Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Chelmer Valley temporary mortuary decommissioning

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The temporary mortuary at Chelmer Valley, outside Chelmsford is to be taken down.

It was built in case there were more deaths during the coronavirus pandemic than hospitals and funeral directors in Essex, Southend and Thurrock could cope with.

The Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) has managed the countywide work around the greater-Essex fight against Covid-19 and established the site at the park and ride.

One of the joint chairs of the forum, Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington, said:
"The combined work across greater Essex from those working in the NHS, in care homes and as carers, has meant that this county has not seen the worst possible impact of this dreadful disease coming to pass so this means the necessary preparations at the Chelmer Valley Park and Ride site have not been needed.

"Sadly people across our county have lost their lives to this awful virus and I would like to extend my sympathies to their relatives on behalf of the ERF.

"I would also like to say thank you for the professionalism of colleagues including our funeral directors, crematoria and the NHS in ensuring we have, and will continue to have a compassionate, respectful and effective system to look after and lay to rest the victims of this virus in Essex.

"While this site will be decommissioned, our need to be alert to the risk of the virus remains. The temporary mortuary was built so we were ready for the worst. I am relieved we haven't needed it, and that's thanks to the efforts of everyone, including those health and care workers and everyone who has pulled together to protect each other and save lives."

The site has been on standby since 27 April but has not been needed. 

Essex County Council commissioned the temporary mortuary as part of the emergency plan for responding to the pandemic. It was set up at the closed park and ride site at Chelmer Valley. Specialist disaster recovery firm, Kenyon International built the space and was ready to run it if needed.

It will be taken down by the end of June.

Chelmer Valley and the other park and ride sites are currently closed until the end of June. A decision on when they can re-open is expected to be made this month. This will be informed by the latest guidance on social distancing and travel as well as the latest situation and progress towards recovery in Greater Essex.

Page last updated 4 June, 2020

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