Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Memoranda

Memorandum by H T Bush (CEM 98)

  Recently I obtained planning permission for a burial site in my woods near Saxmundham for a section planted under the Farm Woodland Scheme, which as you may know is operated by MAFF who do not visit the site, but leave all the legwork to the Forestry Commission who should know better about trees. The Forestry Commission favoured the scheme. MAFF without visiting or discussion opposed on the grounds of being "Sylviculturally unacceptable". They obviously overlooked that Robin Hood was buried under an oak tree in the 1200s—the tree still stands.

  On the subject of burial of bodies above a water table, Environment Agency stipulated a human corpse in a coffin should be two metres clear. MAFF's water code permits the burial of uncoffined animal carcass only one metre above.

  New cemeteries are like golf courses inasmuch as the land is made dead for many other uses.

  It seems quite apparent in East Anglia that permission for golf courses well exceeds the local demand. I suggest that country cemeteries should only be approved if a real need arises on a district basis to ensure that scale leads to satisfactory maintenance standards.

  Further points on the subject of pollution could be studied:

    1.  The Environment Agency to compare pollution effects between burial and cremation and offer public advice thereon.

    2.  Environment Agency to consider whether village church cemeteries comply with their present groundwater level requirements and decide what to do with any deficiencies.

December 2000

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