An angry coffin maker has criticised Eastbourne Crematorium after claiming it had done a U-turn and refused one of his designs.
Laurence Gill-Marshall said the papier-mache coffin with a chipboard base has undergone the relevant tests and been used at Eastbourne Crematorium before for a cremation last year so was shocked to find it now won’t accept it.
The 58-year-old said the eco-friendly design had been picked out by an Eastbourne resident who had already booked her funeral.
But Mr Gill-Marshall, known as LD Gill-Marshall, said he was told this week that it would be unable to be used but was unaware why and has called the decision ‘sick’.
He added, “This is something important, it’s paid for and the lady expects that coffin and they are saying no.
“It makes me feel sick. I care about the lady that has booked her funeral and now they are saying no.”
He has been making eco-friendly coffins for more than a decade.
His designs became of interest to fellow Bexhill residents Paul and Ann Webb, who set up the funeral directors First Steps. The small company is registered as a green funeral directors.
An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “After very careful consideration we have decided we can no longer accept coffins for cremation that are made from paper products such as papier maché and cardboard at the crematorium in Eastbourne.
“We understand that choosing a coffin is often an emotional task at a very difficult time.
“However, when cremated, papier maché and cardboard creates a residue which risks damaging our new filtration equipment, which has only recently been installed.
“We took this decision following a number of incidents with paper based products which produced excessive paper ash.
“During the cremation process, these materials combust differently to other products and have the potential to block flues at the crematorium and interfere with our new emission treatment and monitoring systems which ensure we meet stringent emission limits laid down by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
“We are aware that other crematoria have taken a similar decision.
“We are very sorry that our decision reduces the choice of coffins which are suitable for cremation but we are very happy to accept cardboard and Papier Maché coffins for burial in either of Eastbourne Borough Council’s cemeteries.”
The Herald understands the lady has now opted for a different coffin for her funeral.