Groundwater Contamination and Cemeteries

Cemetery owners need to consider response

The NFCF has received notice that there is a consultation for new legislation that will affect any organisation that owns its burial ground: ’Amendments to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 as applied to Groundwater Activities and related Surface Water Discharge Activities’. The consultation closes on Wednesday 22nd December 2021.

The science of decay of coffins in burial grounds is not well understood, and for centuries cemeteries have been sited largely on the availability of land. This proposed legislation has the noble intention of eliminating any possibility of groundwater contamination from graves but, as a consequence, it will make burials impossible in some circumstances. Cemetery owners will want to consider their response and, given the short notice, we suggest replying directly. There is a useful briefing note here:

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