New rules on fire alarms should be delayed, say Scottish Labour

·3-min read
Fire alarms will need to be interlinked under the new rules (PA) (PA Archive)
Fire alarms will need to be interlinked under the new rules (PA) (PA Archive)

The introduction of new rules requiring Scottish homes to be fitted with interlinked fire alarms should be delayed again, Scottish Labour has said.

From February 1, all homes will be required 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.

Labour says problems with the supply of the new alarms mean some homeowners will not be able to buy them before February 1.

The Sunday Post has also reported that some insurers may not cover homes unless the latest standards are met.

Shona Robertson, a partner with H&R Insurance, told the newspaper: “It will be the expectation that properties comply with the new legislation, and unfortunately failure to comply may jeopardise your claim.

“Insurance companies may be sympathetic to those who have yet to upgrade their system, but there is no guarantee.”

The Association of British Insurers said the new standards would be a matter for individual insurance companies.

In 2020, Holyrood decided to push back the introduction of new regulations to give homeowners more time to prepare.

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

MSPs have already pushed back the date for the new rules (Andrew Cowan/PA) (PA Media)
MSPs have already pushed back the date for the new rules (Andrew Cowan/PA) (PA Media)

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesman, Mark Griffin, said: “It is beyond ridiculous to plough ahead with this law change when people can’t even buy the equipment required.

“This policy has been plagued with problems from the start – but this is a new level of incompetence from the SNP.

“This adds to mounting concerns on everything from affordability and public awareness.

“The SNP’s failure to acknowledge the chaos engulfing this scheme is simply astounding.

“This was a chance to improve safety in millions of homes – but the SNP’s total lack of preparation has made it completely unworkable, leaving us with no option but to delay again.”

Work should be done within a reasonable period, taking particular circumstances into account

Scottish Government

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This legislation was introduced to protect lives and property following the tragic Grenfell fire, ensuring that all homes meet the same fire safety standards that we already expect in new-build properties and the private rental sector.

“We appreciate some homeowners may be concerned about being able to install interlinked alarms by 1 February.

“However, the new rules state the work should be done within a reasonable period, taking particular circumstances into account.

“This allows flexibility for homeowners unable to install alarms by this time.”

The spokesman continued: “Homeowners are generally responsible for paying for works to protect their property, but we know some may not be able to meet the cost of fitting these alarms.

“That is why we have provided £500,000 through Care and Repair Scotland to help disabled and older people to install alarms in their homes.

“This is in addition to the £1 million we have provided to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to install alarms in owner-occupied homes identified as being at highest risk.”

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