Expat Scots will soon be able to have their ashes buried in a quiet corner of their homeland identifiable by smartphone.
Plans have been approved for the ashes and other mementoes of Scots who die abroad to be buried in two-feet-square plots in Fife.
The items will be interred without headstones or markers and relatives will trace the spot using their mobile phones and a buried microchip. They will then use a QR code – a form of barcode – to trigger a “life story” website about the deceased person on their phones.
But the garden of remembrance in the village of Saline, Fife, is not popular with everyone in the area. At least person has objected because it is near a nursing home for the elderly.
The cost of the service is not yet known, but Fife Council currently charges £194 for the “interment of cremated remains” and £66 for dispersal of ashes beneath ground.
In what is believed to be a United Kingdom first, George Kelly, who owns and sells plots of land in Scotland through company Land Sales Direct, won permission from Fife Council last week. His agent, JM Planning Services, said: “My client anticipates that most of his custom will be from expatriate Scots living abroad and seeking a place of beauty in Scotland to rest the memory of a relative.”
In the planning statement they add: “Clients can deposit personal mementos – which would include tiny amounts of ashes in a very small 3 inches by 2 x 1 inches, sealed biodegradable container, in a quiet woodland setting.
“It is anticipated that these items will be from the relatives and friends of overseas deceased persons of Scottish ancestry though local people and others with an affection for Scotland will be welcome to use the service.
“We expect that persons visiting will be the original purchasers or relatives or friends of the deceased where this applies.
“When visiting, they will be able to access details of the memento and the person it belongs to immediately via a discretely-placed QR code.
“The applicants will offer a personalised LifeStory website to accompany the plot and memento that will be accessed digitally by phone or tablet while on the site and near to the interred memento.
“This is very much a digital process with all plots having a QR code that can be activated by visitors’ smartphones.”