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Frequently asked questions

How many of the deaths which occur in Great Britain each year result in cremation?

  • Cremation has become the preferred method of disposal in Great Britain.
    Approximately 72% of all recorded deaths are now followed by cremation.

What arrangements can be made to ensure that cremation is the selected method of disposal following death?

  • Clear instructions in writing should be given to the person who will be responsible for making the funeral arrangements.
    Such instructions are not binding in law and it will therefore be necessary to ensure that the person instructed is someone who is likely to carry out the wishes of the deceased.
    The final decision will rest on the executors.

Is cremation more expensive than burial?

  • Generally the cost of burial is much higher than the fee charged for cremation.
    Cremation usually necessitates the production of medical certificates for which fees are payable to the doctors concerned. These certificates are not required when the death has been referred to and investigated by the Coroner (Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) or where burial is required.
    Where burial is to take place fees for grave purchase, excavation, memorials and grave maintenance may be incurred.

Religious groups

Are there any religious groups which forbid cremation to their members?

  • All Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, allow cremation. Cremation is also acceptable to Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists but is forbidden to Orthodox Jews and Muslims.

What service arrangements are available at the crematorium?

  • A full religious service may be conducted at the crematorium within the time allowed for each funeral.
    If it is thought that the service will take longer than the half hour allocation, an extra half hour period may be booked for which a fee would be charged.
    Alternatively a service may take place in any separate place of worship followed by a brief committal ceremony at the crematorium.
    Families may arrange for their particular Minister to conduct the service or when required their Funeral Director may secure the services of a suitable Minister on behalf of the family.

Is it necessary for the cremation to be associated with a religious ceremony?

  • The deceased's family can make any service arrangements which they consider to be appropriate. Secular services can be conducted at the crematorium or, if required, no ceremony need take place. 
    Memorial services can be conducted separately from the cremation ceremony in local places of worship by arrangement with the Minister concerned.

The cremation

How is a cremation arranged?

  • A number of arrangements need to be made following a death.
    The responsibility usually falls on the Executor or the nearest surviving relative who may wish to approach a professional Funeral Director who will undertake some of the various tasks on their behalf.
    The Funeral Director will need to discuss with the family their requirements concerning the service arrangements and will assist in completing the necessary statutory and non-statutory forms. The Funeral Director will make the practical arrangements for the collection of the deceased and will obtain the necessary Medical Certificates. It will be necessary to register the death and information will be provided by the Funeral Director to assist in completing this duty.

Can more information be obtained concerning cremation and if required can a crematorium be visited by members of the public?

  • The matters referred to previously may be discussed in more detail with the Manager of the local crematorium. The Manager will be pleased to answer further questions and make arrangements for any member of the public to be accompanied on a visit to the crematorium.

Can more than one body be cremated in a cremator at the same time?

  • The Code insists that each cremation is carried out separately. Exceptions may be made in the case of mother and baby or twin children providing the next of kin has made a specific request in this regard.

Cremated remains

Do relatives need to decide at this stage about the disposal of cremated remains?

  • The Funeral Director will discuss with relatives the alternative arrangements which may be adopted for the disposal of cremated remains.
    It is likely that a form of authority will be required to be signed advising the crematorium of the wishes of the family.
    If they are undecided it will be possible for the cremated remains to be retained either at the crematorium, for a limited period or at the Funeral Director's premises, pending a decision. 

What are the normal options for disposal of cremated remains?

  • Remains can be dispersed in the Gardens of Remembrance.
    Cremated remains can be removed from the crematorium in a suitable container for disposal elsewhere.
    This may include interment in a grave in a cemetery or churchyard, dispersal at another crematorium or disposal privately in a particular area selected by the family.
    Suitable permission should be obtained from the appropriate Authority in these cases.

What is a Garden of Remembrance and what facilities may be provided there?

  • The Garden of Remembrance consist of special areas, often adjacent to the crematorium, set aside for the strewing or burying of cremated remains. They are used continually for this purpose and as a result it may not be possible or appropriate to mark or identify the exact location of individual cremated remains. The Gardens are normally arranged to provide a focal point for visitors and may include a variety of memorial facilities.

Can relatives witness the committal of the coffin into the cremator?

  • The reception of the coffin in the committal room and its introduction into a cremator can be witnessed by arrangement with the Crematorium Superintendent. It is preferable to advise the Funeral Director of these requirements as early as possible when making the funeral arrangements.

Is the cremation of a body governed by a code of ethics and working practices?

  • Cremation Authorities who are members of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities are required to operate in accordance with a Code of cremation practice.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?

  • The Code​ requires that the coffin be placed in the cremator in exactly the same condition as that in which it was received at the crematorium.
    Crematorium regulations require that the coffin and all its fittings and furnishings be made from materials suitable for cremation.
    The Environmental Protection Act 1990 has placed a new responsibility on Cremation Authorities to ensure that the process is completed under controlled conditions which will minimise the impact on the environment. In these circumstances it will be necessary for any items included in the coffin for presentation or viewing purposes to be removed by the Funeral Director before the coffin is conveyed to the crematorium.

Should items of jewellery be left on a body for cremation?

  • It is preferable that all items of jewellery be removed from the body before the coffin is conveyed to the crematorium.
    The Funeral Director should ascertain your wishes in respect of this matter when the funeral arrangements are being discussed.
    It will not be possible to recover any items of jewellery after the coffin has been received at the crematorium.

What happens to the cremated remains after cremation?

  • At the conclusion of a cremation the cremated remains are removed in their entirety and conveyed to a treatment area in a special container.
  • Ferrous metals used in the construction of the coffin or metals used in medical implants are extracted and retained for separate disposal within the crematorium grounds.
  • Non- ferrous metals which may include an unrecognisable element of precious material will not be salvaged for any purpose and will be disposed of in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Cremation Practice and this will invariably be by burial in the crematorium grounds.

What procedures are followed to ensure that cremated remains are kept separate?

  • A cremator can physically accept only one coffin at a time and all remains are removed before the unit can be used again. The identity card referred to previously accompanied the coffin and cremated remains throughout the process until final disposal. The Code of ethics and practical necessity are complementary and combine to ensure that the separation of cremated remains is achieved. 

How are cremated remains treated at the crematorium?

  • Cremated remains are removed from the cremator only when no further reduction is possible. The remains are withdrawn into a cooling area and finally into a special container for transfer to a purpose made unit which, after removal of ferrous metals, will reduce the residue to a fine consistency suitable for storage and eventual disposal. The remains are enclosed in a suitable and carefully identified container to await dispersal or collection. The cremated remains are normally available for collection from 10am on the second working day following the funeral service, but it is always advisable to check with the Crematorium before making a special journey. 

What quantity of remains will there be following a cremation?

  • The cremation of an adult will normally result in the presentation of cremated remains weighing between 2 and 4 kg (4-8 lbs).

What happens to the cremated remains strewn on the ground?

  • The cremated remains, which have assumed a granular form, are normally distributed over a wide are of ground.
    Chemical reactions resulting from exposure to the elements quickly break down the remains so that eventually little trace of them can be observed.

Can cremated remains be interred and marked with a memorial?

  • The Garden of Remembrance attached to the crematorium do not provide for the erection of permanent memorials. At crematoria where the burial of cremated remains is practised, it is not usual for them to be buried in a container of any kind. If it is required to inter cremated remains in a grave with traditional facilities for memorialisation, suitable enquiry should be made to the Manager responsible for the selected cemetery. 

Can cremated remains be retained by the family pending final disposal?

  • The Applicant for cremation may collect and retain the cremated remains if required. Cremated remains can be retained at the crematorium for a limited period although a charge may be made for this facility.

Floral tributes

When are the funeral tributes removed?

  • The removal of the funeral tributes is carried out before the Crematorium is opened to the public, as follows:
    • Service held on Monday, tributes removed 7am Thursday
    • Service held on Tuesday, tributes removed 7am Friday
    • Service held on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, tributes removed 7am Monday



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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 08 Jun 2017 at 09:41