Deaths, burials and cemeteries

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) now affecting many areas of our services to the residents and businesses of Amber Valley, we are keen to keep you right up-to-date with the changes we are being forced to make. Read more about your council services.

Deaths

The death of a loved one is often a distressing time. Unfortunately there are administrative requirements which must be followed after a death and these can add to the burden for the bereaved. We can help steer you through this difficult time.

A death must be registered in the district in which the death occurs. However, if a death occurred in another district, a declaration can be attested at any Register Office and forwarded on to the relevant Register Office which will issue all the necessary documents.

To make an appointment to register a death please contact the relevant register office

Burial choices

All Amber Valley Borough Council's cemeteries are maintained as traditional lawn areas with the exception of the woodland site. Burials take place in a grave in ordered rows with the headstones placed in line. Within Heanor, Ripley and Leabrooks cemetery there is the choice of having the grave with or without a concrete plinth. This system allows for a headstone to be placed immediately on the grave without waiting the advised 6 months for the ground to settle.

The woodland site at Belper moves away from the more traditional, and allows for a burial in a natural environment. The site is within Belper Cemetery on the eastern slopes of the Derwent Valley and is surrounded by a wood. This area will take many years to establish, at present it is managed as grassland to encourage the growth of wild flowers, with a small amount of tree planting being undertaken. All graves within the woodland are marked and recorded, memorials are not permitted within the site. Further information can be found in the 'helping you with woodland burials' leaflet in the related documents section.

It is possible to place cremated remains in the garden of remembrance sections of all our cemeteries or within existing family graves.

Buying a grave

Amber Valley Borough Council does not offer the facility to pre-purchase graves prior to burial.

The purchase of a new grave is offered at the time of arranging a burial with the funeral director.

At this time the Council will try and accommodate the family's wishes in relation to the site, but generally burials take place 'next in line'.

It is possible however, to approach a funeral director and arrange a pre-paid plan or bond for when the time comes.

It is always advisable to make your wishes known to your family or solicitor.

Deeds

An 'exclusive rights' deed is issued on the purchase of a new grave.

This deed gives the rights to the owner, for a period of 50 years to request the re-opening of a grave and the right to erect a memorial.

Burials on private land

There is no law prohibiting the burial of human remains on private land; however, before it can take place, the person responsible for the burial must obtain a ‘Certificate of Authority for Burial’ from the local registrar of births, marriages and deaths or the coroner. Within 96 hours of the burial, the slip attached to the bottom of the certificate must be completed with the date and place of the burial and returned to the registrar.

The Register of Burials Act 1864 requires the owner of the land where the burial will take place to prepare and keep a burial register in a safe place, so that it can be referred to if there is a risk of disturbance: this must record the essential details of the deceased person and the date and place of burial, with an accompanying plan showing the location of the grave. The Natural Death Centre website provides further information on private land burials, including a sample form, by visiting www.naturaldeath.org.uk.  The landowner should also check that the deeds to the burial site and any mortgage contract do not contain any covenants or conditions preventing the burial of human remains and whether the deeds need to be amended to note the burial. The site should also be checked for buried cables or pipes that could be damaged or require future access.

In relation to the involvement of the borough council, planning permission is not required for a single burial, nor are there any particular environmental health-related implications, other than to ensure that no environmental pollution or nuisance is caused to neighbours and that there is no risk to public health; however, the body would not be released for burial if not safe to do so. The borough council has specific responsibilities in relation to the protection of private water supplies, so advice should be sought from the housing team on 01773 841335 before any works commence. The Environment Agency has minimum groundwater protection requirements and further information is available on their website at www.gov.uk/guidance/cemeteries-and-burials-prevent-groundwater-pollution.

It would also be advisable to notify neighbours and Derbyshire Constabulary (on their non-emergency number: 101) of the date and location of the burial, so that they are aware in the event of any enquiries or concerns.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841565 or email cemeteries@ambervalley.gov.uk