Graves to be reused?

  Forum Editor 19:12 15 May 2011

A recent audit of burial space by the Greater London Authority found eight boroughs were completely full, with no space for new burials. Another 10 boroughs have a "critical" problem, and are predicted to exhaust available space in 10 years. The greatest focus is on London, but the problem is nationwide. Cemeteries have been expanded in Leeds; there are problems in Surrey and Lincolnshire; in Rhyl it is estimated the cemetery could be full within 18 months.

The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it? Existing graves must be reused, and in 2007 London boroughs got the power to do just that - to remove old remains,deepen the graves, and bury other bodies.

Apparently there has been little public opposition the idea, although it hasn't actually been done yet.

  morddwyd 19:55 15 May 2011

It's been mooted before, last year in Scotland, but as long ago as 2001 in the Commons.

link text

It seems it was common until the middle of the 18th century.

  daz60 20:07 15 May 2011

Read the report posted by morddwyd,yes it appears an insoluble problem. An on-going issue for a number of years,it would appear that cremation,being the 'cleanest' method, is not acceptable to all people. One way,unusual as it may seem,is to bury people in vertical slots as opposed to horizontal ones. The thought of "cramming" recently deceased loved ones on top of older deceased people would not,i imagine,be an acceptable solution to the vast majority of people. Personally i would take cremation or burial at sea,so nature can recover its own.

  birdface 21:21 15 May 2011

[The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it? Existing graves must be reused]

Why not have them cremated instead.

  Forum Editor 21:33 15 May 2011

Why not have them cremated instead

Why not indeed? It seems to be the obvious answer, but many people find the idea unacceptable. I can't understand why, but we're all different. A body is a body, not a person - the person has gone - so why should there be so much importance attached to burial?

  peter99co 21:49 15 May 2011

I've hired a hole in the ground and I get to use it for 70 years. :o)

  n47. 21:50 15 May 2011

An atheist might not understand that a religious person might want to stand in front of there maker, whole.

When our daughter passed away. They could find no cause of her death so her brain was sent away for analysis. We had the option to bury her or cremate her without her brain included. We waited till it had gone through the tests, 12 weeks before we buried her.

My wife, in her grief, wanted all of her laid to rest.

Anyway just think of the extra revenue the council gets from the sale of land and the extra charges they get from putting up a head stone.

  spuds 22:11 15 May 2011

It could well be that there as been very little opposition because the the dead person as relatives who no longer know about the grave, or even care about it. If I recall rightly, there was a cemetery somewhere in the London area, which attracted media interest a few years ago, because the cemetery had a change of ownership from the council to a private company. The private company wanted to remove some of the older remains.

Around my neck of the woods, a number of grave yards have terms and conditions dating back a few centuries, which basically tells you that the plots are 'rented' for a period of 100 years or similar times, and after that time the remains can be removed, unless another fee is paid. I have never heard of this rule being implemented yet, but in one particular cemetery near me, there are gravestones with 1700's written on them!.

Other countries have similar rules regarding 'renting' plots and spaces. In yesterdays Daily Mirror, there was an article about 24.000 bodies that are going to be 'evicted' in Belgrade, Serbia. Apparently the £7.00 a year rent is due, and the dead persons families or trustees have not been paying the 'rent'. I suppose many of these bodies were from the conflicts of a few years ago. How feeling change!.

One of our council's major cemeteries have just been granted permission for a further extension. This is now causing a bit of an uproar with people living about half a mile away, demanding 'not in our backyard'. But knowing the council, the residents will lose the battle. The cemetery was there well before the householders moved in!.

What are the alternatives. Cremation is becoming more expensive, especially with the cost of the new environmentally friendly crematorium. Then there is the option of the new environ metal forest and flora spaces. We even have the scattering of ashes by certain religious groups, in our local river and canal, which is now bringing problems and complaints.

It looks like a no win situation, either dead or alive!.

  Rhodie 23:11 15 May 2011

My in-laws graves is rented for 25years - if payment new rental agreement not reached after the 25years the plot will be given to someone else!

  Forum Editor 23:13 15 May 2011


Thank you. I am an atheist, and you're right - I can have no understanding of why a religious person might not want to be cremated. My take on it is that a loving God probably wouldn't care less whether someone is whole or not, but that's just my opinion.

There's a very real problem with burials, and it's quite plainly going to get worse as more and more bodies fill up the available spaces. I can't escape the feeling that sooner or later we'll have to legislate in favour of cremation. Other societies worship God, and some of them seem to have no problem with not burying their dead. I think it's probably more of a cultural thing, rather than a religious one.

  TopCat® 00:26 16 May 2011

Both my wife and I have decided on cremation when our time comes. She has long endured a terrible fear of being buried alive and the very thought of it makes her shudder uncontrollably.

As for myself the decision came only recently after some hard thought. I now think cremation is better all round for me, though I ain't about to curl my toes up just yet! :o) TC.

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