Kinghorn has taken the first step towards the creation of an eco-cemetery with a £12,000 Common Good Fund grant.
The cemetery will help reduce the impact of conventional burials on the environment by allowing burials in a wildflower meadow and woodland setting with no formal paths or headstones.
Bodies will be buried in shrouds or biodegradable coffins and management of the site, on the banks of Kinghorn Loch, will have an ecological focus.
The grant, approved by 8 votes to 3 at Kirkcaldy area committee, will allow Kinghorn Community Land Association (KCLA), the group behind the plans, to develop phase one of the project – establishing the community woodland and installing signage, an access road and parking.
Debate among councillors centred around whether to grant the full amount applied for, £12,098, or limit it to 50 per cent.
Concerns had been raised by local councillors and Kinghorn Community Council over “limited engagement” with the community.
Moving that half be given, Cllr Kathleen Leslie said: “I’m supportive in principle but there needs to be more engagement for the amount being asked for.”
Cllr Ian Cameron said: “Given the costs of upkeeping cemeteries, this is a natural way forward and I commend it.”
Richard Brewster of KCLA said: “Phase 1 of our strategy involves raising significant amounts of capital and this provides match-funding that we are confident will open the door to other funds.
“Meantime we are developing policies, publicity, undertaking a survey of burial plot locations and finalising grants for soft landscaping and making the area beautiful. We will then be able to begin running the eco-cemetery as a business.
“Over the years we’ve engaged extensively – to buy the land for the community, around the design of the cemetery and to get planning permission.”