DEFRA goes slow on mercury from crematoria

Controls on mercury emissions from crematoria are likely to be phased in over a lengthy period and will not apply to all existing plant, according to junior Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw.1

Mercury emissions from crematoria are increasing steadily, and the sector could be the largest single source of the metal by 2020, according to official projections. Earlier this year, the Environment Department issued a consultation paper which suggested that dry scrubbers are the best available technique for abating mercury emissions, and would not affect the viability of most crematoria (ENDS Report 340, p 54 ).

Announcing interim conclusions from the consultation, Mr Bradshaw said it had been concluded that a requirement to remove teeth prior to cremation is "not acceptable".

DEFRA will aim to reduce mercury emissions "without forcing any crematoria closures due to physical constraints such as insufficiency of space or heritage considerations."

The next step will be to explore a "fair mechanism for reducing emissions from only a proportion of existing crematoria". Any improvements to existing plant will also be "spread over a number of years", though new crematoria will be required to install mercury abatement.

Proposals based on these conclusions will be subject to consultation "in due course".

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