Consultation on cremation following infant cremation inquiries

Closed 9 Mar 2016

Opened 16 Dec 2015

Results updated 19 Aug 2016

This response follows the Government’s consultation on proposals for a number of changes to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, as well as proposals intended to improve practice surrounding cremation.

A total of 84 responses were received to the consultation from a range of organisations and individuals including local authorities, cremation authorities, bereaved parents, hospitals, voluntary organisations, faith groups and a number of trade associations for crematoria and funeral directors.

The consultation response document explains how the responses shaped the policy, and announces our intention to:

  • Provide a statutory definition of ‘ashes’.
  • Amend statutory cremation application forms to make the applicant’s wishes in relation to ashes that are recovered explicit and ensure that there is a record of their decision.
  • Bring the cremation of foetuses of less than 24 weeks’ gestation within the scope of regulation for parents who choose cremation (rather than burial or sensitive incineration).
  • Establish a national working group of cremation experts to advise us on:
    • the detail of new regulations and statutory application forms;
    • the regulation of cremations of foetuses of less than 24 weeks’ gestation;
    • codes of practice and training for crematorium staff;
    • information for bereaved parents; and
    • whether there should be an inspector of crematoria.





This consultation seeks views on proposals for a number of changes to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008, and for improving other aspects of cremation practice. 

The consultation follows the Government’s consideration of the recommendations of two inquiries into infant cremations:

  • David Jenkins’ inquiry into the way infant cremations were carried out at Emstrey Crematorium in Shropshire between 1996 and 2012. David Jenkins’ June 2015 report established that during this period Emstrey Crematorium failed to obtain ashes to return to parents following infant cremations.
  • Lord Bonomy’s Infant Cremation Commission (ICC). Lord Bonomy’s June 2014 report found that in some Scottish cases parents had been incorrectly told that there had been, or would be, no ashes from their babies’ cremations.

A majority of the 12 Emstrey report recommendations were for the Government, including that we should consider the ICC’s 64 recommendations. This consultation therefore considers all of the Emstrey and ICC recommendations.

Following the closure of the consultation we will carefully consider the responses we receive and will publish a consultation response document setting out the changes that we plan to make.


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