Alternative cremation option “on hold”

Doubts raised on use of new process in West Midlands

On 18 December 2017 the BBC reported ‘Water cremation’ plans on hold over environmental fears following an earlier refusal* by Severn Trent Water to grant a trade effluent permit to Sandwell Council who wished to operate an alkaline hydrolysis plant (“resomation”) for the disposal of human remains. Readers will recall last week’s post on the Law Commission’s 13th Programme of Law Reform on the 14 projects that the it will look at over the next three years. One of these was “A Modern Framework for Disposing of the Dead” Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 1st October

And the party conference season grinds on – but in real life (and amongst the episcopi vagantes) …

“Living wills”

Sky News reported that, during the course of a hearing last week in the Court of Protection about the treatment of an elderly man who is in a minimally conscious state, Francis J said this:

“It should be compulsory that we all have to make living wills because these cases would be resolved much more easily. We all ought to be encouraged to tackle these issues. If there was some sort of campaign to educate people about these sort of things I think people would actually do something about it.” Continue reading

Groundwater pollution from cemeteries

How will new position statements impact on development of cemeteries?

On 14 March, the Environment Agency (EA) issued a new tranche of position statements on groundwater protection. That relating to cemeteries is of particular importance in view of the current shortage of burial space and the need for future development, either by the extension of existing cemeteries or the creation of new ones, including grave plot reuse and ‘lift and deepen’ methods. This post outlines the underlying provisions, discusses their application, and examines some of the apparent inconsistencies.   Continue reading

No “New Bats in Old Belfries“?

Initial £3.8M HLF funding for 5-year “Bats in Churches” partnership project

On 8 February, Natural England announced that The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had approved the development stage and initial funding of £3.8million for the 5-year “Bats in Churches” partnership project, bringing together wildlife and heritage conservation and church organisations to save bats and protect churches. In June 2013 we wrote:

“The presence of bats in churches presents significant practical and financial problems, which are exacerbated by the protection given by the Habitats Directive. This is a long-standing issue, yet one which has been difficult to progress”.  Continue reading

“Shale Gas and Fracking” – an assessment

The CofE briefing “Shale Gas and Fracking”

The recent Briefing Paper on Shale Gas and Fracking (“the briefing”) was commissioned by the  CofE’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (MPA) and Environment Working Group “to help understand a ‘live’, and contentious, issue about which there are many strong feelings on different sides, both in the church and in the wider community“.

Welcomed by United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the trade body representing  the onshore oil and gas industry in the UK, the initial media perceptions were that the Church of England was tentatively backing fracking – a stance which is at odds with Christian Aid, Operation Noah, other “Christian environmentalists”, the Green Party, and some within the local groups potentially affected. Continue reading