AN EAST Lothian-based businessman has approached the local authority with a proposal to build a crematorium in the Tranent area of the county, the Courier has learned.
East Lothian Council has confirmed that it has received a proposal from a private developer interested in establishing a crematorium in the county and that initial discussions have taken place with local authority officials, including principal amenities officer Stuart Pryde and councillors Kenny McLeod (Fa'side) and council leader Paul McLennan.
Mr McLennan told the Courier: "There's not a commitment at this stage but we have been involved in meetings with a private developer who is talking about the possibility of establishing a crematorium in Tranent.
"The steer for this is the growing population in East Lothian and the possible business opportunities as a result of that.
"Discussions are at a very early stage and I know that the developer is at the stage of carrying out research and trying to put a business plan together.
"We're producing our own burial strategy at the moment and examining what land we would need to purchase for that."
Cremations of county residents currently take place at City of Edinburgh Council-run facilities at Mortonhall, Warriston and Seafield.
In 2008, the council concluded that the local authority building a crematorium in East Lothian would not be economically viable, even if the running costs were to be shared with Scottish Borders Council.
There are currently approximately 420 burials carried out in East Lothian every year.
Graveyards which are currently full to capacity include Pencaitland Parish Church, Elphinstone, St Andrew Blackadder Church in North Berwick, Dirleton Church and St Mary's Church in Haddington.