Funeral arrangements

Burial on private land

Burials usually take place in cemeteries or churchyard.

However, you can choose to have a burial on private land, such as farmland, woodland, or private gardens.

You can find information about burials on private land on the Natural Death Centre website.

If you are thinking about a private land burial you need to consider:

  • check the property deeds to make sure you can use the land for a burial
  • a burial may affect the value of the property, as potential buyers may not want to buy it
  • any social implications such as neighbours worrying  a burial taking place near to their homes
  • future owners of the property may not allow a burial to rest in peace and could apply for an exhumation.
  • future owners may not allow access to relatives who wish to pay their respects at the burial site

Registrar of births, deaths and marriages

You will be issued with a certificate for burial by a coroner or the Registrar of births, deaths and marriages. You need to complete the detachable section of this form and return it to the registrar.

You must notify the Registrar of births, deaths and marriages about burial place. You must also create a burial register to go with the property deeds. The burial register must show:

  • the name of the deceased
  • where the burial has taken place
  • the date of the burial

You should also amend the land registry entry so a permanent record is available for future purchasers.

Environmental advice

You must tell the Environment Agency about your plan to carry out a burial on private land and follow their guidelines If you don’t follow their guidance, the Environment Agency apply to exhume the body.

Burials must be at least:

  • 10 metres from any field drain or ditch draining to a watercourse
  • 30 metres from any spring, standing water or running water
  • 50 metres away from any well, borehole or spring that supplies water for any use

There is no minimum depth that you have to bury a body. You must leave at least one metre of soil on top of the coffin lid after the burial has taken place.

The bottom of the burial cavity must be free of standing water when excavated.

Memorials

If you want to include a memorial at the burial site, you need to check with our Planning team to see if you need planning permission.

You should also speak to our Planning team if you are looking to lay more than one person to rest. This will check that you are not using the land as a burial ground.

You can contact our Cemeteries team for more information on funeral arrangements.

Cemetery Services

Address: Unit 4
Lakes Industrial Park
Lower Chapel Hill
Braintree
Essex
CM7 3RU

Telephone: 01376 557772