The UK’s Biodiversity levels are amongst the worst in Europe. In fact the UK is currently placed in the lowest 12% of global countries and territories for biodiversity intactness. Many local authorities are now declaring ecological emergencies to try to address these losses. It may be asked where does cemeteries come into all of this? Cemeteries and burial places make up over 4% of the UK’s greenspaces and provide vital and often the last remaining refuges for many species of flora and fauna.
This recognition has led many local authorities to consider how best they can use these spaces to protect and enhance the opportunities for biodiversity, whilst still being aware that these spaces are important places of remembrance for bereaved families.
APSE undertook a survey in 2022 to look at how local authorities are addressing this issue and from the results, has produced a report which contains both useful case studies on practical approaches to making space for nature in our burial grounds, but also puts the historical context of the link between cemeteries and the natural world in perspective.