Scottish National Party derided over fire alarm 'shambles'

Labour councillors in North Lanarkshire have blasted new home fire alarm rules, saying older and disabled people and low-income families are struggling to comply.

Fire alarm
Fire alarm

Every Scottish home is now required to have interlinked fire alarms with many households also needing carbon monoxide alarms.

Scottish ministers have refused to delay the implementation of the new rules and insisted that there will be “light touch” enforcement while critics of the legislation say many people are yet to make the required changes which can cost hundreds of pounds and home insurance premiums may also be affected.

North Lanarkshire Council’s community safety convener Angela Campbell said: “It’s a shambles.

" SNP ministers are failing older and vulnerable people by stubbornly pushing ahead with this botched fire alarm law. Councillors across North Lanarkshire are being inundated by anxious residents worried about the potential ramifications of failing to adhere to this law due to these shortages.

“It is not good enough for the SNP to simply say that regulation of these changes will be ‘light touch.’ If they want this roll-out to go ahead they have to provide the funding and support necessary alongside a more realistic timetable. Only then will our residents be reassured that they are not breaking the law through no fault of their own.”

However the SNP group’s communities spokesman, Councillor Danish Ashraf said: “It is now over three years since the new regulations on smoke detectors were unanimously agreed by all parties in the Scottish Parliament, with the implementation date already delayed a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic so I’m not sure how Labour can claim that we are working within unreasonable timelines

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"The fact is, these changes are crucial for the safety of people in North Lanarkshire.

“Ministers acknowledged that not everyone will be ready and have publicly stated that there will be no enforcement initially.

"Anyone who is struggling with the cost of installing these life-saving devices should contact the council or the fire service.”

The Scottish Government confirmed on Sunday that extra funding would be made available to meet costs.