GROUP inspections are having to be carried out during new requests for burials at a Redditch cemetery, after weeks of sustained rainfall caused the earth to become saturated.

Redditch Council has been forced to take the extraordinary action to ensure proposed burials at the Abbey Cemetery can safely be carried out.

In addition, where burials can take place, only one full burial will be able to be carried out each day until the unusually difficult conditions improve.

All burials already booked in can be honoured.

Head of environmental services Guy Revans said: “Unfortunately some areas of the cemetery have become waterlogged in all the rain. We hope to be able to manage the situation and keep any disruption caused by the weather to a minimum. But the problem is not only digging new graves but also the risk of damaging existing graves.

“The forecast is now for a drier spell so hopefully the ground will dry up too. Drainage at the cemetery is generally adequate, and we have even spent money improving it recently, so there may be nothing else we can reasonably do. It’s simply been very wet on clay soil.”

The council’s bereavement services team is inviting families concerned that they may be affected by the temporary conditions to come and speak to them as well as their funeral director, to discuss the matter.

Until conditions improve other borough cemeteries are available and Bromsgrove District Council has also agreed to make the nearby North Bromsgrove cemetery an option for families if required.

Mr Revans added: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and we’re encouraging anyone with any concerns that this could affect them or their loved ones to get in touch with us to discuss. We’re assessing the situation daily.”

The council's bereavement services is contactable on 01527 62174.