ACTION is being urged to cut pollution from local crematoria damaging air quality.

One firm which runs three local crematoria says it is actively considering putting in new anti-pollution equipment.

Some local funeral directors are also helping by offering environmentally-friendly coffins.

But the vast majority of cremations continue to use standard coffins, and concern is growing that people are unaware the chipboard used gives off a noxious gas, Nitrous Oxide (NOx), when burnt.

It is estimated that cremations using these coffins are causing as much pollution as if 3,650 cars drove past during the course of a cremation.

Only a tiny handful of the 300 or so crematoria across the country are fitted with equipment that massively reduces NOx.

There are none locally, but the Dignity company which runs the Telford, Shrewsbury and Stourport crematoria are considering it.

The other crematorium most commonly used by Ludlow and Tenbury funeral directors is Hereford, owned by the local council.

Together those four crematoria handle just short of 6,500 services a year.

Campaigners say the issue has ‘gone under the radar’ and the Green party says families should be given more information about environmentally-friendly choices when saying goodbye to a loved one.

A spokesman said: “Ironically, people with stoves and log burners are advised against burning chipboard due to the toxic fumes it produces, yet this is precisely what is happening with funerals.”

Local funeral directors report a growing interest from families in ‘green’ funerals. Many offer funerals using materials like wicker, willow or seagrass.

Funeral director Linda Dawson at Craven Arms estimated that about 10%-15% of families were deciding on environmentally-friendly services, although she said most of those were burials, not cremations.

“The number is definitely growing.”