TWO environmentally-conscious politicians have urged three East Lancashire councils to install new technology to filter out harmful gas from emissions from their crematoria.

New research has shown only a handful of the UKs 307 funeral incinerators are fitted with special deNOx devices to remove toxic nitrogen oxide fumes produced by the chipboard and fibreboard used in 95 per cent of coffins.

None of East Lancashire’s three council-run crematoria – Pleasington in Blackburn, Accrington in Hyndburn and Burnley – are fitted with the technology.

The Data Investigations Unit from the Lancashire Telegraph's parent company Newsquest has discovered that only nine per cent of the 198 run by local authorities have the equipment amid rising numbers of cremations and growing concern about the contribution of the gases produced to air pollution.

Now Burnley Council’s Green Party leader Cllr Andy Fewings and Darwen East Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Browne are calling for its urgent installation at all three crematoria.

Earlier this week the Lancashire Telegraph revealed new research which estimated that air pollution contributed to 50 deaths in Blackburn with Darwen borough and 77 in Burnley in 2018.

Cllr Browne said: “The three councils should fit this deNOx technology as soon as possible.

“Blackburn with Darwen Council is always boasting about improving air quality but this something it could do to cut pollution and harmful effects on health now. It is time they put their money where their moths is.”

Cllr Fewings said: “All three of East Lancashire’s crematoria should have the deNOx technology fitted as a matter or urgency.

“I shall be urging Burnley Council to do just that.The government should legislate to require the installation of the equipment.”

Cllr Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s environment boss. said: “Air quality in the borough has never been better.

“The council will look at installing this technology when Pleasington Crematorium is next upgraded. But there is always the question of cost.

“I am not sure cremations are a major cause of air pollution and the government seems to agree as it has not legislated on the issue.”

A Hyndburn Council spokesman said: “NOx emissions are not a proscribed substance and no limits are in place. As such there is no deNOx technology installed at Accrington Crematorium."

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We will continue to monitor this situation closely but have no initial plans to have the equipment installed unless legislation changes.”

A spokesman for the Green Party nationally said: “We’re in no doubt cremations are contributing to NOx pollution.”