Supplementary Memorandum by the Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (CEM 49(b))
When the Department gave evidence to the Sub-Committee
on 9 January part of the committee's inquiry into cemeteries and
crematoria, I promised to write with further information about
two matters: Green Belt policy, and the role of the Health and
Safety Executive in enforcement in cemeteries.
Planning Policy Guidance note 2 sets out the
Government's planning policy on Green Belts. Among other things
it says that new buildings in the Green Belt are inappropriate
development, with the exception of certain listed categories.
New buildings providing essential facilities for cemeteries fall
within one of these categories. They are not inappropriate development
so long as they are genuinely required for uses of land which
preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with
the purposes of including land in it. PPG2 does not mention crematoria.
Most crematoria comprise quite extensive buildings with associated
car parking. Where crematoria are linked to cemeteries it will
be a matter of fact and degree as to whether they qualify as essential
facilities, and preserve the openness of the Green Belt. Otherwise,
they must be regarded as inappropriate development in Green Belts,
and there would therefore be a presumption against granting permission
for them. However, PPG2 explains that inappropriate development
may be granted planning permission if there are very special circumstances
to justify it that outweigh any harm to the Green Belt. It would
be for an applicant to demonstrate the very special circumstances
and each case is treated on its merits.