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Crematorium to heat council swimming pool

'A bit strange and eerie', shudders funeral director

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If it gets approval for the scheme, Redditch will be the first UK council to warm swimmers with burning people power, but it's no pioneer in funerary energy recycling.

In 2009, the Taipei Mortuary Services Office invested in tech intended to convert heat from a suburban crematorium into electricity to power "a new air-conditioning system in the second-floor rest area".

Like Simon Thomas, Taipei City councillor Chuang Ruei-hsiung found the idea of reprocessing furnace output somewhat distasteful. He said: "It's creepy that the mourners are cooled by air-conditioning powered by the bodies of their relatives being burnt downstairs."

Residents of the Swedish town of Halmstad proved less sensitive back in 2008, when officials proposed cutting emissions from its crematorium by using the energy to heat homes.

Cemetery director Lennart Andersson explained: "It was when we were discussing all these environmental issues that we started thinking about the energy that is used in the cremations and realised that instead of all that heat just going up into the air, we could make use of it somehow. It was just rising into the skies for nothing." ®

In the same year, Manchester's Dukinfield Crematorium said it was looking into using furnace output to heat and light its chilly chapel. Local vicar Vernon Marshall approved: "As a final act of generosity, it's a lovely way for the dead to provide comfort for the living at a difficult time." ®

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