CREMATIONS in Cumbria have caused in a year the equivalent pollution of a car driven for more than 7.5million miles - a new investigation has revealed.

The majority of coffins used in cremations are made from chipboard or MDF, which produce nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (collectively known as NOx), which are harmful to human health.

Funerals using these types of coffins produce the same amount of NOx gas as a car driving 2,280 miles or 3,650 cars driving past the crematorium during the course of a cremation - according to industry magazine Pharos.

Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Newsquest Data Investigations Unit revealed that council-run crematoria in Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Distington do not have technology to reduce the harmful effect caused by NOx.

Only four crematoria in the country have confirmed they have deNOx technology.

Councillor Tony Callister, Barrow Borough Council spokesman for licensing and public protection, said the authority was working with funeral directors to provide more environmentally-friendly products.

He said: “We are very proud of the service provided to families and the community at Thorncliffe Crematorium in Barrow. Our team work incredibly hard to accommodate grieving loved ones and friends with the utmost care and sympathy in peaceful and dignified surroundings.

“As an authority, Barrow Borough Council is committed to a low carbon future, and we are actively working to identify ways in which we can move towards climate repair.

“The crematorium is fully compliant with all legislation surrounding emissions and last year we installed additional abatement equipment.

“We already work closely with funeral directors in the area to ensure they use the most environmentally friendly products possible.

“We also encourage local firms to help guide families toward the greenest choices.”

Barrow’s crematorium was the one with the lowest number of cremations in 2018, with 736, and Carlisle the highest with 1,553.

Cllr Callister added: “Not all local authorities provide crematoriums as they are a non-statutory service and can be costly to manage. We have always felt very strongly that keeping Thorncliffe Crematorium is the right thing to do for the people of Barrow.

“The next nearest council-run facilities would be Distington, in Workington, or Carlisle, both of which have considerable travelling times.

“In an ideal world, we would install new technology to further limit emissions, but we would have to factor in the cost of the product and its installation. Should this be financially possible in the future, we would certainly give it due consideration.”