Islamic Burial Sites

MQT on 2017-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Question By: 
Keith Prince
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Can you outline what support your London Plan will be providing to those looking to establish new Islamic burial sites?


Answer for Islamic Burial Sites

Answer for Islamic Burial Sites

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Planning for new burial provision across all faiths is a responsibility of the boroughs as local planning authorities.  I do not have any powers to allocate new sites.  I do recognise that in some areas of the city there is a problem with lack of burial space and this is troubling to many communities, particularly those for whom burial is the only option, but it is for boroughs to address the problem and find appropriate sites, working together if necessary.


What I can do through my new draft London Plan is encourage boroughs to make appropriate provision.  The previous London Plan encouraged new cemetery provision and, as set out in national legislation, the reuse of graves to extend the capacity of existing cemeteries where this is culturally appropriate.  My new draft London Plan goes further by encouraging boroughs to work together to identify appropriate provision.  This should be as close to communities as possible, but I recognise that in some instances boroughs may need to take a sub-regional approach.


As well as boroughs continuing to make traditional burial provision, my draft London Plan also encourages innovative approaches to the provision of community burial space, particularly in inner and central London.  These could include creating public gardens for the burial of ashes.


Finally, I know there was a recent issue with the Garden of Peace Islamic cemetery in Redbridge which is estimated to have only between three and five years’ capacity left.  The Garden of Peace bought a site in Havering to use for future burials, but their planning application was refused by Havering Council.  The good news is that this site has now been approved by an inspector on appeal from the decision to refuse by Havering and the immediate short-term pressure to find a site has now been eased.


Keith Prince AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  As you quite rightly said in relation to the Islamic religion, reuse is not an option, but I hope and I can tell you do agree that the lack of burial sites is a major issue across London.  Of course, you are absolutely right that ultimately it is the boroughs that have to make those decisions as to where they can be located, but there is a role for you, Mr Mayor, as the Mayor of all London, I believe, in helping and encouraging boroughs to accommodate Muslim burial sites.  With that in mind, Mr Mayor, I would really be grateful if you would agree to meet with me, Councillor Chaudhary from Redbridge, some imams and also representatives of the Muslim burial associations in order that we can have a chat and see where you could help and assist.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chair, I cannot think of anything more fun than seeing Assembly Member Prince outside of Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) and so I am more than happy to say yes to that meeting, if that helps.


Keith Prince AM:  I, mutually, have the excitement of meeting with you, Mr Mayor.  I will just put on record, Mr Mayor, my deep gratitude to you from all the people whom you met the other day in relation to the Tube noise.  Thank you very much for that, Mr Mayor.  Thank you.