A ROLLING programme of inspection and maintenance of Copeland’s burial grounds and cemeteries is under way.
Copeland Council staff are inspecting headstones in all 17 of its open and closed cemeteries to ensure they are stable and pose no risk to the public and colleagues who work there.
The council's inspections across all its sites will now run on a continuous basis which ensures that every headstone is checked at least every five years, as per Ministry of Justice guidance, with more regular inspections implemented in areas that require them.
Notices have been placed at the cemeteries’ entrances informing visitors that the inspection is taking place. The cemeteries will remain open as normal throughout the inspections.
In the event any memorials are found to have become unstable and give cause for concern, the council will endeavour to contact family members so they can arrange for any remedial work to be carried out. Whilst arrangements are being made to contact family members, a small notice will be placed on or close to the memorial which will include council contact details.
Where the council is unable to contact family members, (this is usually due to the age of the memorial, and the passage of time or families changing address), the council will take responsibility for any remedial work required to make the memorial safe.
James Hunter, Copeland’s Parks and Open Spaces Manager, said: “This planned rolling programme of inspections and maintenance will reassure visitors to our cemeteries that we take public safety very seriously.
“The inspections are being carried out with the utmost of care and respect and will in no way impede on public accessibility or use of the cemetery.
“If there is an imminent risk or danger, we may need to install temporary fencing to cordon off the area of risk. We apologise in advance if this may appear unsightly but our key aim is to identify and cordon off areas of risk until a repair or remedial action can be put in place.”
For further information, contact Copeland Council’s Bereavement Services team on 01946 830561.