DESPITE declaring a climate emergency last year, an investigation has revealed that Northumberland County Council’s only crematorium does not have technology in place to reduce harmful pollution created during cremations.

Around 95 per cent of coffins used in cremations are made from chipboard or MDF, and these types of coffins produce the same amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) as a car driving twice the length of the UK, according to industry magazine Pharos.

Facultatieve Technologies, which supplies the majority of the UK’s cremators, is developing technology to reduce NOx gases. But Freedom of Information requests by the Data Investigations Unit at Newsquest, which owns the Hexham Courant, revealed that more than 90 per cent of publicly-run crematoriums do not have this installed – including Blyth Valley and Wansbeck Crematorium run by Northumberland County Council.

Eco-minded industry figures say the problem has been kept under the radar and Green Party members believe councils across the country and the Government should do more to make cremations greener. But many councils said they did not currently have deNOx equipment in their crematoria as there was no legislative requirement to do so.

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “Blyth Crematorium is currently meeting the conditions of its Environmental Permit. The council’s upgrade to the crematorium in 2015 included the installation of new cremators and mercury abatement systems which help to harmful emissions. Our crematorium provider is developing technology to reduce nitrogen oxide gases, but this is not yet available.

"We will continue to monitor their progress and once they have developed a solution we will evaluate it.”