The country’s biggest municipal cemetery could be forced to ban new burials if it fails to get approval for thousands of new graves on neighbouring land.

Around one million people are buried in the grounds of the 200-acre City of London cemetery, in Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead.

Abandoned plots are already being recycled at the cemetery, and managers are now looking to expand into four acres of nearby scrubland to create space for another 3,000 graves.

The proposed area is currently being used as a disposal ground for grave digging and cemetery waste.

A report presented to a City of London Corporation sub-committee on Wednesday said: “The potential risk of not developing the site for burials is that the City of London Cemetery will cease to function as a working cemetery in 10 years’ time.

“There is a critical shortage of burial space across London as a whole.”

Rail, Maritime and Transport union boss Bob Crow's funeral was held at the cemetery last week.