Burial space is running out in parts of the UK although it is "not yet clear" that Government intervention is needed, a justice minister has said.

Conservative frontbencher Phillip Lee said ministers are considering "whether this position should continue" as he told MPs the pressure on space does not appear to be a national issue.

He added very few public burial authorities in London have reused graves despite being allowed to for almost 10 years.

Mr Lee made the remarks as MPs gave an unopposed second reading to a private bill designed to allow the reuse of areas where burial has not taken place for at least 75 years at New Southgate Cemetery, in north London.

Speaking in general terms, Mr Lee said: "Burial space is running out in parts of our towns and cities and countryside, but in some areas this is not a concern.

"Even within greater London the picture is not consistent. A 2013 York University cemetery research group audit indicated that there is acute pressure on burial space in parts of London but this isn't true across all of London.

"There is already private legislation which, for almost 10 years now, has enabled public burial authorities in London to reuse graves yet very few have done so.

"It is not yet clear that pressure on burial space is a national issue requiring central government intervention.

"Successive administrations have kept the situation under review and I and my ministerial colleagues are considering whether this position should continue.

"But where there is local pressure, it is right for local solutions to address it.

"This Bill addresses the needs of New Southgate Cemetery and the Government does not wish to prevent the cemetery from remaining viable in continuing to serve its communities into the future."

Supporting the New Southgate Cemetery Bill, Conservative MP David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate) said: "There are roughly 44,000 grave spaces and in all 180,000 internments have been carried out in the 160 years the cemetery has been opened.

"There are now only 1,700 spaces available in the main part of the cemetery and a maximum of 100 spaces left in the Baha'i's section.

"However, there is demand for around 175 burials a year in the main part of the cemetery and 10 per year in the Baha'i's section.

"That means that space in the cemetery in both sections is likely to run out in 10 years' time which poses a problem issue for the local community and indeed the Baha'i's and other groups that use the cemetery."

He added: "This Bill seeks to deal with the problem by allowing the reuse of areas of the cemetery where burial has not taken place for at least 75 years, enabling them to extinguish existing rights of burial and to reclaim graves that have not been used for 75 years.

"In addition a method to create extra space known as lift and deepen - it's fairly graphic but that's apparently the term that's used in the trade - would also be allowed, where graves are excavated to their deepest depth with all the remains placed in a casket and re-interned at the bottom of the deeper grave.

"This creates additional space above the reinterred remains."

The Bill will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.