New smoke alarm laws are delayed by a year

Michael Russell MSP

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New legislation which requires all homes in Scotland to have interlinked smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be delayed until 2022.

The moves followed criticism from Age Scotland and opposition politicians over the lack of public awareness.

The new measures, which would cost an estimated £220 for an average three-bedroom home, were due to come into force in February next year. The Scottish Government said MSPs would now be asked to approve a 12-month delay.

Welcoming the news, MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell, said ‘Fire safety is an absolute priority for all of us, and these improved regulations will mean that everyone in Argyll and Bute will benefit from the same level of protection, whether they own their home or rent from a social or private landlord.

However, given the impact of Covid-19, and the difficulties this legislation was likely to cause for people seeking to install new alarms, it’s welcome that the Scottish Government has listened to concerns and decided to ask the Scottish Parliament to delay the deadline by 12 months.

‘As MSP for Argyll and Bute, I will continue to look closely at ensuring people have the support, information and advice they need to make changes in advance of the new standards coming into force in February 2022.’

Under the new legislation all home owners and landlords must ensure they have a ceiling-mounted smoke alarms in their living room, hallways and landings.

All kitchens must have a heat alarm and, crucially, the system must be interlinked, either through fixed wiring or a wireless system. This means if one alarm is activated it will trigger the others. Finally, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted where there is a fuel burning appliance or a flue.

If a homeowner is unable to fit their own system then they will need to pay the additional cost of a electrician.

The legislation was introduced in February 2019 following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which claimed 72 lives.

Speaking before the announcement, Adam Stachura of Age Scotland said: ‘The big concern that we have is that we have lost a year in the planning for this as a result of coronavirus.’

The charity said it has received many calls from concerned older people, who are wary of getting work carried out in their home during the pandemic.