You don’t need planning permission to bury a loved one in your back garden

You don’t need planning permission to bury a loved one in your back garden

It may be unusual but being buried at the family home is not as impossible as you may think.

In fact, it’s fairly straightforward in England and Wales – but not Scotland – to arrange a burial on private land, reports BirminghamLive.

According to The Natural Death Centre, the single fact regarding private land burial which most surprises people at the outset is that for a limited number of interments, planning permission is not required adding: “The reason is simple – the presence of a very small number of burials would not constitute a ‘material change of use’, hence no such consent would be required.”

The registered charity points out that the following rules must be followed if you want to do an ‘at home’ funeral – which is what Location, Location, Location star Kirstie Allsopp did in 2014.

She buried her mum Lady Hindlip in a wicker coffin in the garden of her Dorset home but has recently admitted i t wasn’t easy following her mother’s last wishes.

The basic law is this: it IS possible – and not illegal – to bury a loved one in your backyard but you must get the consent of the owner of the freehold of the land.

The freeholder should check there are no restrictive covenants attached to the title deeds or registration of the property that prohibit burial and you must follow the minimum groundwater protection requirements.

What are the rules?

The Environment Agency also points out that the site should:

  • be 30m from any spring or any running or standing water.
  • be more than 10m from any ‘dry’ ditch or field drain
  • be at least 50m away from any well, borehole or spring that supplies water for any use.
  • when preparing a grave, make sure there is no standing water when it is first dug and that it’s not dug in very sandy soil.
  • there should also be at least 1m of soil above and below the body after burial.

Other things to consider
You must contact your local council and let them know what you are planning.

You may need to speak to the environmental health department, too, according to the government website.

The owner (or owner’s agent) of the land on which the burial has taken place must prepare and keep a burial register in a safe place, too.

That said, The Natural Death Centre points out that this doesn’t have to be a fancy book from legal stationers.

A simple document will do it as long as it records the essential details of the deceased, and the date and place of interment with an accompanying plan showing the grave’s location.

The Natural Death Centre can provide a sample form. They add: “One final point with regard to people in authority. As private land burial is not a common event it is quite likely to attract attention and if you give your local police advance notice of the funeral they will not be wrong-footed into suspecting some improper act!”

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