We are currently rolling out an on-going programme of memorial safety checks in our cemeteries to make sure they are safe places for you to visit. The programme is being introduced following a number of accidents, including some that have been fatal, that have occurred across the country in recent years.
Where we'll be testing
Memorial safety checks are taking place in all our cemeteries. Each memorial headstone will be tested to make sure it's not at risk of falling over and injuring someone.
We will put up notices at each cemetery around a month before the checks are due to begin. Check progress with our
What does the test involve?
A specially trained member of staff will start by doing a visual inspection of the memorial, followed by a hand test. This will involve pressure being applied to the memorial to check for movement. In most cases, there will be no movement and a record will be kept that the memorial has passed the test. If the memorial moves it will fail the test.
Our specialist staff will be on hand to talk about the ‘memorial safety check programme’. The team will answer any questions you might have and demonstrate how the checks are performed.
What will happen to memorials that fail the test?
A metal support, or in some instances a wooden support will be applied to the memorial to secure it until it can be repaired. Wherever possible the support will be positioned to the rear of the headstone, it will only be fitted at the front if:
- another memorial is immediately behind the headstone that needs to be supported meaning there is not sufficient room to fit it.
- the base stone of the memorial is so large that the support cannot be positioned close enough
- the lean angle on the memorial is such that the strain on the memorial would be too great
Examples of a headstones supported at the front and back are shown in the pictures to the right.
It is the responsibility of the grave owner, applicant, or their next of kin, to make sure that the memorial headstone is kept in a safe condition, so for those that fail the owner will be asked to get it repaired.
Where we have contact details a letter will be sent to the registered owner. Unfortunately some of our records are very old and we are expecting that some address details will be out of date so we will also place a notice near the memorial asking the owner to call the Council.
What to do if your memorial has failed the test
If your memorial has failed the safety test, you will need to contact a qualified stonemason to have it repaired. Please do not try to move or make repairs to the memorial yourself.
Once the repairs have been made, you will then need to contact us to approve the repairs. We will do this free of charge.
Metal supports applied to front and rear|
Wooden supports applied to the rear of the memorial |
Wooden supports applied to the front of the memorial |
How often will the tests be done?
Memorials will be checked every five years. Memorials that have had repairs made will be re-inspected to check they have been made safe. Assuming that they pass, they will join the 5-year inspection cycle.
What you might notice in our cemeteries
When visiting our cemeteries, you may see our staff performing the safety check. During this time and beyond, you may notice that some of the memorial headstones have been supported or have been removed to be repaired.?
How you can help
If you own a memorial headstone, please check that we have the correct contact details for you by calling 01924 307446.