FUNDING of £120,000 could be used to carry out essential maintenance work at Blaenau Gwent's 'declining' cemeteries.

A council report says all seven cemeteries in the borough are showing signs of decline due to a "lack of infrastructure investment and subsequent maintenance" in recent years.

It comes after in 2013/14, staff levels were reduced to make savings of £150,000.

Cuts included removing a manager, two gravediggers and seven seasonal grass-cutter posts.

Maintenance of the cemeteries had to change as a result, but their condition has worsened.

"The cemeteries across Blaenau Gwent are not being maintained to an acceptable standard and this lack of investment to maintain the infrastructure within the cemeteries has resulted in a poor visitor experience for the community, especially bereaved families," a council report says.

Roadways, benches, bins and fences in the cemeteries are showing signs of decline, the report adds.

A task and finish group has requested £120,000 from a crematorium fund for the maintenance work to be carried out.

It is suggested that any unspent money is then reserved to be used over the next four years.

The council's executive has four options on how to address the issue at a meeting on Wednesday, September 26.

Using the money from the crematorium fund is the preferred option in a council report prepared ahead of the meeting.

"This would provide sufficient funding in the short term to address essential maintenance work and bring the cemeteries to an acceptable standard," the report says.

"However, this would not establish an annual maintenance budget to ensure that standards are maintained."

Other options include applying for a £30,000 fund with the possibility of requesting an annual maintenance budget.