Planning a burial on private land in the UK

August 27, 2016

While many people will choose to be buried in a cemetery, some people choose to be buried elsewhere and on privately owned land. This can be for a variety of reasons, but before you decide if this is the right option for you it is important to understand the relevant rules and regulations.

First of all, you may be surprised to discover that being buried on private land in England and Wales is actually less complicated than you might have imagined. However, the numbers of private burials that take place are still rather low.

In order for the funeral to take place you must have permission of the land owner, who must also check to see if there is anything prohibiting burial in the deeds or registration of the property. You will also need to have registered the death with a local Registrar of Births and Deaths.

While planning permission is not usually required by the local council for a straight forward burial, you may need to seek advice if you want a particularly large monument. Either way, you should contact the council for permission in writing if possible just to make sure that you are covered. You may also need to choose a spot which is away from ditches, field drains, springs, running or standing water, or other water supplies as this may be a point of concern for the Environment Agency.

You may also want to notify neighbours and local police that the event will be taking place so as not to cause upset or worry to anyone nearby.

When it comes to the actual burial, there are certain criteria that you need to meet. There is no minimum depth for a burial but there must be at least two feet of soil between a coffin lid and the top soil surface.

One point to consider before you investigate the possibility of a private land burial is the value of your property, or the property where you are seeking permission for burial. It may have an adverse affect on the market value depending on the location of the burial on the site.

Further to this, should you want to maintain access to the burial site after the property is sold then you will need to seek legal advice for installing a restrictive covenant which means you retain access, or to apply for permission to move the remains to another accessible site.

For help and advice on organising a funeral, please contact us on 0151 228 3900, or leave us a message through our contact us page by clicking here