The Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways), the organisation that operates and maintains over 2000 miles of inland waterways in England and Wales, have told us their position…
The scattering of human ashes on rivers is regulated by the Environment Agency working with British Waterways.
Faith groups and individuals follow different traditions and practices when a loved one dies and for some this involves spreading their ashes in rivers and streams. The Trust does not want to unnecessarily obstruct or interfere with these traditions.
Their role is to maintain safe navigable waterways and to protect their environment. And they seek to take account of the needs of diverse groups in the way we carry out our work. Therefore as long as the environment is not damaged British Waterways has no objection to these practices.
Ashes themselves have little impact on water quality. However, sacttering must be carried out in-line with guidance provided by the Environment Agency