Bradwell Crematorium to increase cost of cremations by £81
THE cost of cremations at Bradwell Crematorium are set to increase by £81.
Grieving relatives face being hit with a new £55 cremation environmental charge to help comply with new 'green' laws.
That is on top of a proposed £26 increase on the current cremation fee.
It means cremation costs are set to rise from £500 to £581 – a 16 per cent increase.
Newcastle Borough Council predicts the cremation environmental charge will raise £79,000, which will cover the cost of new mercury emission abatement equipment.
The equipment – which the council installed in 2010 – is needed to comply with new environmental legislation intended to reduce mercury emissions.
Around 1,500 cremations take place at Bradwell Crematorium every year.
Borough council head of operations Roger Tait said: "We have invested approximately £800,000 to install mercury abatement equipment to Bradwell Crematorium to ensure that we can comply with the requirement to reduce mercury emissions.
"The levy being introduced will allow us to fund the cost of replacing the cremators and abatement equipment in the future.
"Many other authorities have already introduced this charge and we believe it's fair and reasonable".
Mercury, which is released from filled teeth during cremations, can cause harm to the brain, nervous system, kidneys and unborn children if allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere and water supply.
Cremations currently account for 15 per cent of all emissions, but this percentage could rise if action is not taken.
Under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations, half of all cremations have to be subject to mercury abatement by the end of this year.
Councillor Eddie Boden, pictured, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: "This seems to be a further increase in the cost of dying."
The £55 environmental charge would be waived for cremations of under 16s, for which no cremation fee is currently charged.
Internment fees for adults at the borough council's cemeteries are set to increase from £665 to £700, while the cost of buying a lawn grave will rise by £47 to £944. Cremations at neighbouring Carmountside Crematorium currently cost £485. Undertakers' leaders in North Staffordshire had feared an increase in cremation charges at Bradwell following the improvement works.
Tim McGough, vice-president of the North Staffordshire branch of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: "Bradwell has had to spend a lot on equipment this year so we were half-expecting this sort of increase."
Biddulph funeral director Gwyneth Garside said: "This scale of increase is very naughty when people are watching their pennies.
"I think it will force many families to choose Carmountside instead so they may have to wait longer for a funeral there now."
The proposed changes to fees and charges will be discussed by the borough council's cabinet next Wednesday.