ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners say more needs to be done to cut fumes from cremations, claiming they can produce as much harmful pollution as a car driving twice the length of the UK.

Around 95 per cent of coffins used in cremations are made from chipboard or MDF.

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Funerals using these produce the same amount of nitrogen oxide gas as a car driving 2,280 miles – or 3,650 cars driving past during the course of a cremation, according to industry magazine Pharos.

A Freedom of Information request by Newsquest's Data Investigations Unit has found only a handful of the UK's 307 crematoria are using new deNOx technology to reduce the harmful emission levels.

Easthampstead Park Cemetery and Crematorium in Bracknell is among those without it — but the borough council said they would be welcome to install it. 

In 2018, there were 1,966 cremations held at Easthampstead Park Cemetery and Crematorium.

According to the data, the cemetery has no plans for NOx to be installed, a NOx has not been installed, but it has mercury abatement.

Kevin Gibbs, executive director for delivery at Bracknell Forest Council, said: "

“It is not currently a statutory requirement for DeN0x equipment to be installed in UK crematoriums. However, should this change, we would of course install the necessary equipment at Easthampstead Park Cemetery and Crematorium.

“We take legislation surrounding crematorium best practice very seriously and are committed to reducing harmful impacts on the environment.

"In 2012, in light of new guidelines surrounding mercury disposal, we invested £1.1m in new cremators and mercury abatement equipment at Easthampstead Park Cemetery and Crematorium.”

The company which supplies the majority of the UK’s crematoria is developing technology to reduce nitrogen oxides.

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But many councils have said the equipment provided by Facultatieve Technologies is not used as there is no legislative requirement to do so.

The director of Tapper Funeral Service, Steven Tapper, decided to fit the pollution-reducing technology at his family firm in Poole.

He said: “The cremation industry has kept itself under the radar.

"The same filtration systems are available for crematoriums as for a car engine.

“We have got a NOx filter at our crematorium. They cost around £30,000 and whilst that’s a lot of money it’s not a lot in relative terms to the cost of a cremator or crematorium. In relative terms it’s small change.

“I don’t want to be breathing in NOx, I don’t want colleagues and friends breathing it in and I certainly don’t want my clients breathing it in.

“Having deNOx equipment is comparable to having seatbelts in cars or a catalytic converter – it should be law."

Bracknell Forest Council has been contacted for a comment.