Advice on home burial

There is no legal reason why you should not be buried on your own land from an environmental health viewpoint.

Your wishes for burial will need to be outlined in your will or some other legal document which specifies your requirements. To ensure your executors meet your wishes, it is suggested that prior arrangements are made with undertakers who are sympathetic to this type of burial.

You will need to contact the Environment Agency by emailing or by phoning 0870 850 6506 to check the burial site is not be located close to any water course as there may be a risk of future contamination.

Planning permission is not required for one or two burials as there is unlikely to be a material change of use. However, if any monuments are planned at the site then planning permission may be required. If you need further advice please contact the council’s Development Control team by emailing or by phoning 01256 844844.

It is possible that the land could be developed at a later date. It is therefore recommended that an informative be added to the land registry so that a permanent record is available for future purchasers. You should write to the Land Registry at Weymouth Office, Melcombe Court, 1 Cumberland Drive, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9TT or phone 0844 892 1111. The precise location of the grave should be marked on a plan and attached to the deeds of the property.

Burials must be registered in accordance with the Registration of Burials Act 1864. Although a private piece of land might not be a burial ground as stated in the Act, it might be regarded as one if a burial takes place on it. It is therefore sensible for the burial to be recorded in accordance with the Act.

The death will need to be registered with the local Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages as usual and the certificate returned to them recording the place of burial.

Contact The Natural Death Centre for further information on home burial. They can also be contacted at 6 Blackstock Mews, Blackstock Road, London, N4 2BT or by phone 01962 712690.

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