Geotechnical and
Environmental Services

Specialists in the investigation, assessment and reclamation
of development land.


Ground investigation and risk assessment for cemetery developments

Whilst not a subject many would care to dwell on, the natural degradation of animal or human buried corpses has the potential to cause contamination of groundwater resources.  This potential therefore needs to be given due consideration during the planning of new cemeteries.  One of BRD’s Principal Consultant’s experience working for the Environment Agency means that BRD understands what this key regulator is looking for when reviewing planning applications for such sites.

The key guidance for this work is Environment Agency website advice “Cemeteries and burials: prevent groundwater pollution ” that details a series of steps, called tiers, that have to be followed to demonstrate what impact, if any, can be expected from a particular proposal.

Tier 1 assessments are desk based exercises whereby a quick decision can be made as to whether a particular site may be suitable or not.  In some cases such research can reveal a site will not be suitable, for example it is situated within a Source Protection Zone (SPZ) 1 and so an alternative location would need to be considered.

Unless the Tier 1 assessment can demonstrate a very low risk, the majority of potential cemetery site will need to progress to a Tier 2 assessment or a more detailed Tier 3 assessment both of which involve ground investigation to install monitoring wells.  It is important for cemetery developers to note the length of time required to complete these assessments as at least twelve months groundwater monitoring data needs to be collected in advance of the first burial.  This is then followed by a further twelve months of monitoring once the graveyard has become operational.

Whether just initial advice or detailed assessment BRD are available to help with planning a conventional cemetery, pet cemetery or green burial site.