Council to carry out churchyard safety checks
Shetland Islands Council will be carrying out safety assessments at cemeteries and churchyards over the next few months.
Any memorial which fails will have a green safety notice placed next to it.
If the memorial is judged to be dangerous, it will be re-fixed, staked and tied, or braced with wooden supports and cordoned off.
All Scottish local authorities have been instructed to carry out regular safety checks of memorials within their burial grounds, following a tragic accident in a Glasgow cemetery in which a child died.
“We need to be sure that our kirkyards are safe and secure places for families and individuals to visit, so this is extremely important work,” said councillor Robbie McGregor.
“The Council is responsible for 70 burial grounds. It is important that any repair work is carried out to a safe industry standard, so it must be completed by a stonemason who has been approved to do so.
“Finally, I’d like to reassure anyone who may find it difficult to fund any repairs that the Burial Service will do what they can to help – just get in touch.”
Mr McGregor has previously raised concerns about the safety of the Quarff Kirk.
Part of the south mainland churchyard has been sealed off due to its deteriorating condition, with loose slates falling off the roof being the main issue.
Responsibility for the maintenance of memorials lies with the lair holder or their representatives.
If you see a green safety notice next to your memorial, you should contact a stonemason who has been approved by the Council to complete repairs – you can find details of those online here as well as a Memorial Permit Application form which will need to be completed.
Burial Services can be contacted on 01595 744853 or 744898, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FAQs can be found here.