Garden Burials – are they Legal

Garden Burials – can I bury my wife in the garden?

Garden burials aren’t wildly popular, for the simple reason that it would probably be impossible to sell a normal house with a human body in the garden!  We haven’t yet been asked to arrange a funeral plan for a home burial.

Apparently, Environment Agency says no law prevents garden burials.  Authorisation forms, however, must be completed, as a decomposing body could create a health risk to the rest of us.

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Garden burials must be more than 10 m. from any standing water, and a minimum of 50 metres from any source of drinking water. They must also be deep enough to stop wild animals from digging them up.

You must also record exactly where the garden burial plot is and give this information on the deeds – which is why it is generally a really bad idea!  Few people want to buy a house where garden burials have taken place.

The law is apparently in the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880.  The death must first be registered by Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  You may get some information HERE.

You must then get agreement from the local council before the garden burial can take place. A dead person comes within the legal classification of “clinical waste.” He or she can’t be buried in a garden except under rules set by the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and also the Environment Protection Act 1990. A licensed operator is generally needed but the Council  may or may not require this – you’ll have to ask. It’s a criminal offence to use garden burials to dispose of  “controlled waste” except with the rules. Before you consider such a burial stop and think what you would do if you ever decided to move!

Ashes don’t cause a problem, and can be scattered in the garden or alternatively buried in a container somewhere where they are never likely to be dug up eg.under a favourite tree.

Headstones for Garden Burials as long as they aren’t too near the road or over a specified height, planning permission is not needed.

Pets: a pet owner can bury a pet in the garden where the pet lived.  Provided it is it is not technically  “hazardous waste”.   Enquire of your Council and let us know please!

Garden burials – not really!

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