Aberdeen will run out of burial space in around 10 years, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The timescale comes as council chiefs assess plans to expand the cemetery at Hazlehead in a bid to provide space for the next 200 years.
However, those proposals are not expected to get under way for several years, sparking fears the city could run out of space in the meantime.
Hazlehead, Queen’s Cross and Countesswells councillor Martin Greig – who was informed of the 10-year timescale in correspondence with a council officer – today urged council bosses to pick up the pace to ensure the project is completed in time.
He said: “The process of allocating land for burial takes a considerable amount of time and there can be procurement and planning aspects which need to be dealt with.
“The land may need to be analysed and checked for its suitability.
“The sooner the decision-making process is completed the better.
“We do not have a leisurely timescale to work with and the process needs to proceed.”
Earlier this year, it emerged cemeteries across the north-east were approaching full capacity.
Warnings were issued over the potential for problems at sites across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, including Ellon, Inverurie and Banchory.
And, as of the beginning of this year, just one grave remained at the cemetery at St Devenicks on the Hill.
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Mr Greig urged council bosses to make sure there is enough capacity to satisfy the predicted demand.
He added: “The public deserve the reassurance that there will be sufficient space for burial well into the future, and it’s notable that elsewhere, the period of time is measured in decades or even hundreds of years.
“That kind of forward planning is essential. Sadly the timescale we have currently could indicate short-sightedness.
“Hopefully this will be dealt with as quickly as possible because this is a fundamental public service.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “New lairs are available at three cemeteries in the city – Hazlehead, Dyce and Newhills.
“The expansion plans being considered by Aberdeen City Council are for the fields next to Hazlehead Cemetery to be used, which could provide burial space for the next 200 years.”