Scattering ashes by drone in the UK

Scattering ashes by drone in the UK

by Martin Jackson2022-10-060

In England, it’s now possible to scatter your loved one’s ashes via drone. This can be arranged by yourself, if you have the technical know-how. Or you could get in touch with someone like Aerial Ashes, a Yorkshire-based company who operate all over the UK.  

Where can you scatter ashes in the UK?

It comes as a surprise to many people, but you can scatter ashes almost anywhere in the UK, if you have permission from whoever owns the land/area. For example, if you want to scatter the remains in a meadow that’s part of a farm, you’ll need to find the owner’s permission first. Or, if you want to scatter them in a public park, you’ll need to ask the local council who manage that park. But if you want to scatter them in your own garden, you don’t need permission from anyone.

Another good option that some people in England choose is National Trust land. Though you should definitely get in touch with the manager/organisation related to that specific property first to acquire their permission.  

Do I need permission to scatter ashes in the UK?

Only if you plan to do so on private land. As the UK government states: “You do not need permission to scatter ashes from a single cremation on your own land, or make any formal record of doing so.” And the same rules apply for scattering on public land.

If you have any questions about cremation and the disposal of ashes, don’t forget that our personal advisers are always ready to offer friendly, experienced support, no matter what you need. Feel free to get in touch to find out more. And if you’d like to find out more about the cost of cremation in the UK you can read our useful article. 

Can you scatter ashes on a beach or in a river in the UK?

Yes, you can. Given that almost all coastlines and rivers in the UK are not privately owned, you are free to scatter ashes at these locations. However, make sure you read follow the guidelines from the UK government, which state:

  • Make sure the effect on the environment and wildlife is minimal, e.g. by not dumping the ashes over flowers or near animals.
  • Make sure the ashes do no not affect or come into contact with other people in the area at the time.
  • Do not cast flowers/wreaths or personal items into the waters, as they can harm the environment and wildlife.

Is scattering ashes bad for the environment?

As long as you follow some simple guidelines, scattering ashes has almost no impact on the environment. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t scatter ashes near buildings, homes, marinas or quays. 
  • Avoid areas that commonly attract people, such as a sunbathing location in a park, or a swimming area on a river.
  • Be extra careful on windy days, as ashes are very light and can be blown back into your face, or in a direction you did not intend. 
  • If scattering on water, you should choose a location that’s at least one kilometre upstream of anywhere that water is pumped from or collected (“water abstraction”). And make sure they are spread on the surface of the water – don’t let the wind carry them into nearby bushes, for example.

Who are Aerial Ashes?

If you think scattering ashes using a drone is an option for you, then Aerial Ashes is an option for you to consider. The company is based in North Yorkshire, but is more than willing to travel all across the UK. They are fully authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority, and can also help you with seeking the right permissions from landowners when you’re choosing the right area.

Aerial Ashes was founded by Christopher Mace, formerly an RAF Officer with a history of over 30 years flying military helicopters. During his time with Search & Rescue, he was asked to scatter ashes of a former airman over the sea. Although an unusual request, he realised that it would bring relief and peace to the loved ones of the deceased to carry out these wishes. That was the genesis for his idea to found Aerial Ashes. 

At Fenix, we have many years’ experience working with experts and specialists all over England. That’s why you can trust us to act as your funeral directors. From helping you to plan every step of a funeral, to simply helping you find the right florist, we’re here to offer you peace of mind. We are also committed to being as honest and transparent as possible. Whatever you need, our personal advisers are there for you. Get in touch today for some no obligation advice. 

How does aerial scattering via drone work?

Scattering ashes from the air opens up many possibilities that otherwise aren’t available. And it also ensures that the process is conducted with absolute precision, in accordance with all laws and regulations, and in a hygienic way.

The drones they use are equipped with a bespoke carriage and release system, which is controlled by the drone operator. This ensures that the ashes are released precisely, safely, and in a way that can bring great satisfaction to all viewers. 

They alway organise a scattering ceremony so that viewers are provided with a safe and satisfying viewing point, usually around 100 metres from the area over which the ashes will be scattered. 

During the flight, it’s possible to take videos or photographs, and even to operate the ashes release switch. When the ashes are released, they produce a light plume that disperses in a trail behind the drone. Although the remains do fall to the land/water, the spread is much finer than traditional scattering, further lessening the environmental impact.

What about noise pollution and environmental issues?

Scattering ashes by drone is only ever done in a way that follows all guidance and regulations. Only the ashes themselves are scattered, never memorabilia or other items. And most scattering ceremonies also take place early in the morning, to minimise the disturbance to other people at locations that are popular during the day.  

Can ashes be scattered at a stadium or sports club?

As with all  scattering of ashes, permission must be sought from the owner. If you choose to scatter ashes via drone, the company you choose, such as Aerial Ashes, will be able to help you acquire all necessary approvals. While some sports clubs or stadiums do allow scattering, it should be remembered that some may have a total ban on the practice (for example if otherwise they would receive too many requests). 

Get in touch

You can contact Aerial Ashes via their website,, or email them directly:  

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