New Government measures to update crematoria facilities
The Hindu community has welcomed the Government’s decision to help update crematoria facilities so that the needs of different faiths can be accommodated.
Faith Minister Lord Bourne has written to local authorities to inform that all reasonable steps should be taken to allow the needs of those with different faiths to be met. The Government has announced a package of measures and wants to revise national guidance for crematoria provisions and facilities, especially on the siting and design of crematoria, subject to further consultations and finally offer support to community groups interested in operating their own crematoria or associated facilities.
Faith Minister, Lord Bourne said, “Cremations have become more and more common. This is why it is vital that there are high-quality crematoria that respect cultural and religious traditions of all faiths and beliefs, and those of no faith.
“This package of measures will make sure that local authorities and providers offer the appropriate facilities that reflect the communities they serve.”
Anil Bhanot, Founding Member, Hindu Council UK said, “I’d like to thank the Faiths unit under Lord Bourne for seeing this long-standing issue through. For Hindus, Jains and Sikhs cremation of the body with the right and proper ceremonial prayers is of utmost importance.
The announcement follows the review of crematoria provision and facilities, where the Government received around 150 responses, most from the Hindu community as well as from many other faiths and belief groups.
The responses highlighted several issues, including:
- The capacity of crematoria to accommodate large groups;
- Car parking facilities;
- Difficulties with the design of crematoria (for example, fixed seating or catafalque)
- Lack of facilities to carry out specific rituals (including separate prayer rooms, washing facilities, a viewing room to witness the committal of the coffin or proximity to the water);
- Difficulties with booking slots, slots being too short and/or having to pay higher prices for weekends;
- The need for new crematoria, and/or travelling long distances to access a crematorium in specific localities
- Insensitive or inflexible iconography or other services, such as prayer books or music.
Cremations have become more and more common. In 2017 there were 467,748 cremations representing 77.05% of all deaths, with each crematorium having an average of 1,607 cremations in 2017.
The full package of measures to ensure crematoria are fit for purpose is:
- Revise national guidance on the siting and design of crematoria, subject to further consultation
- Offer support to community groups interested in operating their own crematoria or associated facilities
- Lord Bourne has written to local authorities to inform them that all reasonable steps should be taken to allow the needs of those with different faiths to be met in public buildings, encourage providers to be more transparent about their services, and have appropriate staff training to understand different faith requirements.