Gentrification of death: Behind London’s burial crisis

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City, University of London

Location Published: London, UK

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Topic: Death

Summary: Seven boroughs in London contain no new grave space, and a further 19 will be unable to meet expected demand for burials over the next 20 years, according to local authorities.

The shortage of burial space in the capital is reaching a critical stage in many of its 32 boroughs. Data shows that the majority of them currently lack the capacity to supply enough graves to meet the level of demand suggested by mortality projections over the next two decades.

Changes to burial legislation gives London boroughs the authority to reuse graves in order to combat grave shortage. The practice involves placing a new or additional body in an existing grave, and is being touted as the answer to the city’s burial space crisis.

Graves chosen for reuse are over 75 years old. The cemetery is required to contact families to ask for consent and public notices are posted on or near the graves six months beforehand. If there is an objection, the grave will remain untouched.