Specialist Risk Assessment for Cemetery / Memorial Ground Development

The burial of corpses and their subsequent degradation may potentially cause groundwater pollution. Cemetery or Memorial Ground developments (new or extended) are therefore controlled by the Local Authority through the Planning Process, with the Environment Agency (EA) as a key statutory consultee.

BOLD Environmental provides our Clients with the Specialist Technical Advice and Groundwater Risk Assessment Services to enable the EA to establish the potential pollution risk to groundwater and to determine the planning application. Our approach consults directly with EA technical and planning personnel to ensure effective decision making in line with relevant guidance and the current legal framework.

Our Risk Assessment approach would be conducted in accordance with the EA's most recent guidance "Cemeteries and Burials: prevent groundwater pollution" (Feb. 2018), and "Cemeteries and Burials: groundwater risk assessments" (Aug. 2017); which advocate a tiered assessment approach; which can be summarised as follows:

  • Tier 1: Risk Screening – Preliminary desk based assessment detailing the environmental setting of the site, scale of development, identification and assessment of hazards and a qualitative assessment of hazard significance.
  • Tier 2: Preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment – A detailed desk study and preliminary site investigation. This tier is required when a site is designated as presenting an 'Intermediate Risk' to controlled waters, or where risks are not clearly defined. Tier 2 requires an appropriate degree of intrusive works (boreholes or trial pits) to confirm soil / geology, prove groundwater levels, determine groundwater quality and provide a means to monitor identified hazards such as potential pollutants. Tier 2 should enable determination as to whether potential impacts are acceptable and enable conditions to be put in place to ensure pollution does not take place.
  • Tier 3: Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment – Groundwater Modelling and Assessment is required if risk is considered high or if further information is requested by the EA.

The extent to which all tiers are required depends on the nature of the proposed development, the environmental setting and whether or not baseline groundwater quality is readily available. BOLD Environmental engage the Environment Agency at the outset to determine the most pragmatic approach to the assessment.

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