READING cemetery is one amongst a minority across the country to have implemented emission-reducing technologies.

Environmental campaigners say more needs to be done nationally to cut fumes from cremations, which they claim can produce as much harmful pollution as a car driving twice the length of the UK.

A Freedom of Information request by Newsquest's Data Investigations Unit has found only a handful of the UK's 307 crematoria are using new deNOx technology to reduce the harmful emission levels - and among those is Reading.

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In 2018, there were 1,693 cremations in Reading Cemetery and Crematorium. 

Around 95 per cent of coffins used in cremations nationally are made from chipboard or MDF.

Funerals using these produce the same amount of nitrogen oxide gas as a car driving 2,280 miles – or 3,650 cars driving past during the course of a cremation, according to industry magazine Pharos.

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A spokesman from Reading Borough Council (RBC) said: "RBC replaced all its cremators back in 2013 with cremators which incorporate the very latest technology and abate a range of elements, particularly mercury.

"It is also meeting the conditions of its Environmental Permit.

"The government issued guidelines in this area in 2005 and DEFRA produced updated guidance in 2012 which the council fully adheres to.

"The service additionally works hard on a daily basis to ensure it utilises the equipment in the most energy efficient way.

"The cemetery and cremations in Reading service takes a proactive approach to managing its everyday emissions and plays an important part in the council's pledge to create a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030."

Facultatieve Technologies, which supplies the majority of the UK's cremators, says it is developing technology to reduce harmful NOx gases (nitrogen oxides) which are a major factor in poor urban air quality but this is not currently in place in Dudley borough's crematoriums.

But many councils have said the equipment provided by Facultatieve Technologies is not used as there is no legislative requirement to do so.