Public health burials

Find out what a public health burial is and see a register of burials in the district.

Under the Public Health Act 1984 we have a responsibility to arrange a funeral for anyone who dies in the district (excluding if they die in hospital) when no other suitable arrangements can be made. This usually means:

  • no relatives can be found, or
  • there are no relatives able to make arrangements

We will arrange a simple, dignified funeral at a local cemetery. There will be no ceremony, cars or flowers and no opportunity for a headstone.

If any funeral arrangements have already been made, such as instructions to a funeral director, we can’t take over the funeral or part fund it. You may be able to get help with funeral costs if you're on a low income and claiming certain benefits.

See a register of public health burials

How we reclaim burial costs

If no relatives are able to make funeral arrangements, the nearest surviving relative will need to sign a form to agree that we can arrange the funeral and recover costs from the estate of the person who has died. We will need access to bank accounts, insurance policies and belongings.

If the person didn't leave a will and there is no known next of kin, we will refer estates with money over £500 (minus our costs) to the Treasury Solicitor.

To find out more about public health burials please contact our environmental health team.