Construction nightmares this Halloween


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Skeletons and bats can be a genuine challenge if they turn up on a building project. Tristan Wark and Joanne Kelly explain the legal issues

Love it or hate it, it is hard to deny that Halloween has become increasingly popular in the UK. Whether you will be taking the children trick or treating this 31 October, or attending a costume party, it is difficult to completely avoid the phenomenon (even if just interacting with the shops and businesses promoting the occasion). That said, nobody wants a spooky fright showing up on their construction project.


It is not unusual, depending on a development’s size and location, to encounter human skeletal remains as part of a construction project. Famously, in connection with the Crossrail development for the Elizabeth Line in London, more than 3,000 skeletons were brought to light at one site (the former New Churchyard burial ground used by the Bedlam hospital), and more than 500 skeletons dating back to medieval times were unearthed as part of the development of a leisure centre forming part of Elephant and Castle’s £1.5bn regeneration scheme.

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