Burial ground memorial safety: local authority guidance

Guidance to assist local authorities meet their obligations to inspect and make safe memorials and headstones in local authority burial grounds.

Annex B: Terminology



Burial Authority

Defined in the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) 2016 Act as the person having responsibility for the management of a burial ground.

Burial Ground

Defined in the 2016 Act as meaning land used, or intended to be used, primarily for the burial of human remains and where a charge for burials is made. This definition also includes land that was, but is no longer, used primarily for the burial of human remains.

Burial Ground (Scotland) Regulations

Regulations made under the 2016 Act relating to burial. The relevant sections of the 2016 Act and its regulations will come into force during 2019/2020.


A non-statutory industry requirement set by The British Standards Institute and originally founded on the NAMM Code of Working Practice. Widely recognised, it is an example of industry approved guidelines which generally apply to all new and reinstated memorials.

Conservation Area

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Demolition of unlisted buildings or other structures within these areas may require Conservational Area Consent.


The act of burying human remains in a lair. This may be either within a coffin or cremated remains within a container e.g. an urn.


A grave/ plot within a burial ground.

Lair Owner

The owner of the right of burial in a grave/ plot, usually a family member of those interred.

Listed Buildings

Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Buildings are put into one of three listing categories according to their relative importance (A, B or C).


All forms of headstone or grave marker, of any size or type, within a burial ground.


The act of placing physical items on or around a graveside, including the memorial, by relatives or others. Most burial authorities have burial ground regulations which set out how objects may be placed and at what distance from a memorial.

Memorial Mason

An appropriately qualified and skilled individual able to produce, repair and erect memorials to the required standard.

Scheduled Monument

There are over 8000 scheduled monuments in Scotland, which are recognised as being of national importance and are legally protected to ensure they are preserved for future generations. Most works to Scheduled Monuments require Scheduled Monument Consent from Historic Environment Scotland.


Email: katrina.mcneill@gov.scot

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