Cost of cremation soars in UK, now averages £640


UK – Cremating an adult costs an average of £640 now, compared with £480 five years ago, with local councils blaming the rise on

new environmental laws.

The average cost of a cremation in the UK has soared by a third since 2010 as a result of a “drastic increase” in running and operational costs, according to official figures obtained by the BBC.

An adult cremation now costs an average of £640 – up from £480 five years ago, according to freedom of information responses from local authorities that run crematoriums.

Operators blamed the cost of installing equipment to comply with new legislation on pollution. But critics claimed that crematoriums are being run inefficiently and say there should be more transparency in the costs.

More than 170 local authorities run at least one crematorium. In other areas they are operated by private firms.

Dominic Maguire, of the National Association of Funeral Directors which represents more than 80% of funeral directors in the UK, said that the BBC figures highlighted how bereaved families were continuing to be hit in the pocket by disbursement costs levied by local authorities.

“We are concerned about the rising cost of disbursements, which are outside funeral directors’ control, and have raised the issue at government level,” he said.

“Along with sharp price rises in burial and cremation fees imposed by local authorities, estate management costs have risen by 39% since 2013, whereas a survey by the NAFD last year showed that funeral directors have worked hard to keep their own costs down with only a 3.5% rise in the cost of their services in the past year.”

Charles Cowling, author of the Good Funeral Guide, told the BBC that the prices were “absurdly high” because crematoriums were being run “grotesquely inefficiently”. He said the energy used to cremate a person cost £15 at most, but prices rose when staff and maintenance were factored in.

However, Tim Morris from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management said most crematorium managers had had to pay between £1m and £3m to upgrade equipment to comply with new environmental rules.

“Costs to cremation authorities have increased drastically,” he said. “Crematoria have had to replace all their equipment to comply with changes in environmental legislation, the latest being additional equipment to filter pollutants from the waste gases.”

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Cremations are not run to make a profit, but meeting the standards bereaved families expect requires continual investment in chapels of rest, grounds maintenance and equipment. Meeting environmental targets for crematoria from 2012 has meant local authorities have also had to fit expensive abatement equipment over the last few years.”



Also see the BBC articles for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the breakdown of costs by local authority.