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Only 10 LED wreaths allowed at a wake under new NEA guidelines

New guidelines have been set for the use of electronic LED flower wreaths and inflatable structures at wakes, after concerns emerged over their excessive use and how bright they are, which could potentially obstruct motorists’ line of sight.

Jointly developed by NEA and the Association of Funeral Directors Singapore, the guidelines limit LED wreaths to 10 at a wake, inclusive of one inflatable structure.

Deployment of these light emitting wreaths and inflatables will be confined to the funeral wake area - HDB void decks and pavilion - and will be subject to conditions and approvals from the authorities.

The new guidelines were announced by the NEA on Tuesday (June 7).

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for the NEA said: “The guidelines aim to provide recommendations to premises owners and the industry on the use and deployment of light-emitting wreaths and inflatables at wakes to prevent issues such as light and noise pollution, obstruction to pedestrian traffic, and potential circuit breaker trips.

“NEA is working with town councils to incorporate the guidelines in the terms and conditions for a permit to hold wakes, as many wakes are held at communal spaces in HDB estates.”

According to the guidelines, LED wreaths and inflatables will not be allowed to be placed near carparks, roads, walkways, business entities or residences, as they will obstruct traffic, motorists and pedestrians.

If they are placed within common spaces such as pedestrian walkways and pavements, they should allow for a walking space of at least 1.5m.

The items should not be located within 5m of a fire hydrant and should not obstruct any fire safety provisions.

They are also not to be turned on from 10pm to 7am.

“Town councils or relevant authorities’ written permission is required for deviations from these guidelines,” the NEA added.

An NEA spokesman said the guidelines have been issued to town councils and religious organisations, and it is progressively briefing their stakeholders.

Some funeral parlours have banned LED flower wreaths and inflatable structures on their premises over concerns about safety and an electrical overload.

Each LED wreath costs between $90 and $138, including on-site installation.

X Funerals supplies about 1,000 LED wreaths a month. 

The company’s marketing executive Cyrus Lee said business will be hit as it supplies up to 100 wreaths for some wakes.

“Sometimes, friends and family would chip in to rent the wreaths for the deceased’s family,” he said.

“The industry has already become more competitive - many companies have popped up after seeing the popularity of LED wreaths. Now with the new guidelines, business will definitely be affected.”

The founder of Last Journey Flower Wreath, Mr Jeremy Ng, said that while he understands the concerns, the new guidelines are tough.

He said: “We already don’t place the wreaths on walkways so they wouldn’t be a nuisance to others. But how can we ensure that there’re only 10 wreaths at each wake when other businesses can supply to the same wake?”

Referring to the guideline that states LED wreaths and inflatables must not be placed within 5m of any carpark, he said: “Some HDB blocks are surrounded by carparks. If we cannot place them within 5m, there’s no other space.”

Mr Ng, whose largest order for a wake was 130 LED wreaths, plans to write in to the NEA to express his concerns.

A spokesman for the Ang Mo Kio Town Council said it has already incorporated the new guidelines.

“Residents’ comfort and safety have always been our top priorities, we continuously seek the cooperation and understanding of everyone to make our town a harmonious and cohesive one,” said the spokesman.

DYING/END-OF-LIFE ISSUESNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY