Now pay ‘fat tax’ for cremation

January 27th, 2010 - 10:52 am ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 27 (IANS) A civic authority in Britain is considering a hike in the cremation charge in order to collect funds to improve the crematoriums which are unfit for bodies of overweight people.
Currently, bodies which are too big to be dealt with have to be transported to larger crematoriums.

In several cases, bodies do not fit properly in furnaces at Kent and Sussex crematorium. Therefore, the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is now considering charging more for cremations involving bigger coffins to help pay for improvements costing up to 1.7 million pounds ($2.74 million), the Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

Families of the deceased will be asked to pay an additional 40 pound surcharge for cremations of larger bodies.

“Given that it is almost inevitable that the costs of taking larger coffins to facilities further afield is passed on to the customer, it is felt reasonable that if the authority incurs additional costs in order to facilitate larger coffins that a charge of 40 pounds is made,” the council said in its report.

The Local Government Association warned the authorities in 2007 that crematoriums were finding their furnaces too narrow to deal with bigger coffins.

Standard coffins range from 16 to 20 inches in depth. However, increasingly coffins anywhere up to 40 inches are being ordered to fit larger bodies.

Around 430,000 people choose to be cremated in Britain each year.

The crematorium at Kent and Sussex are 15 years old and the fans 12 years old and it is hoped that replacements will help the crematorium reach various environmental and emissions targets.

Roy Bullock, council leader, said: “This project has been repeatedly discussed for around six months as the expenditure is considerable. Cabinet has not made any decision on possible changes to the crematorium and it would be inappropriate to comment before the cabinet meeting of February 4.”

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