EA objects to graveyard extension over water pollution fears

The Environment Agency (EA) has objected to a council’s plan to extend a cemetery’s burial space due to concerns over risks to ground water quality.

Darlington Borough Council has applied for planning permission to provide new burial facilities on existing agricultural land next to West Cemetery in Darlington, County Durham.

The proposals include the addition of plots and spaces for the interment of ashes.

However, in a letter dated 20 October, the EA recommended that planning permission should be refused because “the risks to groundwater from the development are unacceptable”.

The EA noted that the site is “known to be subject to groundwater flooding” and that Darlington Borough Council had not supplied adequate information to demonstrate that the risks posed to groundwater can be “satisfactorily managed”. 

The EA continued: “We will oppose development proposals that may pollute groundwater especially where the risks of pollution are high and the groundwater asset is of high value.

“The proposed development involves human burials in an area known to be susceptible to shallow groundwater flooding, which presents a risk to groundwater resources.

“To ensure development is sustainable, applicants must provide adequate information to demonstrate that the risks posed by development to groundwater can be satisfactorily managed.”

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman told the Northern Echo: “We are aware of the objection from the EA and the design team is working to address those concerns.”