Northern Ireland

Moira crematorium approved by minister

Roselawn Crematorium
Image caption Northern Ireland currently only has one crematorium, at Roselawn just outside Belfast

A new crematorium and cemetery in Moira, County Down, has been given the go-ahead.

The development, on the Lisburn Road, will include up to 9,000 burial plots, memorial gardens and landscaped parkland, and will be constructed close to the M1 motorway.

It will provide up to 40 years of additional burial capacity.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said there was a need for a facility of this kind in the Lisburn area.

He said he had given careful consideration to the views of the local community, amongst others.

"I am satisfied that the development can be satisfactorily integrated into the surrounding environment without causing undue harm to existing residents," he said.

The 30-acre site would be backed by a £4m investment and include access roads and car parking.

Long wait

Northern Ireland currently only has one crematorium, at Roselawn just outside Belfast.

In England and Wales there are more than 250 public and privately owned crematoria.

Figures from last year indicated that about 18% of funerals in Northern Ireland were cremations. The figure for the rest of UK was 74%.

However, the number of people choosing cremations in Northern Ireland has been rising. Last year many families had to wait eight days for such funerals.

Hugh Dougal of the National Association of Funeral Directors outlined the difficulties that could arise.

"If we want to book a cremation for a family we can't get the times the family want," he said.

"Sometimes we have the funeral service one day and the cremation the next day.

"It is a long, drawn-out process for the families."

Earlier this month a planning application was submitted for a £1m crematorium in Omagh, County Tyrone.

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