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Tue December 05 2023

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West Lothian targets safety of memorials

11 Apr 19 West Lothian Council has announced that it is working on proposals to bring forward a safety policy for the tens of thousands of memorials and headstones in its area.

Memorials are the property of the lair holder - the owner of the exclusive right of burial in a lair – but the council has duty of care to ensure that its cemeteries are safe. This duty is expected to be reinforced by the Scottish government with the introduction of new regulations and guidance for burial ground management.

In advance of the Scottish government issuing guidance, the council's cemetery service has implemented an inspection programme and is in the process of developing a policy.

West Lothian Council said that, unlike other Scottish councils, is not increasing cemetery charges to pay for headstone stabilisation.

Executive councillor for the environment Tom Conn said: "There are approximately 30,000 memorials and headstones in West Lothian's cemeteries. The council continues to invest significant financial resources to ensure that the cemeteries and churchyards under council control are safe, fit for purpose and remain a respectful and historic reminder of residents of the area.

"Whilst the overall risk of serious injury or death in a cemetery due to the stability of a memorial is low, it is imperative that measures are taken to mitigate the risk and ensure a continuous and robust programme of inspection is in place."

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