THERE will be a year’s delay to new rules on fire and smoke alarms in the home after a public backlash, a move that has been welcomed by Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville.

They were due to come in early next year but have now been pushed back to 2022, after growing concern about the cost, which would be at least £200 if self-installed, while some firms were asking for up to £600.

There were also fears that failure to install the alarms could invalidate people’s home insurance.

“I’m glad this issue has been swiftly resolved, following concerns from local constituents,” said Ms Somerville. “Legislation to allow the changes was already approved but it will obviously be difficult for some homeowners to organise the necessary work while restrictions are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Clearly, the pandemic has also had an impact on Scottish Government plans to make the public fully aware of the changes."

The legislation will see new rules on interlinked smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Every home would be required to have a a smoke alarm in the living room and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings, a heat alarm in every kitchen.

All alarms are to be ceiling mounted and interlinked while a carbon monoxide alarm would be mandatory where there are fixed combustion appliances such as boilers and wood burners However, after concerns that there had not been sufficient communication and warning for householders, housing minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that the Scottish Parliament will now be asked to approve a 12 month delay in the deadline to implement the changes.

Ms Somerville said: "It’s important to stress that the legal duty rests with each local authority to ensure homes in its area are meeting the standard. While homes that don’t have the right alarms won’t be meeting the safety standards, nobody will be breaking the law if they are unable to comply.

“Improving fire safety remains a key priority for the Scottish Government and additional alarms reduce the risk of injury and death.

“Over £15m of loan funding has been made available for social landlords to procure and install the necessary alarms, to help ensure that social tenants are safe in their homes.

“The Scottish Government has also provided additional funding of £870,000 for each of the last two years to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to support their home safety visits for vulnerable and high-risk individuals.”

One Dunfermline resident had contacted the Press to express concerns that the new regulations were to come into force in such a short period of time.

“While I agree with the objectives of the legislation, I have a number of concerns about the implementation,” he said. “The fact that the cost (several hundred pounds) will be borne by each household, many of whom will not be in a position to find this money during this current crisis and so close to Christmas and that no financial help is being made available for the disadvantaged.”

The short timescale and the lack of public awareness were also reasons he cited in calling for a delay to the introduction of the new regulations.