Animal-lovers heartbroken about the death of their pets can now be buried alongside them in a green cemetery.

The Tarn Moor Memorial Woodland burial site at Skipton has been granted an Environment Agency licence to inter domestic animals.

A special area has been set aside where people can be buried near to their pets.

And a separate plot has also been established exclusively for pets. The woodland cemetery was opened two years ago for environmentally-friendly burials.

Coffins must be biodegradable and are often made of wicker or bamboo and sometimes home-made out of timber. Grave stones are banned but people can have an engraving on a special memorial stone. And a similar site is now being set up for pets.

Burial ground manager Wendy Pratt said permission had been given by the Environment Agency. "Death of a pet can be very traumatic," she said. "People see their pets as their babies and if they have been together a number of years, death can be devastating. It is very important that the respect and dignity is there no less than with a human being."

She said pets, like cats and dogs, could be buried in a favourite rug, in a coffin or in hessian. Their ashes could also be buried in the area.

Barbara Mitchell, who runs Pets at Rest in Thornton, Bradford, the only pet crematorium in the district, said she had witnessed an increase in the number of people wanting to bury their pets.

In 11 years she had helped to operate the pets crematorium, they had dealt with 6,252 pets ranging from exotic animals like iguana to mice.

An Environment Agency spokesman said pet burial sites were covered by regulations to protect the environment and prevent harm to human health.

The Tarn Moor application was looked at in the same way as a landfill site and was not considered to have a negative impact the environment.

Mrs Pratt can be contacted on (01756) 701688.