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Memorial Stability Testing

We conduct memorial safety checks in our cemeteries to make sure they are safe places for you to visit.

Where we'll be testing

Memorial safety checks are taking place in both Hatfield Hyde Cemetery and Welwyn. Each memorial headstone will be tested to make sure it's not at risk of falling over and injuring someone.

We will put up notices at each cemetery around a month before the checks are due to begin.

What does the test involve?

A specially trained member of staff will start by doing a visual inspection of the memorial, followed by a hand test.  This will involve pressure being applied to the memorial to check for movement. In some cases, a calibrated instrument will be used to test the memorials stability. In most cases, there will be no movement and a record will be kept that the memorial has passed the test. If the memorial moves it will fail the test.

What will happen to memorials that fail the test?

Memorials which are categorised as high risk will be laid flat and cordoned off by hazard tape.  A warning notice with instructions will be placed on the memorial.

Memorials which are found to be unstable but unlikely to cause immediate danger will have just a warning notice attached.

Where we have contact details a letter will be sent to the registered owner. Unfortunately some of our records are very old and we are expecting that some address details will be out of date so we will also place a notice near the memorial asking the owner to call the Council.

It is the responsibility of the grave owner, or their next of kin, to make sure that the memorial headstone is kept in a safe condition, so for those that fail the owner will be asked to get it repaired.

What to do if your memorial has failed the test

If your memorial has failed the safety test, you will need to contact a qualified stonemason to have it repaired. Please do not try to move or make repairs to the memorial yourself.

Once the repairs have been made, you will then need to contact us to approve the repairs. We will do this free of charge.

How often will the tests be done?

Memorials will be checked every five years. Memorials that have had repairs made will be re-inspected to check they have been made safe. Assuming that they pass, they will join the 5-year inspection cycle.

What you might notice in our cemeteries

When visiting our cemeteries, you may see our staff performing the safety check. During this time and beyond, you may notice that some of the memorial headstones have been supported or have been removed to be repaired.

How you can help

If you own a memorial headstone, please check that we have the correct contact details for you by calling 01707 357 000 or email cemeteryservices@welhat.gov.uk

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