BOLTON Council is being urged to install new technology to filter out harmful gas from emissions from its crematorium.

Borough Green Party spokesman Alan Johnson and Crompton Labour councillor Martin McMulkin believe the equipment should be fitted soon.

New research has shown only a handful of the UK's 307 funeral incinerators are fitted with special deNOx devices to remove toxic nitrogen oxide fumes produced by the chipboard and fibreboard used in 95 per cent of coffins.

But Bolton’s council-run Overdale crematorium is not fitted with the technology although two of its cremators are fitted with mercury abatement devices unlike many others across the UK.

Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit has discovered that only nine per cent of the 198 run by local authorities have the equipment amid rising numbers of cremations and growing concern about the contribution of the gases produced to air pollution.

Now Mr Johnson and Cllr McMulkin, who last year successfully moved a motion at Bolton Council to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and set up a related Citizen’s Assembly, are calling for its installation.

Earlier this week The Bolton News revealed new research which estimated that air pollution contributed to 110 deaths in Bolton in 2018.

Mr Johnson said: “I am very concerned about this and the harmful effects of air pollution in Bolton.

“The council should be fitting this deNOx equipment as a matter of urgency. It is a simple step to take to start to improve air quality in the town.”

Cllr McMulkin said: “This is an issue that has crept in under the radar.

“It is precisely what a Citizens Assembly should be discussing if the council set one up.

“I am very concerned about this - the incineration of chipboard and fibreboard coffins creates as much air pollution as thousands of cars.

“It costs about £30,000 to fit this equipment and Bolton Council should install it as a matter of urgency.”

A Bolton Council spokeswoman said: “Our crematorium meets all industry standards for safe emissions and there is no legal requirement to fit this equipment. We will continue to monitor the situation but have no plans to have the equipment installed unless legislation changes.”