Big weekend for crem’

15th June 2010

New equipment is being installed at West Herts Crematorium to help reduce mercury emissions to the environment.

The Joint Committee that manages the crematorium on behalf of Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, and Watford Councils has taken the decision to proceed in advance of new regulations due to become law. Three Rivers is also the pollution regulator charged with imposing these improvements.

Brian Peers, Surveyor to the Joint Committee said,

‘The equipment used is changed on a regular basis to ensure that it is the cleanest and most efficient that is available. New legislation coming into force next year requires that crematoria have mercury abatement equipment to stop the mercury pollution that can come from the amalgam from fillings in peoples’ teeth.

We are now part way through a major contract to renew the cremators and introduce the necessary filtration. Visitors will be mainly unaware of what is going on since most of the work is undertaken at night and at weekends, and the chapels has been operating as normal.

I’m glad to confirm that The Service of Remembrance (scheduled for 11 July) will not be affected by the works, and I invite you all to attend.’

The weekend of 12/13 June saw the old roof removed and the new cremators craned into position. Visitors would have seen lorries bringing the equipment over from the Netherlands, and a huge mobile crane to do all the lifting. The work proceeded safely and without incident and will continue with a new roof being constructed and additional equipment arriving in September.

Local authorities regulate crematoria under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000 (PPC). Considerable improvements were made to crematoria emissions under the previous Environmental Protection Act 1990 which PPC replaced.  Defra now expects local authority PPC regulators to impose conditions in PPC permits so as to give formal effect to the decisions of each crematorium to either fit abatement or contribute financially to others.

The consortium of commissioning local authorities have decided to go to the expense of "full abatement" rather than contributing to the cost of improving other crematoria (so called "burden sharing"). The consortium is funded entirely by cremation fees and places no additional financial burden upon the 5 Herts authorities it serves.

West Herts Crematorium was the winner of the prestigious Crematorium of the Year Award 2008, which recognised its excellent service to the local community.