There is now a wealth of information on the internet for anyone planning a funeral with a natural burial
VEGA suggests starting with the Natural Death Centre
for independent advice and information which includes a comprehensive list of natural burial grounds and independent funeral advice.
According to a Which? magazine report in September 2013: “Funeral costs have increased by 80% since 2004, with the average cost of dying rising to £7,622… The overall cost of dying is up 7.1% from last year with more people struggling with increasing year-on-year costs… The cost of a basic funeral has risen 5.3% since last year to £3,456 this year… The average cost of a burial is now £3,914, which is almost £1,000 more than the average cremation at £2,998. Adding other discretionary costs, such as a headstone and flowers, pushes up the basic cost of a funeral to an average of £7,622, which is an increase of 7.1% on 2012. The average cost of dying also shows a variation in price depending on where you live, with the highest average cost in the London area at £9,556 compared to Wales, the least expensive place to die, where the average cost stands at £6,096.”
VEGA is concerned to report that arranging even a simple natural or green burial now costs about £3,000, so it’s never too early to begin thinking of this and you can always change your mind later. Funeral directors might try to be helpful and may recommend a procedure which uses cheap coffins with few frills and saves some money, but, unless you are careful, cremation with gas, which is the ordinary method in many places, will replace burial. You will need to insist on a natural or a green burial, if possible finding a company which specialises in them. If you live in London both Poppy's Funerals in Fulham, and Green Endings in Kentish Town are examples of companies you could contact.
The government document on this topic is not very helpful, and you must remember that solicitors costs are not included in this budget for the funeral itself. We advise you to make sure your arrangements in place as early as possible and that the costs are fully understood.
If this is accomplished in good time before the funeral, and in discussion with sons and daughters or other close relatives, you can ensure your wishes are well known and respected. Others will not then have reason to arrange a funeral using methods of which you do not approve.
Some readers of this note may wish to leave their body to be used for experimental purposes and are anxious to ensure this. It is an opportunity that should not be lost to anyone who is interested in animal welfare and environmental wildlife campaigns and who opposes modern policies for research using animals.
If you do follow this course, and still wish to have a green burial, you must take precautions should your body not be required for medical research. Unless you have made arrangements should this happen your body may be buried or cremated in a manner different from any of which you approve. Your executors may also face the full cost of the burial or cremation which could amount to more than £1,000. To avoid this possibility you must constantly refer to the agencies involved in execution of your wishes.
We have tried to make all this information attractive to readers. This appeal applies to sons and daughters, relatives and friends, who wish to remember their old colleague adequately after death. If it can be accomplished in good time before the funeral it will ensure a continuation of the deceased’s wishes. We hope that sons and daughters will subscribe to the procedures in the discussion rather than pay local authorities or the government for the use unapproved methods.
It is very important to use this advice and all the help the authorities can offer to remember the works of charities and make clear that any provisions the deceased may make are respected in the later continuation of good causes.