As part of our ground maintenance duties, the council is responsible for 29 closed churchyards across the district.
A closed churchyard means that the diocese has decided that the churchyard is full and no more burials can take place.
Parish and town councils are initially served with a parochial council's notice of closure. They have the option of passing on the notice to district councils. Consequently, most district level authorities, at some point in time, inherit the legal obligation to assume maintenance.
Burial records for closed churchyards are generally held locally in the church.
There are limitations to what a council can do with a closed churchyard. There may be planning restrictions appertaining to buildings and trees etc. Wildlife such as bats and owls may also be protected.
The biodiversity of a closed churchyard will actively be encouraged and is the default standard for the grounds maintenance schedule. The Council has a policy of no-spraying within closed churchyards and cemetery boundaries (unless as a final resort to remove invasive species such as Japanese Knot Weed).
The grassland found in a closed churchyard is unlikely to have been fertilised or reseeded and is therefore often rich in wildflowers which are now so scarce elsewhere.
Careful management of all or part of the churchyard to favour these wildflowers, offers a unique opportunity to safeguard this valuable habitat in a place where it can be enjoyed by parishioners and visitors alike.
East Suffolk Council maintains the closed churchyards it is responsible for under these policies: