Would you buy a house with a body in the garden?
According to a 2014 Report, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,551. But costs vary to £7,000 and potentially over £10,000 in London.
That is an overall rise of 87% in just ten years. As a result, the Royal London insurance company reported that 100,000 of 500,000 families who suffer bereavement each year struggled with funeral costs, with debt averaging around £1,300.
A recent presentation in Parliament came up with one solution:
Bury your loved ones in the back garden.
Now we know that there are bodies buried in back gardens, some legally, but we do rather wonder what is would do to the value of the property. It certainly won’t be an option available to anyone who rents their home.
So what are the rules as far as garden burials are concerned? As we understand it the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880. The death must first of all be registered with the relevant Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Once this has been done, you need Local Authority permission a body comes within the definition of “clinical waste” and as such cannot be disposed of except under the provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environment Protection Act 1990. A licensed operator is usually needed but a local authority may waive the requirement in special circumstances. Remember it is a criminal offence to dispose of “controlled waste” otherwise than in accordance with the Acts. One issue which may arise is if the proposed site is near to a water course which could potentially be polluted.
Ashes can be freely scattered in your garden or buried in a container perhaps under a favourite tree and a headstone is usually OK as long as it is not too near a highway or over a certain height, planning permission is not needed to put up a headstone in a garden. Just check first.
And don’t forget that most people probably would not buy a house with a body in the garden! We’re told that the burial must be recorded on the deeds, so every future buyer will be aware there is a body in the garden.