Scattering Ashes Law, Cremation Ashes Regulations and Permits in UK

Scattering Ashes Law

The law on scattering ashes in the UK is fairly relaxed. There is nothing explicit in the legislation to stop people scattering ashes over land or water, but you need the landowner’s permission.

We have collected the positions of various landowners, see our section on Permission and policies of landowners

If you choose to scatter on a river – you don’t need permission, but you should consult the Environment Agencies Guidance.

If you wish to scatter over the sea – you don’t need permits or permission. You should still follow the Environment Agency’s guidance as their jurisdiction is 5 miles from the coast.

A family grave – You may wish to scatter or bury someone’s cremation ashes on the family’s grave. Not all cemeteries allow scattering and, if you intend to bury them, then you will need to make sure that you are the ones with the rights to do this. See our page on Interment of ashes and Informal burying of ashes  

What the law does say about cremation ashes

In law ashes are considered to be the same as a body, and you can’t own a body: a court can’t divide a body therefore the court can’t divide up ashes either. If somebody in the family has the ashes and wishes a different resting place for them, see if they will share some of the ashes with you for a token scattering/burial or for you to hold in a keepsake.

There has been a number of court cases regarding ashes we have captured most them in the following posts.

There are strict rules around Exhumation, here is the main page. We have also collected a lot of  legal cases to give an insight into what the courts think – Exhumation case law

Scattering Ashes Law

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