A new range of measures to manage headstone safety will be taken forward by SBC following the completion of a pilot study examining the costs and resources required to undertake headstone re-erection works Borders-wide. The new approach will see SBC, in collaboration with local specialist stonemasons, develop a notification procedure including a standardised fee scale for repair works, enabling memorial owners to undertake reinstatement works.

Alongside this the Council is also incorporating new measures around Headstone testing and seeking to improve communication and future contact with lairholders.

This has been taken forward following analysis of a pilot study undertaken in Lennel Cemetery earlier this year to re-erect 52 headstones which were laid flat as part of the Council’s ongoing headstone safety programme.

Councillor John Greenwell, Executive Member for Roads Development and Maintenance said: “The Council’s headstone testing programme is an extremely emotive and complex subject. SBC does not have overall responsibility for repairing headstones but we do have a legal obligation to ensure our cemeteries are safe for people to use and work in.The pilot study undertaken at Lennel cemetery has shown that the funding and resources required to invest to ensure all headstones across the Borders are reinstated are prohibitive. Today’s move to progress a partnership approach to assist memorial owners will provide clarity and certainty up front, so that communities receive information as sensitively and timeously as possible, with clear points of contact.”