Huntingdon Town Council is working towards a sustainable Huntingdon
Sustainability and the environment are at the core of Huntingdon Town Council's service delivery. A current project of the Council that encapsulates these focuses is the town's new Crematorium, Cemetery and Estates Services Depot.
In March 2020, construction work commenced on the Town Council's initiative project to build the UK's first purpose built, environmentally friendly Crematorium, with 120-seater chapel and electric cremator, as opposed to one fired by gas. Alongside there will be a new cemetery, with 2,000 burial plots.
The Town Council is also taking the opportunity to have a new depot and purpose-built glasshouse constructed at the rear of the site, with the heat recovered from the cremator used to heat the greenhouse, which will be used to propagate and grow plants for the town's flower beds and containers etc.
Progress to date is that this new facility should be ready and open for use at the end of April / early May, slightly later than anticipated due to Covid-19 and weather conditions.
Allotment holders will have already seen in action the Eco Composter on their sites. This will be used to compost the floral tributes, grass cuttings, hedge trimmings etc. to use on the flower beds, so all waste is reused as environmentally friendly as possible.
The new depot will have solar panels installed to generate power to recharge the battery operated mowers and trimmers.
These proactive steps will help the town in reducing its carbon footprint, but there is more which can be done to move this forward.
Did you know that the majority of coffins used by Funeral Directors are made of veneered faced chipboard or MDF? The construction of these products involves the use of formaldehyde and other resins to bind the materials together. In turn these then enter the water source and water table. There are alternative cost effective coffins available, which are made from sustainable timber which are less harmful to the environment and should be used. The Town Council will be working closely with Funeral Directors in order to progress this forward.
Whilst flowers give great comfort to the bereaved, we need to address an eco-alternative to the current practice. Many floral tributes are formed using a single use plastic wreath ring or letters spelling out the name or Dad / Mum etc. This plastic is then filled with flora foam, which is made up of thousands of small plastic particles. It takes over ten years for the foam to breakdown, which in turn infiltrates our water course with micro plastics. There is an alternative so call Enviro Flora foam, which breaks down in two / three years, but this still contains the harmful plastic micros. Florists need to be encouraged to return to the traditional forms of floristry and encourage the use of bouquets tied with jute or raffia, all of which can easily be composted.
Across the UK, 90% of all headstones erected use imported granite from either China or India, creating a huge carbon footprint of approx. 2,390 tonnes of CO2 per year. Research has shown that if only UK sourced granite was used the carbon reduction would be 500%. In addition, by using stone sourced from UK quarries, this would protect jobs in that industry. Therefore we need to encourage the use of UK quarried stone for headstones and plaques.
All these initiatives will help reduce the Carbon Footprint of funerals and make Huntingdon a better place to live, visit and work.
As the local Burial Authority, Huntingdon Town Council is responsible for and manages/maintains the cemeteries in Priory Road and Primrose Lane, along with the closed churchyards across the town.
Burial space is in limited supply and for the last five years the Town Council has proactively searched for additional land to provide a new cemetery but also a new crematorium. This has not been an easy exercise, but plans are moving forward.
Cemetery Development Services Ltd have been commissioned by the Town Council as consultants throughout the planning application process. The planning application included: a new town cemetery accommodating over 2,000 traditional burial plots, a columbarium and mausoleums, a garden of remembrance and natural burial ground. There will also be a bespoke designed chapel, seating up to 120 mourners and the crematorium.
Huntingdon Town Council received planning permission for the Crematorium on 21st January 2019. The rival application from Dignity UK was refused. The closing date scheduled to receive tender documents is 21st June 2019 and following a review it is hoped the contract will be awarded in mid-July. The Crematorium and Cemetery will be located just off Kings Ripton Road in Huntingdon.
To view the Approved Plans please visit https://publicaccess.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple&searchType=Application and search for ref: 18/01439/FUL
Should you have any questions at any stage of the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01480 411883
Minutes from the Private and Confidential meeting of the Extraordinary Town Council on 24th January 2019. Please note that some details have been omitted for confidentiality reasons.
Public Comments and Documents
Public Comments on the Crematorium Planning Application (PDF, 2.1 Mb)
A record of public comments on the Crematorium planning application from 2018, sourced from Huntingdonshire District Council's planning portal: https://publicaccess.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/online-applications
Huntingdon Crematorium Need Assessment (PDF, 879 Kb)
A Need Assessment Report for Huntingdon Town Council's Crematorium - June 2018
Huntingdon Crematorium Planning Permission (PDF, 1.1 Mb)
Planning Permission for Huntingdon Town Council's Crematorium
Annual Finance Reports 2017 - 19 (Crematorium) (PDF, 3.6 Mb)
A copy of the annual finance reports for Annual Town Meeting for the years 2017/18 and 2018/19. Including an update on the progress of the Crematorium Project.