The Environment

The Cremation Process

The Crematorium is licensed to operate by the London Borough of Hounslow, under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (as from 06.04.2008: Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007). Through this act the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) requires local authorities to monitor potential pollution issues, including the cremation process.

During the cremation, the emissions are raised to 850º centigrade to nullify dioxins, furans and particulate matter to make the emissions more environmentally friendly, before being released via the flue into the atmosphere.

During 2010 three new J.G. Shelton diamond cremators, together with an foetal/baby cremator, were installed at the crematorium. The new cremators can accommodate coffins up to 87" long, 41" wide and 26" inches in depth. The foetal/baby cremator can take coffins/crib up to a maximum of 21" long and 11" wide. The use of the baby cremator guarantees that some ashes will be available after completion of the cremation process.

The current suggested requirement from DEFRA is that 50% abatement of mercury be achieved. The Board of South West Middlesex Crematorium decided to take the decision to make a large capital investment and has installed new equipment which delivers 100% abatement.

The abatement equipment consists of waste heat boilers, cyclone removal of hot particulates, adsorbent introduction to remove risk of acid gases and activated charcoal filtration to remove mercury and, potentially, other materials.

Waste heat is a resultant product of cooling the gases to enable filtration to be safely used. The waste heat by-product will either reject to atmosphere via blast coolers or in the autumn, winter and springtime, there are plans to re-use the heat from the crematorium buildings, to heat the greenhouse, staff facilities and also hot water.

Floral tributes

All Floral tributes brought to the crematorium for a funeral will be removed on the following days

Day of Funeral

Removal Day (early morning)

Monday Friday
Tuesday & Wednesday Monday
Thursday & Friday Tuesday
Saturday Friday

Please contact the crematorium office if you wish the flowers to remain longer than the designated period.

Once removed from the display area the floral tributes are dismantled i.e. the flowers are separated from the oasis, wires and supports, and are added to the compost area.  The wires are recycled, and currently some of the oasis is being sent to landfill, but as much as possible is being retained for re-use for water retention in hanging baskets and the green house.  

Visitors are invited to lay cut flowers on the lawns throughout the Garden of Remembrance. These will be removed by the Crematorium staff when they have withered. We request that wrappings be removed, so that these flowers can also be composted.  

Flowers placed in the Remembrance Hall are also removed when withered, and are added to the compost area.

Grounds maintenance

The Crematorium employs staff to carry out all day to day grounds maintenance tasks, including sweeping the drive, paths and parking areas. During the winter months, as necessary, rock salt is spread on hard surface areas to avoid risks from icy conditions. This is kept to an absolute minimum to safeguard vegetation.

Litter bins are placed throughout the site and these are emptied a minimum of twice weekly. There are also a number of cigarette disposal points, to encourage visitors to act responsibly when smoking.

The site of the Crematorium is drained via a system of soak-aways. During periods of heavy rainfall the system becomes overwhelmed. Evidence of this will be seen in gardens, where the lawns become waterlogged. The drive is also susceptible to flooding for short periods. We are investigating ways to alleviate this problem and hope to remedy this in future years.

Gardens of remembrance

The Gardens of Remembrance at the Crematorium exist as a permanent memorial to all those who have found their last resting place here. The formal ‘Walled Garden' was planted when the Crematorium opened in 1954. Since then, the North Garden, Meadow and Wild Garden have been added and now offer a variety of settings for the scattering of cremated remains. All horticultural practices give due consideration to the environment and the wildlife that inhabits the gardens.

Birds

Many species of birds are frequently spotted and some nest in bird boxes that are mounted on trees around the gardens. Bird boxes can be sponsored and dedicated to the memory of a loved one. We buy supplies of boxes from the RSPB and follow their advice in terms of positioning and numbers. Other boxes for bats, hedgehogs, owls and insect habitats are also available.

Insects

Since the beginning of 2006 several new herbaceous and shrub borders have been planted, which is highly valuable in helping to maintain habitats for butterflies and other insects. The introduction of wild meadow flowers has also attracted huge numbers of insects to the garden.

The wild flowers introduced include many native flowers and grasses, which again provide a perfect habitat for garden wildlife.

Lichens

Several different kinds of lichens can be found in the crematorium grounds. Some are found in trees and others are found on some of the hard landscaping features, for example walls and paving. Having lichens present in the garden is a good indication of the air quality, and even though we have many planes fly over every day, we still manage to have clean air surrounding us.Any lichens growing in the garden are left undisturbed, unless external factors dictate otherwise, one of the reasons we leave the Lichens alone is so that we can monitor the health of our environment as well as the fact that they are interesting to look at and come in many different shapes and colours.

Garden debris

Where possible we try to turn any debris removed from the garden back into mulch which can be put back into the grounds. Leaves are removed from hard standing areas of the grounds and also formal areas are kept clear of leaves. However leaves which fall in the wooded areas are left to decompose naturally so that soil organisms can convert it to humus. In this process of ‘natural mulching', moulds then bacteria and later earthworms and beetles all have a part to play. Therefore leaving the leaves and also grass clippings creates a good natural habitat for these creatures and bacterium.

Treatments

Peat is no longer used in the garden, and where in the past it may have been in potting compost used we are actively using products which contain only peat substitutes. We avoid using chemicals in the gardens and only resort to using them to get rid of any pernicious weeds. In the recent past an infestation of Japanese Knot Weed had to be treated, to prevent it spreading throughout the gardens; we continue to keep a close watch to ensure it does not return!

Trees

Any logs or fallen branches which we have are used to make log piles to encourage more wildlife into areas. Large tree stumps may also be left and covered with ivy and this again creates further habitats. Ivy is very valuable as it attracts many different species of animals and insects, so with this in mind it is nurtured and maintained in such a way that it is a suitable habitat. As part of a succession planting program and to increase tree density, English oaks (Quercus robur) will be planted in the existing WILD GARDEN. In time they will form the upper canopy and the smaller native trees such as Rowan trees (Sorbus aucuparia) will be planted as a lower canopy. Rhododendron and azaleas will be planted to add colour to the garden.

Benches

In the garden there are many benches, a lot of which have been brought in by the public. Only new benches provided by the crematorium are now permitted. These are not made of teak, and we will buy only benches where the timber is certified and is derived from a sustainable source.

South West Middlesex Crematorium . Hounslow Road . Hanworth . Feltham . Middlesex . TW13 5JH . Tel: 020 8894 9001 . click to email us >