Fire alarm rules will not be delayed again – minister

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The new alarms must be fitted by February (PA)
The new alarms must be fitted by February (PA)

New rules requiring all Scottish homes to have interlinked fire alarms will not be delayed again, the Housing Secretary has said.

From February 1, all homes will need to have linked alarms in living rooms as well as spaces such as hallways and landings.

The Scottish Government says the alarms can be installed within a “reasonable period” after this deadline.

Scottish Labour had called for the introduction of the new standards to be delayed, citing supply chain problems with the new alarms.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison updated MSPs on Wednesday.

She said: “There have been calls for a further delay to this legislation but, having considered the balance of risks, I am clear that it is not right to delay the legislation that is designed to protect and save lives.”

The rules were expected to come into place in February last year, however this was delayed due to the pandemic.

The legislation, which came about as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, already applies to rented property.

Shona Robison said ‘it is not right to delay legislation designed to protect and save lives’ (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA) (PA Archive)
Shona Robison said ‘it is not right to delay legislation designed to protect and save lives’ (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA) (PA Archive)

Ms Robison continued: “At an expected average cost of around £220, and often less, I hope these new fire alarm standards will be viewed as part of ongoing improvements for people who own their homes.

“One that will protect their property and importantly can save lives.

“I know, however, people are feeling the cost of living squeeze right now and might feel they do not have that money available.”

A sum of £1.5 million had been provided to the fire service for help with installation, she said, while councils have been told to take a “measured” approach to compliance.

Ms Robison also said insurers are not likely to ask policyholders about the specific standards of their smoke alarms.

Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin said he had been contacted by a “panicking” constituent who is worried their insurance will be invalidated because they cannot get the right alarms until March.

He repeated Labour’s call for a delay to the policy.

But the minister said: “I don’t believe that would be the right thing to do, because there’s already been a delay.

“At the end of the day what we’re talking about here are devices which have the potential to save lives.”

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