Temporary mortuary facility to be built in Lancashire
Friday, November 13, 2020
A temporary mortuary facility is being constructed as a contingency measure to ensure Lancashire is prepared to cope with a significant increase in bereavements over the winter in response to the current rise in coronavirus cases.
The temporary mortuary for storage of deceased persons will ensure that the county is well placed to respond to deaths caused by the second wave of the pandemic whilst ensuring the deceased continue to be treated with dignity and respect before they are laid to rest.
The facility with the capacity to house up to 210 deceased will be constructed on the car park of the Farington Environmental Education Centre at Lancashire Enterprise Business Park near Leyland.
It will ensure the county is prepared for a potential increase in demand from the Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool areas.
Lancashire County Council is leading on the construction of the facility, which is due to be built in the coming week. A larger temporary mortuary, which fortunately never had to be used, was built and later decommissioned at BAE Systems during the first wave of the pandemic. The new facility will be made up of three mobile buildings of a type most commonly used to add capacity at hospitals. Local authorities have been offered them by government as part of the nationwide response to the pandemic.
County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "I hope this facility will never need to be used and that we'll be able to cope without it as we did during the first wave of the pandemic.
"However, we can't predict what will happen over the winter and it's vital that we're prepared in order to ensure the deceased are treated decently and with respect.
"We have taken the Government up on the offer of having this facility on standby and, by siting it at the Environmental Education Centre, we can ensure it is secure and available for as long as we might need it at little cost.
"The best way to reduce the numbers of deaths in Lancashire is for everyone to protect their community, the NHS and to follow the guidance during lockdown."
The council is also working with funeral directors across Lancashire to explain how the facility will work if it is needed.
Please note, LCC has referred to this as a temporary mortuary. LCC means this in the commonly-understood sense of the word as a place to keep the deceased until they can be laid to rest. LCC does not mean this in the legislative sense, which means the facility must be licensed under the Human Tissue Act, and activities such as post-mortem examinations will not be carried out at the facility.