Memorial inspection programme gets underway

Shetland Islands Council will soon be carrying out safety assessments at cemeteries and churchyards across the isles, continuing an ongoing programme of memorial inspections.

Any memorial which fails and is in need of repair, will have a green safety notice placed next to it.  Any memorials also assessed as unstable or dangerous, will normally be braced with wooden supports or cordoned off.

Responsibility for repairs to memorials lies with the lair holder or their representatives, who should contact a Council-approved memorial stonemason to carry out these repairs and obtain a Memorial Permit before repairs take place. 

Details of how to apply for a Memorial Permit can be found on the Council’s website at or by contacting Burial Services on 01595 744853 or 744898, or email

All local authorities in Scotland have the responsibility to ensure that burial grounds are safe places for people to visit and for staff to work.  Following a tragic accident in 2018, when a child died in a Glasgow cemetery as a result of a toppled headstone, guidance was issued to ensure that regular safety checks are carried out on memorials in burial grounds across the country. 

Shetland Islands Council is responsible for 70 burial grounds in Shetland and will continue memorial inspections in local cemeteries and churchyards.  As this work progresses, the completed survey status will be published online at

SIC environment and transport committee chairwoman Moraig Lyall said: “These inspections are important to ensure that our burial grounds continue to be safe places for families and individuals to visit.

“Any repair work must be carried out to a safe industry standard, so must be completed by an approved stonemason.  Anyone who may find it difficult to fund repairs should discuss this with our Burial Services staff and we will do what we can to help.”


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