Home burials - points to consider and technical requirements

It would be necessary to seek permission from the local planning department if you wanted to erect a memorial structure to commemorate the person. The land owner must check with their solicitor that there is no covenant on the deeds to the land that could prohibit a burial on the land.

The land owner must check that no bye law is being broken. This can be done by contacting the local planning department.

The value of your property will significantly decrease if you considered moving after the burial has taken place. Many buyers might not even consider the purchase of a property that has a body buried in the garden.

If you did move to another address, the Home Office may not give permission to move or 'exhume' the body to allow a re-burial in your new land.

You would not be able to gain access to the burial place if you sold the property/land to someone else and you would not be able to continue to pay your respects to your loved one. This could cause a lot of heartache and upset.

Not all coffin manufacturers would be willing to sell a traditional coffin 'direct' to the public, and alternative options may be necessary, for example, the use of a cardboard or wicker coffin.

Technical requirements

There are legal ways, by which you can ensure that the grave remains untouched, but this will involve costs and you would need the services of a solicitor. You may request that the deeds to the property contain the instructions that the body must never be touched or removed from its resting place. This is called a restrictive covenant and would ensure that any new property purchaser could not apply for an exhumation and reburial of the deceased.

The burial of cremated ashes is unlikely to cause harm to the environment and can be carried out without reference to the Environment Agency.

If you can fulfil the requirements of this guidance then you do not have to contact the Environment Agency before you prepare for the spreading of ashes or a home burial. If you need to confirm any details about the environment or you would like to ask any questions, please contact the Environment Agency.