Regulation of alkaline hydrolysis (‘water cremation’) in Scotland

Closed 17 Nov 2023

Opened 25 Aug 2023

Results updated 26 Apr 2024


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Scottish Government wants to ensure that all those who have died are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Death, burial, cremation and related topics are very emotive subjects. There are also ethical, faith, social and cultural dimensions to caring for the deceased. This consultation seeks to balance clarity of language around the alkaline hydrolysis process with the objective of ensuring that the subject matter is treated with care, respect and sensitivity.

While developing the 2016 Act, the Scottish Government were aware that new methods of body disposal which would sit alongside traditional burial and cremation were in development. One of these is alkaline hydrolysis, also known as 'water cremation.' Section 99 of the 2016 Act enables Scottish Ministers to make regulations to extend the application of the 2016 Act to encompass new methods of disposal of human remains. The proposals to regulate alkaline hydrolysis discussed in this consultation aim to provide people in Scotland with a possible alternative choice to burial and cremation, while ensuring that providers are subject to the same oversight, requirements and conditions as cremation.

Throughout this consultation, some of the language used is necessarily technical and may seem clinical. This has been done intentionally to avoid ambiguity in describing alkaline hydrolysis and to ensure accuracy in the development of a potential legal framework around the process.

Read the consultation paper 


Consultations in this collection

This consultation is being published as part of a collection of consultations relating to the content of various sets of regulations that will be made under sections of the 2016 Act which have not yet been implemented. They relate to:

View all consultations in this collection.

Why your views matter

Your views will help shape the next steps of regulating this new method of body disposal, and ensure that we can deliver our aim of allowing all those who have died to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. We want to hear a wide variety of views from the public and those within the funeral sector.


  • Health and Social Care
  • Main hub