THE message was clear that the problem is not historical and not isolated.

Urgent action is needed now, Dame Elish Angiolini said in her recommendations, to prevent such tragedies from happening in future.

In compiling her report, Dame Elish interviewed bereaved families, current and former members of crematorium staff, funeral directors, support groups and health professionals, as well as experts in anthropology, law and forensic accountancy.

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She made 22 recommendations, and high on the list was that people should be told in clear terms precisely what will happen to the remains of their loved ones. This should be done at the first stage of discussing arrangements with the families.

There is a call for a change in legislation so there is clarity over what should be done with the remains of stillborn babies.

It is recommended the council asks the Scottish Government to have the term "ashes" defined and also for guidelines in dealing with "non-viable" foeteses.

Dame Elish said the council should take urgent steps to pass on the concerns to all related authorities.

She added: "It is recommended Edinburgh City Council urge the Federation Of Burial And Cremation Authorities and the Institute Of Cemetery And Crematorium Management and other associations representing crematoria or their staff to instigate an immediate review of policy and practice underpinned by a greater understanding than that survival of foetal bones depends on gestational age alone."