A crematorium in Wales became the first facility in the country to meet the new Environmental Awareness Report section of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA) inspection scheme.
Sirhowy Valley Crematorium, at Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, opened in February, meaning that the community living in Caerphilly County Borough no longer faced a cortege journey of more than 30 minutes and at least 10 miles to reach the nearest crematorium.
The newly-built, state-of-the-art, facility is part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 35 sites in England, Scotland and Wales, all set within beautifully-landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide pleasant, peaceful places for people to visit and reflect.
Earlier this year, FBCA inspectors visited the site and welcomed it as a member.
Sirhowy Valley Crematorium passed in all areas of compliance, becoming the first to have an Environmental Awareness Report, which was introduced in recognition of the sector moving towards a more sustainable future.
The FBCA wants to ensure members are keeping in line with new regulations and are working in greener, more environmentally-friendly, ways.
The new section requires crematoria to display to the FBCA and to the bereaved the measures in which they’re working to protect the environment while providing a caring, compassionate, service.
Sirhowy Valley Crematorium has been sympathetically designed to offer a place of peace and seclusion within the picturesque natural setting in the heart of the valley.
The chapel is light and spacious, finished in Welsh pennant stone, render and bespoke hardwood joinery with neutral colours and with picture windows along one side.
It is fitted with a modern media system and two large screens, providing live webcasts and visual tributes and will be surrounded by well-maintained memorial gardens.
The four-hectare site also features a floral terrace, set slightly away from the chapel, offering a tranquil area for families and friends to gather following their service.
Jon Deacon, site manager, said: “We’re pleased to be welcomed into the Federation and to be the first site to have an Environmental Awareness Report as part of the Federation inspection.
“Not only that, but we were told that we passed with ‘flying colours’, which we are particularly proud of.
“This reinforces the Westerleigh Group ethos of being a good neighbour, not only to the communities we serve, but also to the environment as we strive to find cleaner and greener ways to operate.”
The FBCA represents almost 85% of crematoria in the UK and its President Cllr David Marren said: “The Environmental Awareness Report has been designed to support crematorium managers and owners identify areas of their service where they can operate in a more sustainable manner whilst also recognising existing excellence.
“It is clear from this report that Westerleigh Group have already adopted a range of measures to minimise the impact of Sirhowy Valley Crematorium on the environment, a truly excellent start to the introduction of this new service to Federation members.”
Shortly after introducing the new Environmental Awareness Report of its inspection scheme, the FBCA announced a new environmental policy, specifically designed to support cremation authorities with informative guidance on how they can deliver their services in a progressively more sustainable manner.
Westerleigh Group became the first cremation authority in the UK to officially adopt the new environmental policy.