Schedule 14

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 27 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Burial grounds: removal of human remains and monuments

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move amendment No. 60, in schedule 14, page 210, line 24, at end insert—

‘( ) If the remains were interred less than 25 years ago, the  nominated undertaker shall make every reasonable effort to identify the relatives or personal representative of the deceased, and consult those people as to how the nominated undertaker proposes to carry out its functions under this Schedule with respect to the disposal of the remains or monument.’.

We now turn to the question of the construction of Crossrail affecting the burial grounds of human remains and monuments to the deceased. I am aware that the Select Committee considered a number of petitions about that and has carried out some excellent work. However, clearly the removal of burial grounds and monuments in order to make way for the construction of Crossrail is an important and sensitive issue, which the Bill tackles comprehensively. Paragraph 1(1) and (2) of schedule 14 requires the nominated undertaker to publish details of removals, and sub-paragraph (3) relaxes those rules when dealing with the remains of someone who died more than a century ago. That appears to be appropriate.

My amendment, however, proposes an additional sub-paragraph that would change the rules when dealing with the remains of those who died more recently and would represent a more sensitive way of dealing with this very distressing matter. Twenty five years is a relatively short period for burials. I accept that no obligation could be placed on a nominated undertaker to take the approach proposed in the amendment when dealing with all interred remains. However, very little effort would be required in order for the nominated undertaker to find relatives of those interred more recently. They could refer easily to undertakers that performed the particular ceremony, church records or the electoral role. Rather than just placing a notice in a newspaper, a slightly more demanding obligation should be placed on the nominated undertaker in order to relieve some of the distress caused to the families of those interred less than 25 years ago whose remains will be removed to make way for the albeit necessary construction of Crossrail.

Photo of Brian Binley Brian Binley Ceidwadwyr, Northampton South

I support the amendment. In fact I would go even further and, therefore, seek help from the Minister. Many people have moved out of London, many of whom came to Northamptonshire, on an overspill basis, 40 years ago. Many of their grandparents are the people we are talking about, but they might have died 40 or 50 years ago. Although I recognise that there is a limit to what he can do for those people, will he rethink this scenario very seriously? It will impact immensely on sizeable numbers of Northamptonshire residents, and I am sure that the same goes for other counties. Will he be kind and give us and them some comfort in that respect?

It being One o’clock the Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned accordingly till this day at Four o’clock.