Process Guidance Note 5/2 (04) did not specify major pollution control improvements for existing crematoria, beyond those contained in previous versions of the guidance issued in 1995 and 1991. It did, however, specify that new crematoria should have equipment fitted to abate mercury emissions.
Following two written consultations (available on the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/closed.htm), an amendment to Process Guidance Note 5/2 (04) was issued in January 2005 which specified that 50 per cent. of all cremations at existing crematoria should be subject to mercury abatement by the end of 2012.
The consultation papers estimated that the cost of fitting mercury abating equipment to all crematoria would be likely to increase cremation fees by £55 per cremation. Since the decision was to apply this to only 50 per cent. of cremations, using an innovative ‘burden sharing’ approach to regulation, it is estimated that the increase should be in the region of £25 to £30. To put this into perspective; figures from the Office of Fair Trading in 2001 put the average cost of a cremation funeral at £1,215 and £2,048 for a burial.