The new law requiring interlinked smoke alarms in all houses in Scotland, and carbon monoxide detectors wherever there is a carbon fuelled appliance, will come into force on 1 February 2022, the Scottish Government has confirmed.
Housing Secretary Shona Robison told the Parliament that despite calls for a further delay, it was not right to delay legislation that was designed to save and protect lives.
The legislation, which amends the tolerable standard for domestic properties, was proposed following the Grenfell Tower fire in London and introduced following public consultation. It was originally to come into force in February 2021 but postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions affecting the rate of installation.
Fears have since been expressed that many people are unable to afford the installation cost at the present time, while being worried that not having alarms will invalidate their house insurance. However Ms Robison said the Association of British Insurers had stated that, although insurers might ask customers questions about whether their property is fitted with working fire alarms, "they are not likely to ask questions about specific standards. Anyone who is unclear on their policy terms and conditions in relation to the new law should speak to their insurer".
She also said that local authorities, which have the duty to ensure compliance with the standards in their area, would be adopting "a proportionate and measured approach" to compliance, taking individual circumstances into account. "I can be absolutely clear that there are no penalties for non-compliance and that no one will be penalised if they need more time, although I strongly encourage all home owners to make the changes and benefit from the improved protection against loss of life and property in the event of a fire", she added.
Opposition members claimed that costs were higher, and public awareness lower, than the figures given by the minister, and that availability was scarce at present.