Whilst memorials are the property of the lair holder, under the terms of legislation, the council has a Duty of Care to ensure that it's 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. The Scottish Government had intimated that the guidance for local authorities on memorial safety would be released last year but has been delayed until this summer.
In advance of the Scottish Government issuing Guidance on Memorial Safety, the council's cemetery service have implemented a robust inspection programme and are in the process of developing a policy. The policy will be finalised once the Scottish Government guidance has been issued to local authorities and will be presented to a future meeting of the Environment PDSP.
Unlike other Scottish councils, West Lothian Council 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."