Monday, 13 February 2012

New agreement helps crematoria meet Defra's 2012 mercury emissions deadline

By the end of this year, all crematoria in the UK are required to comply with the AQ1 (05) note set by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – ‘Control of Mercury Emissions from Crematoria’. This note states that the local authority crematoria industry must meet a target of mercury abatement emissions of 50 per cent of cremations by the end of 2012.

The aim is to halve emissions of mercury from crematoria by the end of 2012, affecting approximately 260 publicly funded venues across the UK. Currently up to 16 per cent of all mercury emitted in the UK comes from crematoria, and without any action this percentage is expected to rise to 25 per cent by 2020.

The Pro5 Group, the national purchasing consortium for the public sector, has established a national framework to help the crematoria industry meet the fast approaching mercury emissions targets.

The framework is now in place to help crematoria achieve an efficient and fully compliant procurement solution in preparation for the deadline at the end of this year. With projects of this nature taking between six and nine months to plan, the Pro5 Group is urging crematoria to make their arrangements as soon as possible.

Paul Smith, Procurement and Supply Chain Director at YPO (Pro5 member organisation) said: “Crematoria are increasingly facing greater challenges of revised legislation, financial constraints, and a rising population creating increased demand.

“Through this framework, the industry will have immediate access to pre-approved suppliers who will manage requirements and ensure crematoria comply with the revised emissions targets.”

Mercury is a toxic substance, which can be found in thermometers, barometers and lamps as well as dental amalgams. It accumulates in the air and water, and can have harmful effects on human health and unborn children. The government’s target to cut mercury emissions from crematoria by half was determined after an extensive consultation to achieve a balance between costs to the sector and environmental benefits.

To find out more about the Pro5 framework, visit the Pro5 website at or email .

· The Pro5 Group is a partnership of the five largest public sector buying organisations in the UK (CBC, ESPO, NEPO, WMS and YPO), committed to delivering national procurement solutions that achieve best value and cost savings for the public sector.

· The Pro5 framework is being led by member organisation YPO.

· All new crematoria are required to fit mercury control equipment but those conducting fewer than 750 cremations a year have until 31 December 2012 to do this.

· The continued rise in mercury emissions is thought to be caused partly by a generation of people who are more likely to have retained all their teeth, but have more fillings because they did not benefit from advances in oral hygiene.

· The two consultation papers leading to the decision to cut mercury emissions by half can be found at .

· Emissions of mercury from all sources have decreased by 89% from 1970 to 2004. They are expected to reduce further up to 2020 as a result of other measures.

· The improvements in mercury abatement are expected to put between £25 and £30 on the cost of a funeral by cremation. The Office of Fair Trading’s 2001 report put the average cost of a funeral at £1215 for cremation and £2048 for burial:

(EDITOR: Time to consider banning the use of mercury in dental fillings, then, one might think?) 

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