Bodies will pollute drinking water at new cemetery claim

PUBLISHED: 10:04 15 June 2012

FEARS that burials at a proposed cemetery could pollute Royston's drinking water have been raised by a former mayor.

Rod Kennedy believes Royston Town Council’s planned Briary Lane site is unsuitable as it lies too close to an aquifer and he says human remains would seep through into the supply.

Mr Kennedy, of Heathfield said: “I have always considered the site unsuitable as it lies close to dwellings and on the very edge of the aquifer from which Royston’s drinking water is drawn.

“The town clerk did advise me that special measures would need to be taken to protect our drinking water, one reason for the high cost.

“However, even with such precautions I have my doubts that no contamination of the aquifer and our drinking water can be guaranteed.”

Mr Kennedy suggested another location for a green cemetery, putting fortward a site at the southern end of the field behind Hawthorn Way, close to the tree belt on Newmarket Road.

The search for a new burial ground in Royston was launched after North Herts District Council discovered its Melbourn Road sites were nearly full and decided to move services to Wilbury Hills in Letchworth.

In order to keep services in the town anumber of locations were assessed by the town council, with the Wicker Hall site found to be the most suitable.

The leader of the town council Bob Smith rejected Mr Kennedy’s suggestion that the town’s drinking water would be polluted if the cemetery went ahead.

He said: “I can assure you that all the environmental studies have been done and procedures will be taken to prevent such things happening.

“We are aware of the proximity of the burial site to water extraction areas and have taken measures accordingly.”

If the project goes ahead the town council would fund the £100,000-£190,000 development of the cemetery through a precept increase and grants.

And a £25,000 anonymous donation has been gifted to buy the land.

The project was held up after evidence of badgers’ and bats’ habitats were found and 11th hour studies were commissioned to detect the creatures – however these came back negative.

A planning application has been lodged with NHDC.

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