§ Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of rivers in the United Kingdom for religious death rite ceremonies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
We have no plans to introduce specific legislation to prohibit the scattering of cremated human remains on inland waters. Ashes resulting from cremation, which in this country must take place in a duly notified crematorium, are regarded as being innocuous from a public health standpoint. But it is open to water authorities to seek agreement with the religious bodies concerned as to the manner and particular areas in which scattering of ashes should take place.
Sea burial and the scattering of ashes in coastal and estuarial waters in appropriate areas is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.