Headstone stabilisation example

Headstone stabilisation programme resumes in Moray

Moray Council is resuming its inspection of headstones in cemeteries across the region from March 2022.

The work ensures that cemeteries are safe places for visitors, staff and anyone working in them, following a pause in inspections during the covid-19 pandemic.

While responsibility for the overall safety within a cemetery lies with the Burial Authority (Moray Council), the owner of the memorial is responsible for maintaining the memorial in a safe condition.

Inspections should not prevent public access or use of the cemeteries, which will remain open throughout, and will be carried out with the greatest of respect and sensitivity.

Moray Council Open Spaces Manager, James Hunter, said: “Our staff have completed refresher training to check the headstones in our cemeteries and will be carrying out this work on an ongoing basis across Moray.

“Members of the public are free to approach staff while they’re in cemeteries if they have any questions, we just remind people not to do so while an inspection is being carried out, for safety reasons.

“We’ll be in touch with any lair owners should we find any issues following this sensitive safety work and ask that the discreet safety signage and cordons are not removed until headstones have been made safe.”

Moray Council has issued a video detailing the inspection process, it can be viewed online.

Initial inspection assesses the condition of the memorial by carrying out a gentle ‘hand test’ to check for any movement. If the memorial headstone shows no signs of instability a record is made of the inspection having been carried out and the headstone recorded as safe.

If the memorial headstone is found to be unstable and imminently dangerous it will be made safe by the trained memorial safety team. The Council will try to notify the lair holder so they can decide to either leave the stone in its made safe position or to have it repaired at their cost by a suitably trained memorial mason.

Where a memorial is found to be unstable but not imminently dangerous, the Council will try to notify the lair holder by writing to them at the last known address.  In these cases it may be necessary to place a discreet cordon in the area around the headstone for safety reasons. If no action is taken after a maximum period of 12 months, arrangements will be made to make the headstone safe. In the event that the Council cannot make contact with the lair holder every effort will be made to make the memorial safe, usually by trenching the headstone up to one third of its height if it is feasible to do so.

Further information can be obtained by emailing landsandparks@moray.gov.uk, leaflets are also available in cemeteries.

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office