MAJOR concerns over allowing a cemetery to expand have been reaffirmed by the Environment Agency after it was suggested it was referring to the wrong plot of land.

Worcester City Council said it had been in discussions with the Environment Agency over its objection as it believed it was referring to a different plot of land.

The council had asked the Environment Agency (EA) to “consider” clarifying what it had included in its objection letter.

The Environment Agency clarified its position over its objection to the planning cemetery for the application as well as its planned expansion saying it was an unsuitable location due to "high risks to groundwater and human health."

EA says the site, used as a cemetery since 2005, is unsuitable for human burials and doesn't meet its standards for groundwater – and has raised these fears on at least three occasions dating back to 2008. Three letters of concern were sent highlighting its issues with the site in August 2008, June 2010 and April 2016, the EA said.

However, when asked, the Environment Agency did not explain the content of any of its previous warnings and did not confirm who and which authorities the letters had been sent to.

A spokesman said: “We have received a planning application from Worcester City Council for the retrospective change of use of burial land at the Worcester Muslim cemetery on John Comyn Drive in Worcester.

“The Environment Agency has objected to this application as we do not consider the location to be suitable for use as a human burial site due to the high risks to groundwater and human health.

“We would like the applicant to consider other more suitable alternative locations for the purposes of human burials where there are no groundwater risks and we are prepared and ready to work with Worcester City Council in identifying alternative sites or solutions.”

"We are concerned that this site is likely to have a very shallow groundwater table and therefore any burials as a result would be sub-water table and would not meet the minimum protection requirements for groundwater.

"Direct burials into the groundwater table would lead to pollution of our valuable water resources."

The expansion plan includes 785 new plots, pavilion and a peace garden.