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Council changes its rules on infant cremation

A COUNCIL has changed its process for the cremation of infants in light of the baby ashes scandal in the capital.

Aberdeen City Council said that since last November ashes have been recovered in all cases and returned to the family or scattered as per request.

The change emerged following a report on the baby ashes scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh, which secretly disposed of babies' remains without parents' knowledge.

Dame Elish Angiolini carried out the investigation into practices at Mortonhall between 1967 and 2011.

Last summer, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report on Aberdeen's Hazelhead Crematorium found that from April 1, 2007, to December 31, 2012, there were 40 cases where no ashes were retrieved when infants aged under two had been cremated.

PWC examined practice at the crematorium in the light of the Mortonhall scandal.

In a statement, Aberdeen City Council said: "Following initial discussion with Lord Bonomy, chair of the Infant Cremation Commission, Aberdeen City Council visited a crematorium that has a high success rate in recovering ashes following the cremation of infants.

"As a result of this we adopted a different process in November last year and have managed to recover ashes in all cases. All recovered ash was returned to the family or scattered as per their request."

Dame Elish's report said hundreds of parents whose babies had been cremated at Mortonhall faced a "lifetime of uncertainty" over what happened, as staff secretly disposed of the remains of stillborn and dead newborn babies after claiming there were no ashes to scatter following cremation.

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