A "GREEN" graveyard is to be created in a field north of Brown Hill House, Westerdale.

The farmer, Mr Jonathan Murray, wants to create the graveyard as a diversification to farming to help with his economy. The field will still be grassed and harvested.

No headstands will be permitted, plots being marked with just a flat tile.

"We are in the business of encouraging diversification in our farming community and this site has a wonderful view," said Mr Mike Knaggs, a committee member, at the North York Moors national park.

Since the relaxation of regulations, people could opt to be buried almost anywhere in ground that was not consecrated. Many were choosing "natural" funerals, members heard.

This is the first application of its kind within the Park and because of this Danby Parish Council had asked that the application be placed before the full planning committee.

Coun Herbert Tindall commented: "We thrashed this out at length at the parish meeting. Several people have their caskets buried on the moors and we didn't think this was much different. The farmer is still going to graze the land."

It is recommended that just a small plaque will identify the graveyard. There will be restrictions on placing flowers and the use of cardboard coffins will be encouraged.

Answering concern about access and parking, Mr Murray said that from 1996-2000, there was an average of 23 deaths a year in Danby parish and there were four other graveyards.

Planning officer Mrs Val Dilcock said that the committee could restrict burials at the site to people with connections with the area.

Security vests for

hospital staff

STAB-proof vests are to handed out to 50 hospital security guards. There have been 56 recorded assaults and more than 200 verbal threats towards staff this year. Ten incidents involved knives, broken bottles or razors.

About 50 guards at the James Cook, North Riding and Middlesbrough General hospitals will receive protective vests.