Planet Ice in Milton Keynes Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Planet Ice in Milton Keynes may be used as a temporary mortuary

Work has begun to turn an ice rink into a temporary mortuary that would be capable of holding hundreds of bodies.

Planet Ice in Milton Keynes may be needed if funeral directors are unable to cope with the rise in coronavirus-related deaths.

In Madrid a major ice rink, the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace), is in use as a temporary mortuary.

A Milton Keynes Council spokesman said: “We’re working with the owners to ready the rink as a precaution.”

He said ice rinks could be adapted into mortuaries faster and more effectively than other buildings.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Roads around the ice rink were closed by Milton Keynes Council

Council leader Peter Marland said the authority was keeping the 2,800 capacity ice rink open to ensure the venue remains at the correct temperature.

He said work to convert the rink would take “a matter of days” and the venue could hold bodies “in the hundreds”.

“We have been planning for a while around capacity as we picked up quite early that it could be an issue for us,” he said.

“We only have one crematorium and the next nearest one is in Wing.

“If the worst is to happen we wanted to make sure that that person and their family had as much dignity as possible.”

Council workmen have already closed off roads and footpaths around the building, which is in the Leisure Plaza in central Milton Keynes.

Work to turn part of Birmingham Airport into a mortuary able to store at least 1,500 bodies has begun.

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