ME and Ophelia

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Dig a grave and be buried in a cardboard box -
In your back garden, woodland, forest, meadow or orchard

Today, 18 April, is National Day of the Dead. Seems there are no laws to prevent you being buried in a cardboard box anywhere on private land - in your back garden, woodland, forest, meadow or orchard. All you need is to fill in a form from the Environment Agency.

Provided you own the land, it is easier to bury a relative in your garden than to extend your garage or undertake any other building work. You don't even need planning permission to dig a grave, although erecting a gravestone might stir the interest of the local council.

A garden grave must be situated more than 10 metres from standing water, at least 50 metres away from a drinking water source, and be deep enough to dissuade foxes from digging up the dearly departed. It's also necessary to record the whereabouts of the grave and include this in the deeds of the property.

"People are always surprised to hear that it is quite a simple matter to bury someone on private land," says Michael Jarvis of the Natural Death Centre - organisers of the National Day of the Dead.

You may even put something back into the environment if you are buried in a forest, under a meadowful of grazing sheep or even beneath an orchard of fruit trees.

Woodland burial sites have become popular with those wanting to carry through their environmental principles into the afterlife, since tradition plots are increasingly rare and cremation, Mr Jarvis says, contributes to air pollution.

If your garden isn't big enough to accommodate a coffin, or you fear that a burial plot will put off prospective buyers if you decide to move, there is an alternative to your local churchyard or council cemetery: Eco funerals.
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Note: The above report makes no mention of burials at sea. I wonder if one needs to fill in a form from the fisheries and beach agency. Also, it states: "Graves can be sunk in any private land, although the landowner may need to seek permission to alter the use of the property". Here, in this small seaside town, one little dog doodoo creates a GBP 400 fine. And seagulls' biz makes front page news. I'd be surprised if a council did not find ways to refuse permission to "alter the use of property".

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 4/18/2004
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