A crematorium has said it is committed to becoming as “green and sustainable as possible” despite not installing technology that reduces “harmful” pollution.
It comes after an investigation by Newsquest found West Herts Crematorium was among hundreds of crematoria across the UK not installing technology being developed by Facultatieve Technologies to reduce NOx gases.
These are also known as nitrogen oxides, which are poisonous gases from nitrogen and oxygen combustion under high pressure and temperatures.
West Herts Crematorium says that when the current cremators were installed, the technology “was not available” to help reduce nitrous oxide emissions and is not a legal requirement to install.
Jane Thomas, manager and registrar of West Herts Crematorium said: “All other potential pollutants generated by the cremators are dealt with through the current abatement system.
“Whilst it is still not a legal requirement for crematoria to install specialist equipment to cut nitrous oxide emissions, the crematorium is committed to becoming as green and sustainable as possible.
“We will explore whether we can use any of the more recent technology to help us achieve this.”
Around 95 per cent of coffins used in cremations are made from chipboard/MDF and funerals using these types of coffins produce the same amount of NOx gas as a car driving 2,280 miles or 3,650 cars driving past the crematorium during the course of a cremation – according to industry magazine Pharos.
Nationally the technology by Facultatieve Technologies, which supplies the majority of the UK’s cremators, is only in place in a handful of the 307 crematoria across England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, according to Freedom of Information requests.
Green Party members believe councils across the country and the Government should do more to make cremations greener after the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency last May.
A spokesman for the Green Party said: “We’re very concerned about NOx pollution.
“We’re in no doubt that cremations are contributing to this problem.
“Bereaved families should be equipped with the information they need to make more environmentally-friendly choices when saying goodbye to a loved one.
“Ironically, people with stoves and log burners are advised against burning chipboard due to the toxic fumes it produces, yet this is precisely what is happening with funerals as the majority of coffins cremated are made of chipboard.
“We shouldn’t let the taboo around death prevent us from addressing environmental concerns.”