Skip Navigation

Burials on private land

Information on using alternative sites for burials.

Burials on farm land

These areas tend to be away from housing and, therefore, should not pose any threat to opposing neighbours or the general public. Planning permission would not normally be required for a limited number of burials (especially when the deceased are related to the property owners). If burials are to take place of unrelated persons, or the number of burials is to be unlimited, this situation could possibly be seen as a change of usage, and the Local Authority's Planning department should be consulted for advice.

Burials in private gardens

Burial can take place in a garden of a privately owned property. You need to consider:

  • if numerous burials are planned, the local Planning Authority would need to be consulted, as the principal use of the 'garden' would have changed

  • consider how the social implications this would have on your neighbours

  • it may affect the value of your property

  • Consideration should also be given to the long-term effects of such a burial: If the present homeowners wish to move, would they wish to exhume the body and remove it with them? Although the Home Office would in all probability issue a license (providing the next of kin are in agreement and the property owner's consent is given), the upset of such an action should be considered.  For further information on exhumation, please request a leaflet from our department on this particular subject

Rules and regulations

There is nothing in the law of burial which prohibits a burial in private or unconsecrated land, or which requires a coffin or service or permission from any Government minister. A place of burial without fences or gravestones is not a cemetery in Planning law and "subject to restrictive covenants, can be established by any person without statutory authority, provided that no nuisance is caused."

The body of the deceased must be buried in such a manner that any part of the coffin is three feet below the ground. It would be prudent to contact the local Environmental Health department to advise them of the burial, although it is unlikely that they will wish to intervene. It may also be wise to contact the Environmental Agency regarding the burial, as no offensive matter from the grave should foul any stream, canal, reservoir, aqueduct, pond or watering places. Contact should be made with the local utilities companies concerning any pipes or cables that may pass through the intended burial area.

You would need to create a Burial Register to comply with Statute Law. This can simply be a notebook containing details of the deceased and preferably a simple map highlighting the location of the burial.

You would also be issued with a certificate for burial (issued by a Coroner or the Registrar of Births and Deaths). The detachable section of this would need to be completed and returned to the Registrar.

If you are considering a burial in private land, you may wish to consider arranging the funeral without employing a Funeral Director. This is in keeping with Rights 22, 23 and 24 of the Charter for the Bereaved. Please contact our staff for assistance in this matter, or to request our information leaflet on this subject.

Powered by GOSS iCM