Burials and cremations
Advice on burials and cremations, including organising burials and cremations yourself and the required forms for cremations.
In the United Kingdom today there are around 633,000 registered deaths every year. Of these deaths, 71% are cremated, with the remainder being buried in churchyards and municipal or private cemeteries.
At present, the practice of cremation and burial is carried out within specific statutes, such as The Cremation Regulations 1930 (Amended 2000), The Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977, The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and The Public Health Act (Control of Diseases) 1983.
Burial and cremation records
We have records of burials and cremations in the borough. Searches can be made for all burials, buried human remains or buried cremated human remains - see burial and cremation records.
When checking the deceased personal effects for a will find out if they had already arranged a gravespace in a churchyard or cemetery.
Churchyards - Most churchyards and many suburban churchyards are full or no longer open for new burials.
You will need to check availability of space and rights of burial with the priest or minister responsible.
Cemeteries - There will be a deed of grant if a grave space has already been paid for in a cemetery, and this will normally need to be produced to exercise a right of burial for the deceased if there is enough space remaining in that grave or cemetery.
Most cemeteries are owned and operated by Local Authorities and fees vary from site to site.
Arranging the burial yourself
It is both lawful and possible for you to arrange the burial yourself, and all that is required is a death certificate signed by a doctor and a certificate of burial from the registrar.
If you wish to have the body buried on private property you will need the permission of the landowner and should consult the environmental health and planning departments of the local Council to ensure that there are no objections.
Once completed, the burial needs to be recorded properly and entered onto the Deeds of the property.
Once the body has been buried it can only be disturbed or removed with the authorisation of a Home Office Licence.
If you wish to arrange the funeral or burial yourself please contact the Bereavement Services Manager for assistance, or obtain published advice from the Natural Death Centre.
Most crematoria are operated by Local Authorities although a number are operated by private companies.
The cost of cremation at Lambeth & West Norwood Crematoria includes use of the Chapel facilities, medical referee's fees and the preparation and placement of the Cremated Remains in container for transportation purposes.
Cremated Remains can be
- Scattered in the Garden of Remembrance or in another location with the landowners permission
- Buried in a Churchyard or Cemetery
- Or kept at your own home.
It is very important that you make it clear to your funeral director or Crematorium Staff what is to be done with the Cremated Remains.
If you have made no choice, the Crematorium Staff have the legal authority to dispose of the remains, however only after contacting the relatives.
In the case of babies and very young children there may be no Cremated Remains due to the cartilaginous nature of their skeleton.
Arranging the cremation yourself
Like burial a cremation can be arranged without the need of a funeral director.
If you wish to arrange the cremation yourself please contact the Bereavement Services Manager for assistance.
No cremation can take place until the cause of death is definitely known.
Five forms, available from your funeral director or crematorium, have to be completed:
- An application form (form A) signed by the next of kin or executor.
- Two doctors certificates for cremation (forms B and C) each signed by a different doctor; you will have to pay for these. If the death is referred to the coroner, these two documents are not required; instead the coroner will give you a certificate for cremation (form E).
- A certificate (form F) signed by the medical referee at the crematorium; the medical referee has the power to refuse any cremation and either require a post mortem examination or refer the death to the coroner.
- A certified extract from the register of deaths (green form) issued by the registrar of deaths. This form is not required where the coroner has issued a certificate for cremation (form E).
Parking at a funeral
Information on parking rules for funerals.