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Prices to rise at Guildford Crematorium

Published by in English ·
Tags: PricesriseGuildfordCrematorium

THE price of cremation will rise by 15% in Guildford, after the borough council approved an increase in charges proposed to help offset the cost of making crematoria more eco-friendly.

From November 14, the current rate of £504 per cremation will rise by 5%, with a further increase of 10% by April 2012, after Guildford Borough Council gave the proposals the go-ahead at a meeting last Thursday.

It follows legislation introduced by the government to make crematoria more environmentally-friendly by combatting toxic fumes caused when dental fillings are burned.

However, the rise would mean that Guildford is still cheaper than crematoria in the surrounding regions.

Leatherhead is the most expensive nearby crematorium, with its privately-owned facility charging £670.

Aldershot’s council-owned crematorium charges £650, while cremation at Woking’s privately-owned facility costs £625.

In contrast, Guildford council’s facility will end up charging £582 from April.

The rise in charges stems from a government requirement for crematoria across the country to upgrade their facilities in order to reduce toxic mercury pollution.

The mercury from dental fillings is released into the environment through the cremation process.

Guildford Borough Council has invested £1 million in replacing the current cremators to meet the mercury abatement legislation, which must be completed by December 2012.

Nick Sutcliffe, lead councillor for environment services, explained that this was a significant capital sum that had to be recovered through increased costs.

“The charges are what makes this business operate,” said Cllr Sutcliffe, referring to the council’s crematorium.

“It’s a business and it’s not subsidised by council tax or by central government, so we look at the market and we have quite a cautious approach to our pricing.

“However, even after the increases last year, this year and next year, we will still be below the market average.

“At the end of the day, obviously if you charge much more, people will go elsewhere.”

Cllr Sutcliffe added that the borough council also has ambitions to refurbish the front-of-house facilities at its crematorium, which date from the 1960s.

Raising Guildford’s crematorium charges is expected to bring in an extra £15,000 in income during the current financial year and an extra £84,600 in 2012/13.

Jane Bellamy, a funeral arranger at J Monk and Sons in Guildford, agreed that the area’s crematorium was not the most expensive facility around but said: “It’s annoying but if people want a cremation, that’s where they are going to go.”

However, she added: “People are not going to not have a cremation because the price has gone up.

“For a lot of people, it’s the first time they have arranged a funeral, so someone coming to us in six months’ time isn’t going to know about it.

“I don't think it will mean a huge difference.”




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