Further statutory testing of memorial stones at Thornbury Cemetery will commence in October. This testing involves a very specific amount of force being applied onto memorial stones and if any movement is detected, the plot owner is contacted to let them know what they need to do next. In some instances, the staff must carefully lay down the stone to prevent a potential hazard to users of the cemetery. Our staff at the Cemetery are fully trained in the appropriate process by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.
As a burial authority, we are legally obliged to carry out this testing. There have been instances at other cemeteries of injury and even death, as a result of loose memorial stones falling over onto Cemetery visitors, which is why the Government put this legislation in place. We understand completely that families may be very upset if a memorial stone needs to be laid down, but we would like to reassure people that this is done very carefully, and we are following government legislation at all times. We will write to any plot owners whose memorial stones fail the testing and are very happy to talk to them about the process and help to guide them through what they need to do next. Unfortunately, many plot owners are not aware that once a memorial stone is put in place, both they, and we, continue to have legal responsibilities for it.
Further information on the legal requirements relating to this process can be found in the Ministry of Justice document entitled “Managing the Safety of Burial Ground Memorials” which can be found on our website by scanning the QR code below, or by visiting the following document: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/326725/safety-burial-grounds.pdf
Thornbury Town Council is asking that any concerned plot owners contact the Town Hall rather than talking to Cemetery staff who have unfortunately experienced some abusive behaviour when carrying out this testing in the past.