Cemetery safety checks continue

The aftermath of a Scottish Borders Council survey at Coldingham cemetery is dozens of gravestones now lying flat.
The aftermath of a Scottish Borders Council survey at Coldingham cemetery is dozens of gravestones now lying flat.

The aftermath of headstone testing in Borders cemeteries has been challenging for Scottish Borders Council but the work continues.

In September they will turn their attention to cemeteries at Ayton, Duns (Preston Road), Old Eyemouth and Lennel “to make sure that anyone who visits or works in our 154 cemeteries is safe”.

However, after the criticism they received from their actions at Coldingham cemetery, SBC is making a greater effort to communicate with the public about what it is doing and why.

Signs will go up at each cemetery at least 28 days in advance of testing and they are developing a webpage – www.scotborders.gov.uk/headstonetesting – to provide frequently asked questions, background information and updates on the testing schedule. Another update will be given before the cemeteries are tested and posters and flyers will be available to provide more information. There is an article in the SBConnect magazine and social media messages and media releases will be also produced.

During the cemetery check, if a memorial is deemed unsafe it will be cordoned off and signage put in place; the family can arrange for the headstone to be made safe, otherwise the council will make it safe and if there is an immediate safety concern, the memorial will be made safe “as soon as possible”.

A council spokesperson said: “SBC is aware that this is a sensitive matter and will ensure the work is undertaken with due respect and only where absolutely necessary.”