Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Dead Heat

Tameside Council, up in the North West of England, has some controversial plans in store for Dukinfield Crematorium, according to the Manchester Evening News.

It seems that, in a fit of environmental angst, not to mention a pressing need to comply with government targets on how much mercury is released into the atmosphere from cremations (IS there such a target? If so, which sad bugger thought it up??), the council is planning to use excess heat from cremations to warm the freezing butts of mourners in the Crematorium.

Regular readers, particularly those from Cardiff University, will know that I have very little time for environmental "issues", and even less time for environmentalists. Even so, I can recognise a good idea when I see one, and this particular notion strikes me as little more than the practical application of common sense.

I have never yet visited a Crem that is, in reality, anything more than a brick shed for mourners to sit in while their dearly beloved vanishes behind a pair of plush curtains. By their nature they're remote, usually being stuck in the middle of a cemetery, and bloody cold. Heating and lighting them requires the provision of an electricity supply, yet their very purpose is to generate substantial amounts of excess energy - why not put that to good use and do away with the need to consume power from the national grid?

It is an efficient and logical use of available resources, which also happens to have an environmentally beneficial side-effect - I suppose that was bound to happen one day, eh? No doubt there will be some protests amongst those of a soft-minded disposition, but I think that, unusually for local government, Tameside Council is on to a winner with this one. Go to it, guys, and, while you're at it, perhaps you could consider the possibility of passing excess power back on to the national grid - if all Crems did that it might make a small but significant contribution to the UK's energy demands?

Billy Seggars.

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