DEFRA Guidance Deactivated

DEFRA has issued the following note to local authority regulators:

As pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic begin to ease and mortality rates continue to decline, crematoria may no longer need to operate for increased hours. Therefore, Defra is notifying Local Authorities in England that the Emergency Clauses within the Process Guidance Notes for Crematoria (paragraphs 5.31-5.38) will be deactivated on 21st May 2021. This guidance was activated at the start of the pandemic as a preparedness measure to offer clarity for crematoria operators and regulators, encouraging them to prepare to handle the potential challenges of the coronavirus outbreak.


As you’ll be aware, the Crematoria process guidance note 5/2 (12) (and other notes in the series) are issued as statutory guidance in England and Wales under regulation 65 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) 2016. This guidance includes existing clauses (para 5.31-5.38) that can be triggered in the event of a national emergency giving rise to the possibility of mass fatalities. In such event, crematoria may need to operate for sustained periods. This means that there is a greater prospect of breakdown of equipment, including equipment for reducing air pollutant emissions. There could also be implications for staffing of crematoria.

The guidance provides advice to regulators and operators to mitigate the impact on air pollution of longer operating periods and provides clarity for regulators on the approach to enforcement action whilst the guidance is active.

Defra informed Local Authorities in England on 17th April 2020 of the activation of the Emergency Clauses within the Process Guidance Notes for Crematoria.

Action required

Following the deactivation of the Emergency Clauses, we would like to remind Local Authorities that all the other clauses in the Process Guidance Notes remain in effect. Therefore, Crematoria sites must continue to adhere to temperature control requirements and meet their Emission Limit Values (ELVs) through obligatory use of available abatement equipment, as set out in the Process Guidance Notes.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact DEFRA.