A £2m SCHEME to make Portchester Crematorium more environmentally-friendly is to get under way next year.
The project will see specialist equipment installed at the site, which sees around 4,000 cremations take place every year.
The equipment is designed to reduce emissions.
The work is required as part of a government bid to reduce the emissions p
roduced across the country during the cremation process. The government wants every crematorium to at least halve the amount of pollutants being released into the atmosphere by December 2012.
But staff at the crematorium have decided to go for equipment which will eliminate emissions completely instead of only hitting the 50 per cent target.
John Haskell, clerk to the crematorium joint committee, said: 'The work needs to be done because the previous government set down a timescale some years ago asking all crematoriums in the UK to update and install the equipment to reduce mercury emissions. They wanted all crematoriums to provide them by December 2012.
'We're one of the largest in the country so we decided to go for full abatement rather than 50 per cent.'
Mr Haskell said the work would cause minimal disruption to the work of the crematorium.
'As far as users of the crematorium is concerned, it won't notice any difference,' he said,
'The work that will be undertaken will be carried out outside of the working hours as far as possible.'
Services will continue to take place as normal in the two chapels at Portchester.
In order to accommodate the new equipment the buildings will have to be enlarged, which will be achieved by building a first-floor plant room.
Specialist contractors are being employed and the aim is to have the new equipment up and running by early 2012. The cost of the work is being met from money that has been set aside over several years to pay for improvement works. Portchester Crematorium, which was opened in 1958, is owned and managed by a joint committee of councillors from Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth councils.