoriums that still have not fitted these systems. Exposure to mercury pollution is linked to damage to the brain, nervous system and fertility.

3. Granite headstones used in traditional cemeteries are quarried, which causes air and water pollution, as well as degradation of land and vegetation. It is then shipped across the world usually from Africa or India.

4. The impact of cut flowers is not only the shipping but the pesticides, refrigeration and water usage (Read this TED article)

5. Mowing of grass cemeteries, which uses fuel and does not encourage biodiversity or rich wildlife habitats.

We are passionate about showing people that there is a more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional funeral options.

These burial grounds are protecting the land from being built on in the future and usually lie within Green Belts, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, or have Historic Monuments… Let’s protect our beautiful British landscapes and make sure they stay that way in the future.

What action do you want to see from our leaders?

Stronger regulations for the funeral industry – ban embalming and tax crematoriums for their CO2 emissions so they cannot continue to offer cheap and harmful cremation options – Also greenwashing their claims (e.g. planting a tree for each cremation – Read this study for more information).

Invest more in green funeral options, which are sustainable and have a long-term vision rather than creating cemeteries that are long-term liabilities.

What gives you hope for the future?

People are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their life choices and we hope this will be extended to choices in death as well. We have seen an increase in more people choosing natural burial… Not just for environmental reasons, but because it feels like a peaceful, natural and beautiful place to be laid to rest.

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