Plastic Christmas decorations will be removed from graves, council warns

Norwich City Council has said it will remove plastic Christmas decorations on graves at Earlham Ceme

Norwich City Council has said it will remove plastic Christmas decorations on graves at Earlham Cemetery. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Plastic Christmas decorations left on graves in Norwich's cemeteries over the festive period will be removed, council bosses have warned.

Norwich City Council, which wants to make its cemeteries plastic-free by March next year, has warned plastic decorations can be a hazard to wildlife.

The council, which manages Earlham Cemetery and Rosary Road Cemetery, said it understood how important it was for families to pay their respects.

But the authority said all plastic items, such as artificial Christmas trees, tinsel, fake snow, baubles and other glass decorations would be removed over the festive period.

The council said last year it removed five lorry loads of Christmas decorations which went to landfill.

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A City Hall spokeswoman said: "Some plastic decorations can pose a hazard and get blown away by the wind, which litters the natural surroundings and other graves.

"Wildlife can also be affected by plastic materials, as they often try to eat it, which can lead to digestive problems."

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The council said it has yet to remove any plastic items this year.

The council urged people to use decorations made from natural materials, such as wreaths, flowers, plants and small trees instead.

The authority said there are small Christmas trees in the baby sections of the cemeteries and wooden, environmental friendly decorations are available to place messages on the trees.

The council said that the cemeteries team will start to carefully clear the cemeteries of all Christmas decorations from January 15 next year.

They said non-perishable items, such as ceramic or wooden decorations, will be stored until the end of January, so people can collect them from the council.

In 2017, a mother was ordered to remove the 6ft plastic Christmas tree she had placed on her son's grave at Ealrham Cemetery.

Stephanie Browne's son Oskar was still-born in May 2010 and she often decorated his grave on special occasions.

But the council told Miss Browne to remove the tree, saying the authority had received complaints.

She described that at the time as "really upsetting".

Miss Browne replaced the plastic tree with a real tree.

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