New chimneys are not up to the mark

CONTRACTORS have been brought in to fix the new chimneys at Park Wood Crematorium.

Despite spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on renovations and new equipment, the fumes are still failing to meet tough new environmental standards.

It could be early next year before the building is fully compliant, according to Andrew Pitts, who is Calderdale Council’s acting head of neighbourhood and community engagement services.

“We have recently completed a significant programme of investment at Park Wood to modernise facilities for mourners and safeguard the fabric of the building.

“At the same time, we took the opportunity to upgrade the cremation equipment to comply with more rigorous environmental standards now demanded of all crematoria in this country.

“Unfortunately, this element of the refurbishment did not deliver the required results so the council has now engaged an alternative contractor to ensure this is rectified.”

Mr Pitts said the work was being carried out at no extra cost to local taxpayers and with no operational impact.

“It is proceeding to budget and timescale, and will ensure that the crematorium is fully environmentally compliant by early 2012.

“All cremations continue to be carried out in accordance with prescribed national and local standards, and Funeral Directors are still able to ensure that clients who wish to have their relatives or loved ones cremated in Calderdale can do so,” he said.

As many as 16 cremations are carried out every day at Park Wood, Elland, each lasting between 15 and 45 minutes.

Following a cremation the remains are raked into a pot to cool and another machine grinds down the remains to fine ash.

They are then collected by the family or scattered by staff in the landscaped grounds, perhaps with family members present.

During the past two years, £1.5 million has been spent in extending the car park, refurbishing the chapel and installing computer controlled cremators which can remove the mercury and dioxins necessary to meet Government guidelines.

The upgrade means it is possible to provide webcasts of funerals and by accessing a code and password the proceedings from Elland can be watched by people across the world.

A DVD recording of a service is another option and TV screens in the chapel and outside allow families to have a photo show featuring departed loved ones.