Schedule 14

Part of Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 27 November 2007.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 12:45, 27 November 2007

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.