Natural burial sites can offer a final resting place that's both environmentally friendly and deeply meaningful. If you're considering establishing a natural burial site on your land in the UK, Carter Jonas has provided a range of considerations.  


1. Market Research 

Before embarking on your journey to create a natural burial site, it's essential to conduct thorough market research. The demand for such sites can vary greatly depending on location, so identifying the right area is crucial. 

Ideally, your site should be nestled in picturesque countryside or woodlands, with convenient access to nearby settlements and excellent transport links. Easier accessibility means more frequent visits from friends and family, making your site more appealing. 

Unlike traditional graveyards, which often cram up to 600 plots per acre, natural burial sites typically offer lower plot densities, averaging around 300 plots per acre. Lower densities allow for a more attractive and serene environment, adorned with trees, sculptures, and shrubbery. 


2. Site Selection 

When choosing a location for your burial site, consider the topography. Cremation burial plots can be situated on sloping ground, but traditional graves should be on level terrain. Ensuring that the burial remains are above the water table is vital to prevent contamination. Some sites may also prefer not to accept embalmed remains due to chemical concerns. 


3. Pricing and Sustainability 

In terms of pricing, most natural burial sites charge for the plot, which is perpetual compared to the typical 100-year leases in commercial cemeteries. Additionally, there's a fee for the burial ceremony itself. Generally, the combined cost ranges from £2,000 to £2,500 per burial plot and around £500-600 for a cremation plot. Keep in mind that offering perpetual plots means the income is a one-time payment, necessitating coverage for site maintenance, effectively creating a nature reserve. 

Initially, you may experience slow burial uptake as you establish your reputation. Selling plot reservations can help bridge the gap until the site gains popularity. As your reputation grows, you'll gain insights into the site's capacity and lifespan. 

It's noteworthy that many natural burial sites offer pleasant walking areas, creating opportunities to attract the general public and generate additional income by selling refreshments and related services. 


4. Setup Costs 

The initial cost for a natural burial site is acquiring land. While you don't need high-quality farmland, it should be relatively level and not excessively wet. Cheaper land may not meet these criteria, making this cost quite expensive if you do not already have suitable land.  

Obtaining planning permission for the burial site may be complex, as local planning authorities often lack experience with such sites. Ensure your plans consider the water table and ecology. You may opt to forgo building structures initially. 

Infrastructure, including walkways to graves and a car park, is another significant setup cost. Depending on the land's nature, landscaping, planting, and sculptures might also be necessary, especially if you plan to open the site to the public. 

Don't forget public liability insurance, a necessity for any business open to the public. It's advisable to consult with your insurer to ensure comprehensive coverage, given the specialised nature of the sector. 


5. Future Prospects: Sustainability and Management

While the site's end use may be far off, consider potential additional income through grant funding or support from businesses' ESG or CSR initiatives. A natural burial site doubles as a wildlife reserve, aligning with environmental conservation efforts. 

Furthermore, think about how this venture integrates with your existing enterprises and the skillsets of you, your family, or your staff. Providing attentive care and time to clients and visitors is essential, so evaluate whether this aligns with the demands of a working farm or if hiring dedicated management is a viable option. 

Conclusion

Creating a successful natural burial site in the can be a solid commercial venture. By conducting thorough market research, selecting the right location, setting fair pricing, managing setup costs wisely, and considering sustainability, you can embark on this journey with confidence.  

If you are looking for expert advice on managing your land, reach out to Carter Jonas today.

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Edward Beale
Associate Partner, Infrastructures
0121 306 0386 Email me About Edward
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