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
All Floral tributes brought to the crematorium for a funeral will be removed on
the following days
Day of Funeral
Removal Day (early morning)
Tuesday & Wednesday
Thursday & 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
Flowers placed in the Remembrance Hall are also removed when withered, and are
added to the compost area.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.