In the Covid period, the three gas cremators at Poole had fallen into a state of disrepair, and become inoperable.
Although a significant sum has recently been spent on refurbishing the celebration hall, before the September Cabinet meeting, the Conservative Administration had proposed to wait 4 years to see what technologies would emerge in terms of electric cremators, claiming that the technology was too novel to implement in Poole.
At the last minute, the Conservative Administration changed to a position of recognising that this should be done sooner.
Having spoken at the Overview and Scrutiny committee, and done some urgent research to establish that the technologies are not so novel as indicated, and visited both crematoria, Cllr Andy Hadley addressed the meeting. You can see this here :
“There is an urgency to restore a level of service for the population to the west of the Conurbation, and this is less about the technology, and more about the dignity and community aspects of having removed the crematorium service for Poole residents, and also making sense of the recent investment in the ceremonial hall.
I’m grateful to the Bereavement team, who invited members of the Place O&S Committee to visit the sites, and I managed to get to both Poole and Bournemouth Crematoria on Monday.
I have also done some quick research, and I’m afraid I do not think that the technical barriers that the PFH claim are valid.
There are at least 7 Electric crematoria live or near completion in England.
North Oxfordshire near Bicester (Oct 2020)
Huntingdon Town Council – heats the building and glasshouses (£7M, Apr 2022)
Maple Park, Hambleton District Council, Skipton, Yorkshire (Mar 22)
Rushcliff Oaks, Cotgrave, Notts Autumn 22
Lambeth Council, a retrofit, due to go live October 22 (12 year +3 maintenance contract)
Doncaster Crematorum 2022/3
Faversham, North Kent – Summer 2023
Research from CDS group, suggesting people are attracted to use an electric crematorium because of climate concerns. The North Kent site is proposed to serve around 146K people. I think we should be restoring the Poole Crematorium urgently, with a view to the work in 7 years time being updating the Bournemouth site.
Its clear that Electric cremators are an established technology, with claims to producing 80% less CO2 than gas, and 40% less NOx, and consuming significantly less energy than Gas cremators.
Hope was expressed by the PFH that they might be made smaller over time, but much of the bulk is insulation, as they operate on the basis of being maintained at temperature, which has benefits for the longevity of the interior brickwork.
It seems that Resomation is novel, and whilst the technology has been in use for 11 years in the USA, there are no examples I could find in the UK, beyond a permit to discharge water for a facility in Yorkshire in March 2020. The technology comes from Scotland, but I’d agree that is novel technology.
On the basis of the technical evaluation, I am told that installation of two electric cremators at Poole could be achieved in around a 6 months project from the go-ahead, but that does need further work. *** (I was subsequently advised that the 6 months was actually for the company to start the work) ***
So it really comes down to the money, and I wondered whether a grant or a sponsor could be sought to help fund it. Otherwise, given the continued pressure to increase the population of the town centres, this does seem a reasonable use for strategic CIL, or for the green futures fund to restore and enhance this facility.
I would urge you to commit to replacing the cremators with electric cremators at the earliest opportunity. This project would help with the decarbonisation of council operations, and validate the recent work on the Ceremonial hall.
The Council have just spent £500K revamping the Ceremonial hall at Poole Crematorium, including renewable energy heating and ventilation. It has become usual to also heat the buildings from the cremators via heat exchangers, which would have made more sense to incorporate. Without Cremators, it risks being very lightly used.
We need functional cremators restored in Poole with urgency, the service is permanently operating in single site “contingency” mode, which increases the pressures on the Bournemouth site, which only has one bariatric cremator. This investment should be self-financing over time.
I would therefore be keen if you could respond to the O&S recommendation, with strengthening your decision to push forwards urgently with a business case for installing Electric cremators at Poole, and this might hopefully negate the need to declassify the site as a crematorium, which I suspect would be costly and time consuming to re-establish.
I would be grateful if you could respond to that in your decision today.”
The outcome of the meeting was a decision to prioritise a paper reviewing options over the next 6 months, with a view to getting cremators working again within 18 months. This of course pushes any financial commitments after the May 23 Elections. We will be watching and chasing progress.