Planning consultant says NI legislation on crematoria must be brought into line with rest of UK

An artist's impression of the proposed Lisburn crematorium
An artist's impression of the proposed Lisburn crematorium

A planning consultant who represents the private company behind a major cemetery and crematorium project near Moira says legislation here needs to be brought into line with the rest of the UK.

While the rules in Northern Ireland currently prevent private firms from operating crematoria – legislation that would have to be changed by the Assembly – Les Ross of Ross Planning insisted that preparatory work on Lisburn City Crematorium and Cemetery is pushing ahead.

“Work has already started on the site, including the main access being created, drainage installed, landscaping and foundations laid down,” he said.

“During 2019 the developers intend to continue the work by creating the internal roads and installing additional landscaping, however it is unlikely that the building will be completed until the legislation is changed.

“Based on discussions a few years ago, the developers had fully expected the Assembly to make the necessary alterations to the legislation to bring it in line with the rest of the UK. Until this happens it is difficult to press on with creating this much-needed facility.”

Confirming that a change in the legislation will be a matter for the NI Assembly, a spokesperson for the Department for Communities said: “Article 17(8) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985 makes it an offence for anyone other than a council to conduct a cremation. A change to allow anyone other than a council i.e., a private company, to conduct a cremation will require a change in legislation and an incoming Minister.”

• Read related story - Crematorium plans approved, but confusion over legislation holding up progress