Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the council has a duty to arrange for the funeral of persons who die within the district where no suitable arrangements for disposal of the body have been made. The council is usually called upon where people have died without family or friends to make the necessary arrangements. The council arranges the registration of the death and the funeral and endeavours to recover the cost from pensions, insurance companies, sale of items etc. All monies remaining after the deduction of funeral and administration fees are forwarded to the Treasury solicitor with whom close liaison is maintained.
In some circumstances, the council will act to arrange the funeral of a person where there is a surviving close relative who is not in a position to pay. In these cases the relative will be expected to apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment from the Social Fund. For further information on these payments, please visit the gov.uk website. In these cases, the council will seek to recover its expenses from any funeral payment that the relative receives.
Notifications to the council are from the Coroner's Office, which will have done all necessary investigations into the circumstances requiring this service.
A register of Public Health Funerals is available to download.
Rather than using traditional cemeteries or crematoriums, some people choose to have private burials at home or on private land. This is an acceptable practice, although there are some procedures that must be followed. Before a private burial takes place, the Environmental Protection Team at the council should be contacted on 01789 267575, as well as the Environment Agency on 08708 506506.
As well as contacting these agencies it is also important to consider the following issues:
When choosing cremation it is important to consider what to do with the remains. Crematoriums will have areas where ashes can be spread and some cemeteries and graveyards will allow ashes to be spread or buried. Alternatively the ashes can be spread on private land or in rivers, streams or lakes. If ashes are spread on private land or lakes there must be permission of the landowner. Spreading ashes into a stream or river is an accepted practice and for individual ceremonies there is no requirement to contact the Environment Agency. There is, however, expectation to comply with the following guidelines:
For further information, please contact Environmental Health: