Imagine visiting your daughter’s grave and seeing a notice for a fine because you put too many flowers on her final resting place.
That’s exactly what happened to Emma Townsend, a 33-year-old English woman who was hit with the so-called “grief tax” levied by a local government in Derbyshire.
Townsend went to visit the grave of her 7-year-old daughter Abigail, who died of a brain tumor in 2010, when she saw a noticed a card.
“I presumed it would be something nice but as I walked over I saw it was a notice telling me the grave did not comply with cemetery rules,” Townsend told the Sun. Now she has to pay an £87 ($144) fine because more than one flower pot was placed by the grave.
“I was completely devastated. Whoever put it there surely still has humanity. They could see my daughter’s face in the tribute,” she told the British tabloid.
Rebecca Day faces the same fine after visiting her grandmother’s grave at the Alfreton Cemetery. Her grandmother’s final resting place also had too many potted plants.
“I can't stop crying. I felt sick. It's a special place and I feel it has been violated,” Day, 37, told the Daily Mail. “I was so upset when I came across and found it on there. She [the grandmother] lived in Alfreton all her life. I'm very angry - it's disgusting.”
Loved ones of people buried at Alfreton Cemetery have set up a campaign to get the Amber Valley Borough Council in Derbyshire to do away with the “grief tax,” which started being enforced in July.
The assistant director of landscaping services for the council explained why the fines are necessary.
“The fee is levied as when someone puts a garden it makes it more difficult for the area to be maintained, and it increases the council's maintenance costs so it is a one off fee that we charge,” Simon Gladwin told the Daily Mail. “'You can't simply mow up and down rows when there are gardens there. The notice is relatively discreet. It is only an A5 notice saying the garden does not comply with standards and to call the officer to discuss it further.”