Home burial is legal in the UK. And from an environmental health perspective there is no legal reason why you should not be buried on your own land. However there are formalities that must be taken into consideration when choosing this option.
Planning permission is not normally required for a single burial as there is unlikely to be a material change of use, i.e. from a garden to a burial ground. However, If you were to erect a memorial stone or monument on the site then planning permission may be required. We would strongly recommend that you check with your local council's development control team first before making any decision and get their opinion in writing.
It may also be advisable to ask your solicitor to check that there are no covenants on the deeds to prohibit a burial. You must also consider how long the land may remain in your property as if there were no restrictive covenants in place the new owner with permission of the Home Office could exhume the body and bury it somewhere else, or even they could refuse you access.
You should check with the Environment Agency that the burial will not take place within certain distances of specific types of water, however, as long as certain guildlines are followed they should have no objection.
There are certain rules and regulations that you must follow:
The site should be more than 30 metres from any spring or any running or standing water. It should also be more than 10 metres from any 'dry" ditch or field drain.
There should be at least one metre of soil above and below the body after burial.
Electrical and other services must obviously be avoided, and so you may need to contact the gas, electricity and water board to request plans of the land to ensure your own safety.
The person responsible for the burial must obtain a Certificate of Authority for burial from the Registrar of Births & Deaths (or in special circumstances from the Coroner) before the burial takes place; this is routinely issued at the time of the registration of the death
Within 96 hours of the burial, the slip attached to the bottom of the Certificate for Burial or Cremation must be completed (commonly referred to as the green form), with the date and place of the burial, and returned to the Registrar of Births & Deaths
There is a requirement to record the burial on the deeds to the property, in accordance with the Registration of Burials Act 1864. A location map must be attached to the deed to confirm the position of the grave and details of the name of the deceased, age, date and place of death should be recorded. This will reduce the potential complication of the Police being called if human remains are discovered during future garden maintenance or building work, and any prospective buyer should have the right to know that someone is buried within the grounds of the property.
If there are any serious infectious disease concerns relating to the deceased person, then you must also inform the local Environmental Health department.
For more information see the Natural Death Centre website at www.naturaldeath.org.uk