A PARISH council is phasing out plastic altogether in cemeteries as it says litter is posing an increasing problem.

Albaston cemetery and the open and closed graveyards at Calstock are all looked after by Calstock Parish Council.

In one recent month alone, says the council, workmen filled a builder’s dumpy bag with windblown plastic litter not associated with any specific grave.

Now, a ban on plastic will include ornaments, wreaths and artificial flowers.

In 2019, the Parish Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to reduce single use plastic.

Parish Cllr Mike Greenwood, chairman of the Burial Board, said: “We recognise it is important for people to be able to remember their loved ones by leaving flowers and other mementoes at the graveside, and long may that continue. All we are asking is that people refrain from using plastic items.

“It is quite staggering how much material ends up blown around our cemeteries and surrounding areas. This includes brittle plastic from pots, ornaments, artificial flowers, and cellophane wrappers.

“Although large pieces can be retrieved, others are very small and escape into the environment, to the detriment of wildlife and watercourses.”

Notices will be put up around the sites informing people of the new ‘no plastics’ rules and reminders put on local websites and social media groups, after which any remaining plastic items will be removed.

Cllr Greenwood added: “Obviously we do not wish to cause anyone upset or distress. We continue to welcome natural materials such as earthenware, wood, fresh flowers and plants.”

Wreaths will continue to be laid for the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial in Albaston and removed in January.

The Parish’s new rules bring their cemeteries into line with similar regulations issued by the Diocese of Truro in May 2019.

These are designed to preserve suitable and harmonious surroundings, and to maintain the dignity of local burial grounds.