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.”

Unsafe memorial sign.

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 

FAQs can be found here.


Add Your Comment
  • Jim Brown

    • January 13th, 2020 14:50

    Surely a “This memorial has FAILED… ” notice should be red?

    Bairns who may not be of reading age, but who know about traffic lights, and those who left their specs at home, will very likely think a green notice means the structure is sound.

    • Shuard Manson

      • January 13th, 2020 17:35

      Unless they’re colour blind. It may just be the photo but it looks blue to me.

  • Mark Olson

    • January 19th, 2020 8:50

    “Any memorial which fails will have a green safety notice placed next to it. ”

    Green, not blue. And on my phone, it looks green as well.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.