A PLAN to re-use old graves for new burials has sparked concern.
Home Office experts have suggested using graves for more than one burial as part of a radical policy to reduce demand for burial land.
But the idea has led to anger in a survey conducted by funeral directors in Huddersfield.
And the Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Catherine Ogle, believes it could cause tremendous upset.
Re-use of graves is one option outlined in a Home Office document looking at ways of modernising burial laws.
The Home Office conceded it was a sensitive issue but insisted the arguments needed to be tested. They argue re-use of very old graves in cemeteries would:
Relieve pressure on open land.
Provide burial facilities close to communities.
Generate income to maintain existing cemeteries.
But a survey by the Co-operative Funeral Service, which conducts many funerals in Huddersfield, found six out of 10 people opposed the idea.
Brian Taylor, regional manager, said: "We want people to tell the Government what they think.
"Caring for bereaved families, we know that individual wishes are important.
"However, what we may be able to do in one part of the country, we cannot do in another because of the way cemetery rules vary.
"Burial ground operators have a difficult job in trying to keep people happy. This is an emotive and sensitive social issue on which the public's views clearly need to be established."
Home Office documents suggest re-using graves over 100 years old.
Remains would be exh- umed and the grave dug deeper, allowing further burials on the same plot.
But Mrs Ogle said bereaved families would oppose the idea.
"Churchyards do get full and it is upsetting if people cannot be buried in the areas they want.
"But burial is an issue on which people, particularly bereaved people, have very strong opinions and re-use of graves could cause tremendous offence.
"Many people of course have family plots for use by relatives but the idea of burial with a stranger could be very upsetting to many."
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: "We have 13 cemeteries in Kirklees, three of which are closed - there is no burial space left in them.
"A land survey of all our cemeteries is underway to ascertain the amount of burial space we have although there is no immediate problem."