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Parents to have say over city memorial for babies

PARENTS of babies whose ashes were secretly disposed of by crematorium staff will be consulted on plans for a fitting memorial to their children.

Edinburgh City Council has published a plan following recommendations made in a report on the scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium, where the remains of stillborn and dead newborn babies were disposed of without their families' knowledge over decades, from 1967 to 2011.

Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini made 22 recommendations for the council and other agencies to pursue in her 600-page report, which was published in April.

These included that the council should review how the crematorium is managed, ensure the location of interment of remains is recorded in future and discuss options for memorials with parents.

The council said its working group had given "sustained and proper consideration" to each of her recommendations.

Immediate actions include discussions with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency about existing practice and permits and the introduction of an infant cremator.

There has also been an exchange of letters between the council and the Scottish Government, as well as the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.

The council will hold talks with the charities Sands and Simba about when the time is right to open discussions with parents about improving the landscaping and the design of a fitting memorial to their child.

The council report and plan will be discussed at a special meeting on Thursday.

Council chief executive Sue Bruce said: "I would like to re-iterate my sincere apologies to the bereaved families for the distress they have suffered as a result of the practices at Mortonhall Crematorium."

Other measures in the plan include a review of staffing in bereavement services and the development and introduction of a management and leadership programme.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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