Lewisham has hit back at research stating that the area is the most expensive place to be buried in London.
Figures obtained from a selection of London boroughs indicate that Lewisham burial fees are in fact lower than some London boroughs. In Bromley the burial fee is £1715, whilst in Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea, it costs £1260 and £1240 respectively.
However, the research, by Avalon Funeral Plans states that Lewisham is the third most costly area in England to bury someone, at £1,082.
Lichfield in Staffordshire is the most expensive place for an interment, at a price of £1,270, followed by Elmbridge in Surrey, which costs £1,138.
Lewisham Council has disputed the accuracy of the research, stating that the figures quoted are incorrect.
A spokesman said: “These figures are not comparable. Some relate only to digging fees whilst others are based on differing lease periods for burial space.”
Burials fees vary dramatically, depending on whether people want public or private graves, the age of the deceased person and the type of coffin being used.
Avalon Funeral Plans have defended the accuracy of their figures, stating that their research, which was conducted in October, measured and compared the cost of basic interment for an adult over the age of 16, in 255 local authorities in England.
A spokeswoman said: “The interment fee was the sole indicator of costs as other disbursements are so variable.”
Avalon’s research suggests that a lack of burial space, especially in cities, and councils looking to raise revenue has led to an increase in fees.
For many cash-strapped families cremation is a cheaper alternative to burials, with prices in Lewisham starting from £375.
Mike Cooper, managing director at Avalon, said: “As space dwindles and fees grow, the number of burials is expected to decrease rapidly. It seems that dying has become a very expensive business.”
“Whilst the traditional business is still part our cultural fabric, burials are now out of reach for many of the population. It’s no surprise that cremation is by far the most popular choice for funerals.”