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Scattering or interring of ashes  

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After a person is cremated the next of kin have to decide what to do with the ashes.

Cremated remains are usually ready for collection the day following the cremation. the Crematorium will offer a choice of container.

The ashes are usually given to the funeral director.  The next of kin can arrange their own collection but they will need to have a proof of their identity.  The crematorium will provide a Certificate of Cremation with the ashes.  This is a legal document that will show the name of the deceased, the date and location of the cremation.

The ashes can then be scattered or interrred depending on the wishes of the deceased.  If the deceased has not expressed a preference then the relatives are free to make their own decision.  The choice is personal                                .

Most crematoria have their own Gardens of Remembrance.  It is usually free of charge for the ashes to be either spread over the garden or placed in a burial plot.  Crematoriums can make arrangments for the planting of a tree or shrub or the placing of memorial plaque.  There is usually a charge for this service.

Some crematoira will keep ashes for up to a month before making a charge to store them, but this can vary.  If there is no prior instruction, they are then strewn in the garden of remembrance.

The family or next of kin may instead decide to scatter the ashes in a place that has special significance or happy memories. You can bury or scatter them in your own garden but need to consider what will happen if you decide to move house. Sometimes families hold informal ceremonies to mark the occasion.

There are companies that offer specialised wervices for the scattering of ashes.  For example, your loved one may have expressed a wish for their ashes to be scattered at sea.  In this case the royal Navy has a number of regulations concerning the material the casket can be made from in order to protect the marine environment.


Usually churchyards and cremteries have a Garden of Remembrance for the interment of ashes.  To use either of these locations you will need the permission of the church or cemetery authorities.

There are aslso designated woodland and green burial sites that offer the opportunity to inter ashes.

Scattering of ashes

There are no laws that prevent the scattering of ashes on land or in revers or lakes.  However, the minerals in cremated remains can damange fragile eco-systems so you should try to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.  You should also first seek the permission of the landowner.

The Environment Agency advises that ashes should not be spread

within 1km upstream of any drinking water supply

where the water is used for commercial, agricultural or recreational purposes, such as a marina

close to anglers

Non-biodegradable materials such as wreathes and plastic bags should not be put in the water.

You should also consider the time of day and who else is likely to be near when you scatter the ashes.  Early morning and dusk are popular times for such ceremonies to take place. Some relatives decide to keep the ashes at home in containers. There are also specialist companies that will turn a small portion of the ashes into glass or memorial jewellery. Whatever you decide to do it is an entirely personal matter and very much depends on your beliefs and the wishes of the deceased person.