The Scottish Government “failed miserably to prepare the public” for a new fire safety law that requires all homes in Scotland to have interlinked smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The comments come as Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed in a letter to MSPs that he will seek the agreement of the Scottish Parliament to delay the implementation of the legislation by a year until 2022.
The new rules were supposed to be introduced in February 2021 and are estimated would cost households between £200- £300.
Commenting on the delay, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “It’s important to remember that these measures are being introduced to save lives following the dreadful Grenfell Tower tragedy. They were first outlined in 2018 and agreed by Parliament at the beginning of 2019, so for the Scottish Government to blame COVID19 for the decision to delay their introduction is pretty lame. They have simply failed miserably to prepare the public for the new rules.
“I’ve been contacted by a number of constituents who knew nothing about the new rules until they got a leaflet in the last week or so because there has been no publicity from the Scottish Government since the law was agreed nearly two years ago. I’ve even had constituents who fitted new alarms recently but because they aren’t linked, they will have to buy new ones.
“Now we have this delay, the Scottish Government needs to get its act together and deliver a proper public awareness campaign and provide support to low income families to implement these measures.
“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to try to fit new alarms that meet the rules as soon as they can and ideally not wait a year.”
Under the new rules all homes must ensure they have a ceiling-mounted smoke alarms in their living room, hallways and landings and all kitchens must have a heat alarm.
Of vital importance is the fact that the system must be interlinked, either through fixed wiring or through a wireless system, which would mean that if one alarm is activated it will trigger the other alarms. In addition, a carbon monoxide alarm must also be fitted where there is a fuel burning appliance or a flue.