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UK crematoria eye heavyweight incinerators

Coffins growing with the nation's waistlines

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The UK's crematoria are struggling to cope with the nation's oversized corpses, the BBC reports.

According to the Local Government Association, the nation's growing levels of obesity mean many cremators simply cannot accomodate the wider coffins required to dispatch the deceased to the hereafter, and local councils are footing the bill for bigger incinerators.

Standard coffins are between 16 and 20 inches, but 40-inch monster caskets are "becoming increasingly common". Accordingly, any council with a commodious cremator has found people travelling from far and wide to dispose of their loved ones.

In Lanarkshire, for example, a new 41-inch wide cremator has been "dealing with the funerals of obese people from all over Scotland". London's Lewisham council, meanwhile, has just ordered a 44-inch cremator from the US, and "has taken coffins from as far away as the West Midlands and Gloucester".

Tim Morris, chief executive of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, explained: "The institute has received calls from funeral directors from all parts of the country whose local crematorium is unable to cremate large coffins. The likelihood is that a large number of facilities will be upgraded to meet these requirements with some taking this opportunity to install a larger cremator."

The LGA's Hazel Harding said: "As long as the nation keeps on piling on the pounds, pressure will continue to be placed on crematoria. This is just another demonstration of how the UK's obesity problem is putting a real strain on public services.

"The death of a loved one is always a difficult time and having to decamp to another area for the cremation just adds to the ordeal. It is important that grieving relatives get the service they deserve and councils are doing what they can to accommodate larger clients locally." ®

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