Articles & Features

Smoke and Heat Alarms in Homes (New Law FAQs)

The Scottish Government have introduced new regulations via The Scottish Parliament on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all homes.

Legislation due to come into effect will mean that the standards which currently apply to private rented property and new-builds will also eventually be extended to all homes in Scotland.

The following article is replicated from The Scottish Parliament Information Website
(Source Link at the foot of this page)

‘SPICe has received a number of enquiries on forthcoming changes to the law for smoke and heat alarms in homes. This blog addresses some of the most common questions received, including the types of alarms covered, costings and enforcement.

First, it should be noted that the changes for smoke and heat are due to come into force on 1 February 2021. However, in a statement published on 20 October 2020, the Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the Scottish Government will ask the Scottish Parliament to delay the new standard by 12 months:

“Given the impact of COVID-19, and the difficulties this is likely to create for people seeking to install new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, we have listened to concerns and decided to ask the Scottish Parliament to delay implementation.”


Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the Scottish Government established a Ministerial Working Group to review Scotland’s building and fire safety regulatory frameworks. After a public consultation on fire and smoke alarms in homes, the Scottish Government announced its intention to strengthen the current standards in place for smoke and heat alarms in March 2018.

These measures, set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criterion) Order 2019, were agreed by the Scottish Parliament in January 2019. The Order extends the definition of the tolerable standard for housing to include:

  • satisfactory equipment installed for detecting, and for giving warning of, fire or suspected fire
  • satisfactory equipment installed for detecting, and for giving warning of, carbon monoxide present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.

A dwelling that falls below the Tolerable Standard is considered to be unfit for human habitation.

What are the changes?

The Scottish Government states that every home in Scotland must be fitted with the following:

one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge)
one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
one heat alarm installed in every kitchen
a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances such as boilers and wood burners.

All alarms must be ceiling mounted and interlinked.

The new standards for heat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms extend those which currently apply in the private rented sector to all housing types. To support implementation of these changes, the Scottish Government published a factsheet providing further information on the new standards for different types of housing.

Which alarms are compliant with the new standard?

The Tolerable Standard Guidance for satisfactory fire and carbon monoxide detection provides a definition for each of the above alarms, alongside the standards that any installed alarm should conform to. Alarms can be either mains powered (with battery backup) or use long-life lithium batteries.

Mains-wired alarms will require to be installed by an electrician and may require a building warrant for flats.

Who is responsible for implementing the standards?

All homeowners and landlords are responsible for ensuring their properties meet the new standards. These changes will be the minimum standard for safe houses.

How much will these changes cost for property owners?

The Scottish Government estimates the cost for an average three-bedroom house which requires three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector to be around £220. Any costs will be the responsibility of home owners and landlords.

Through the Scheme of Assistance, local authorities have discretionary powers to provide assistance to homeowners (usually those who are unable to cover the cost of repairing and maintaining their homes) which can be in the form of information, advice, guidance or practical assistance. It is for a local authority to decide what kind of help should be provided in different circumstances, and this will be subject to local priorities and budgets.

How will these standards be enforced?

Enforcement in the Private Rented Sector, where the standard is already in place, is undertaken by the right of tenants to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). Penalties for non-compliance are determined by the Tribunal.

In the social housing sector, the standard is to be monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator, who may intervene as they deem appropriate for any non-compliance.

For homeowners, the Scottish Government states that “the legal duty on complying with the legislation will rest with local authorities and not with individual householders.”

Local authorities have a number of statutory powers to require owners to carry out work on substandard housing. In some cases, the powers allow local authorities to carry out the necessary work and recharge this to the owner. However, this entails upfront costs and resources for the local authority.

Statistics suggest that the use of discretionary powers in housing legislation, for example, maintenance orders, are rarely used.

In the tolerable standard guidance, the Scottish Government advises that any such intervention is expected to be “proportionate, rational and reasonable.” The guidance also advises that:

“Local authorities are to consider the cost of any intervention alongside the cost of assisting owners to bring their property up to the minimum standard for satisfactory fire detection. As a general rule it is preferable that owners should carry out necessary works on a voluntary basis rather than as a result of enforcement action.”

The powers may also be applied to housing in the social or private rented tenures.

What is the Scottish Government doing to raise awareness of these changes?

The Scottish Government have advised there will be information on which alarms to buy to meet the standard available at point of sale in retailers such as B&Q, Screwfix as well as online retailers like Amazon.

A social media campaign involving the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), retailer and alarm providers is expected to launch in due course. A Scottish Government-approved leaflet by alarm manufacturer AICO is being distributed.

In the Scottish Government’s announcement on the proposed delay to the changes, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart stated:

“If this delay is approved, we will continue to work with partners to spread awareness of the changes before the new deadline. Our focus will be on supporting householders to ensure satisfactory fire alarms are installed so we can improve the safety of their homes.”

How will the COVID-19 restrictions affect alarm installations?

On 9 July 2020, the Scottish Government announced the move to Phase 3 of the Route Map from Lockdown, permitting tradespeople to enter properties in order to undertake jobs such as alarm fittings.

Any work taking place in people’s homes is dependent on both the occupants and tradesperson being well and not showing coronavirus symptoms, and providing that no person in the household is self-isolating.

The tradesperson undertaking the work must observe social distancing, use appropriate and proportionate protective equipment (including a face covering) and follow the guidance on sanitation.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning wrote to social landlords in July 2020, setting out that landlords should use best endeavours to meet the February 2021 deadline. Where that is not possible then they must have a remedial plan in place for meeting the standard which should be complete by 1 May 2021 at the latest.’

Alisdair Grahame, Enquiries Officer

Article Source:

Related Links:

What homeowners need to know about changes in legislation relating to fire and smoke alarms.

Fire and smoke alarms: tolerable standard guidance

UPDATE 23 Oct 2020:

The New Laws are likely to be delayed in implementation until Feb 2022 due to Corona Virus.

Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland will always uphold international law

In the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “This pandemic is not a war. Nations are not against other nations, soldiers against other soldiers. It is a test of our humanity.”

These have been indeed the most testing of times for people in Europe and across the world.

We are facing a global public health and economic crisis the like of which we have not seen in our lifetimes. No country, certainly in Europe, can tackle the pandemic alone. Given the speed and extent of transmission it is true to say that none of us will be safe until all of us are safe.

In the midst of this emergency, which more than ever demands international co-operation, Scotland is having to cope with the prospect of another crisis — leaving the Brexit transition period at the end of the year with either a thin agreement on a future relationship or no deal at all.

The Scottish government repeatedly pressed the U.K. prime minister to extend the transition period because of the pandemic but he refused to do so. That means we now have less than three months to adjust to an entirely new relationship with the EU.

In that time, the U.K. government intends to pass its Internal Market bill which will breach international law and which is also fundamentally incompatible with the principles and practice of devolution, key parts of the U.K.’s constitutional arrangements.

There’s a marked difference between that bill and the development of the European single market which has been based on cooperation, co-decision, subsidiarity and consent, and setting a baseline of minimum agreed standards.

By contrast, the terms of the U.K. Internal Market bill will oblige Scotland to accept standards of regulation unilaterally set by Westminster, whatever they might be. It therefore effectively allows U.K. ministers to legislate for Scotland in devolved policy areas, such as environmental standards, and could hinder our commitment to remain as closely aligned as possible with the EU.

The Scottish parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to withhold consent for the bill. Under established constitutional rules the U.K. government should now drop the proposals but there is no indication that is going to happen.

Throughout these last challenging months my personal focus has been, and continues to be, tackling coronavirus, particularly with cases again on the rise. But the end of the transition period cannot be ignored and the impact on the economy will be particularly severe both in the short and long-term.

Current talks between the U.K. government and the EU on the future relationship are at a critical stage and we in the Scottish government still hope for a deal to be reached. That is in all our interests.

Until the beginning of this year of course, Scotland — as an ancient nation with its own legal system, education system and devolved government — was in a union with the rest of the U.K. while at the same time being inside the European Union.

In relation to the U.K., it is important to emphasise that Scotland is not, and has never been, considered a region of a larger unitary state but a country in a voluntary union of nations.

In the Brexit referendum of 2016, although the U.K. as a whole voted to Leave, people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain. Despite this we have been removed from the EU against our will and our pleas for the U.K. to say in the single market have been ignored.

The founding values of the European Union — respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law — chime with people in Scotland. As a country we have benefitted enormously from the single market’s “four freedoms,” including freedom of movement as people from across Europe have made Scotland their home.

We have also contributed much to Europe through our people, our world-class universities, innovators and now in particular the fight against climate change.

That’s clearly part of the reason why in recent election contests in Scotland support for political parties that wished to remain in the EU has been so strong.

In our interconnected world today it has never been more important to uphold both our internationalist values and the principles and operation of international law. Scotland will always champion those values and those principles.

The Scottish government, therefore, found it particularly shocking when we discovered that the U.K. government was planning legislation that would breach international law.

Indeed, at the same time as the U.K. government was introducing that legislation, the Scottish government brought forward the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, to entrench our international human rights obligations in Scots law.

At its heart, the European Union is a peace project and we will always offer our unconditional support for the Good Friday Agreement, as we have done throughout this Brexit process. We understand the vital importance of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

In her State of the Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in these last few months we have rediscovered the value of what we hold in common.

The Scottish government will, of course, always promote and protect Scotland’s interests but we will never lose sight of our common humanity.

For Scotland our closest friends, in any constitutional future, will always be our neighbours in the rest of the United Kingdom. But more than anything, as we in Scotland decide on our future, and I hope and expect that this will be a future as an independent nation, we will always be a voice for peace, for European and international solidarity, for co-operation and for the upholding of international law.

This article originally appeared on and


Scotland must, and will, have the right to choose its own future

Article by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on (6 Sept 2020)

Independence is the normal form of governance for most nations in the world. Most of them take it, and the ability it affords them to take decisions in their own national interest, for granted.

Being independent does not magically solve every problem a country faces, but it does allow the opportunity to deal with those problems in a way best suited to your needs. That is the essence of self-government – but Scotland does not yet have the ability to exercise those independent choices.

However, it would seem that independence is now becoming the settled will of a majority of people across Scotland. And the reasons for that are not hard to discern.
We have a Westminster government which pays constant lip service to the notion of equal partnership – but which in almost every action it takes completely demolishes that concept.

A true union of equals would not have imposed Brexit upon Scotland against the overwhelming majority of Scottish voters.

A genuine partnership would not then have then ignored the efforts of the Scottish Government to effect compromise to soften the blow of leaving the world’s biggest single market.

The result of that is that we now face the hardest of Brexits, exiting the transition period at the end of this year with either no trade deal at all, or instead what is likely to be a very bad deal – either of which threaten to be disastrous for Scotland.

And a Westminster government which cared in any meaningful way about the union it professes to cherish would not engage, as it currently is, in a blatant power grab which threatens to ride roughshod over devolved powers – something that has been attacked by interest groups across Scotland, including leading voices from our business and farming sectors.

None of this would be happening were we independent.
To compound things, the Tories are committed to scrapping furlough next month instead of following the lead of other European countries which have announced lengthy extensions to their job retention schemes in the face of the pandemic.

Again, if Scotland were already independent, with the full economic powers independent countries take for granted, we wouldn’t have to ask the UK Government to extend furlough to protect thousands of Scottish jobs – we could just do it ourselves.

Far from making the case for the union, the issue of furlough strengthens the case for Scotland acquiring the full borrowing and other financial tools of an independent country.

And it seems that people increasingly agree that Scotland needs those powers. Opinion polls show that, not only do a majority now believe Scotland should be independent, but that Scotland needs independence for our economic prospects to improve.

The Scottish Government will publish a draft referendum bill, setting out the proposed terms of an independence referendum, including the question, subject to testing by the Electoral Commission, and the proposed timescale for the vote.
And if a majority of MSPs elected to Holyrood next year back a referendum, no UK Government has the right to block the will of the people.

For the Tories, simply saying “no” in a bid to stick roadblocks in the way of democracy isn’t even the semblance of a long-term strategy – and increasingly it seems that is being acknowledged within Westminster and Whitehall.

Trying to hold back the tide of popular opinion in Scotland didn’t work for the Tories when they argued against devolution in the 1990s – and it won’t work now.
Scotland must, and will, have the right to determine its own future, and when that happens I firmly believe the people will choose independence.


Bernie Sanders is a Genius: Here’s Why

Writer Article by Kat Cary 09/04/20: U.S. Politics 2020 Presedential Election

I knew that this was coming, but the timing seemed off. About an hour before the campaign livestream, news broke that Senator Bernie Sanders was suspending his bid for the Democrat nomination. As I listened to the broadcast – tuning out from time-to-time as Bernie went through his greatest hits – something grabbed my attention. If you were to guess who he would quote, who would it be? If you are like me and thought it would be Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., give yourself a half-point because he quoted two individuals. The senator from Vermont reserved his initial quote for Nelson Mandela, and the words hit me like a punch in the gut, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Bernie expanded on the quote, laying down the gauntlet while shooting for the stars in his signature no-nonsense fashion. Four significant issues lay at the heart of his campaign: economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice for all who live in the US. He stressed how important it is to believe that fairness and equality are our birthrights as human beings. It is when the will of the people is so loud that it can no longer be ignored by those who hold power, change occurs.

And just as I began to do the greatest-hits-tune-out again, he said something that gave me hope. Sanders explained that he is remaining on the ballot for the remainder of the 2020 Democrat primary process, stressing his goal: not to win the nomination, but to collect delegates. His assurance that Our Revolution is not over suddenly became more apparent.

Why does this matter?

Sanders clearly stated that former Vice President Joe Biden would be the Democratic nominee for 2020, so why cast your ballot for Bernie in the 26 state and territorial primaries between now and the Democratic National Convention (DNC)?

There are close to 1,500 undecided delegates. Sanders already has over 900, and here is why that matters: The number of delegates each candidate has collected decides the future of the party.

If you are like me and support the Unity Reform Commission that was born out of Bernie’s 2016 success, and delivered a blue wave in 2018, the choice is clear. A vote for Bernie and vote for our future.

As I look deeper into the individual rules each state and territory have for 2020, I will provide more detail on each race, and any significant changes regarding the DNC. I will continue to advocate voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary – while wholeheartedly supporting Joe Biden in his 2020 Presidential campaign.

Bernie ended his broadcast by stating that the movement isn’t over and that our struggle continues. Perhaps the words of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr are more appropriate during this time in history: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Perhaps it can be summed up simply by saying, “Not me, Us.”

Article Original Source;

Author Info:
Kat Cary (Edinburgh Scotland)
Political Communications & Psychology Research ∙ International and European Politics ∙ Quantitative Analysis using R ∙ US Navy (Ret) Flight Engineer

LinkedIn Profile:

*This article has been reproduced by permission from the author above.

Declaration of Arbroath Anniversary 2020

April the 6th 2020 marks the 700th Anniversary of The Declaration of Arbroath and the claim of right of an Independent and sovereign Scotland.

ANNIVERSARY FILM (Charlie Stuart / Lesley Riddoch)

Documentary celebrating the Declaration of Arbroath on the 700th anniversary 6th April 2020

*This video is not hosted on this website – it is a third party embed code and the actual source resides on

The Declaration of Arbroath from Charlie Stuart on Vimeo.


Lesley Riddoch:


Read Lesley’s article on the anniversary and video on her website:

“2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, widely regarded as Scotland’s most iconic document; probably the first declaration in medieval Europe to promote the idea that people are above Kings, that a nation is its people and that any nation has the right to self determination.

Written in 1320, its evocative sentiments about freedom and independence have given it special distinction, not just in Scotland, but around the world.

But the coronavirus has effectively cancelled all live celebrations of the event in Arbroath and across Scotland, and sadly no UK broadcasters have scheduled any significant TV coverage, though Billy Kay has produced a three-part series for Radio Scotland….”

**This video is not hosted on this website – it is a third party embed code and the actual source resides on


From Wikipedia;
The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of Scottish independence, made in 1320. It is in the form of a letter in Latin submitted to Pope John XXII, dated 6 April 1320, intended to confirm Scotland’s status as an independent, sovereign state.

Generally believed to have been written in the Arbroath Abbey by Bernard of Kilwinning, then Chancellor of Scotland and Abbot of Arbroath, and sealed by fifty-one magnates and nobles, the letter is the sole survivor of three created at the time. The others were a letter from the King of Scots, Robert I, and a letter from four Scottish bishops which all made similar points.





Images Source:



Wars of Scottish Independence:

The Scots Magazine – The Declaration of Arbroath’s Influence:

National records Scotland:

Robert The Bruce:

Visit Scotland – Robert The Bruce:



History of Scotland (Wikipedia):

Timeline of Scottish History:


You Tube Videos on The Declaration of Arbroath:


Scottish Government July 5th 2016:

Conservatives Have No Mandate To Govern Scotland

‘Mandates, Mandates, Roll Up For Your Mandates….Plenty To Choose From’

The Conservative Party Has No Mandate In Scotland

(***Some Mandates may have extra terms and conditions!)

Short Commentary by Solon Scotland

In the wake of the UK General Election in December 2019 the term ‘mandate’ is at the very core of both Scottish and UK Politics, but as is patently clear it appears that some mandates are only deemed acceptable if they are UK Mandates?

Boris Johnson has a mandate to govern on 43% UK support. That mandate is also seen as acceptable to ‘Get Brexit Done’. NOTE HERE THAT THE MANDATE DOES NOT REQUIRE 50% SUPPORT TO BE DEEMED DEMOCRATICALLY ACCEPTED? THE LARGEST VOTE IS WHAT COUNTS!


How long can this situation go on for? ..Scotland does not vote Conservative in majority, ever! The party trades on anything from 15% up to 30% on average in Scotland in National Elections, yet it continually espouses what it demands for ‘Scoticus Torius’ and gives us UK Governments we do not vote for. Since Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 Scotland will have been governed by Conservatives (as part of the UK) for 28 years…(1979 – 1997 & 2010 – 2020) 9 years currently, plus 5 more years and counting for Boris Johnson.



The Conservative Government have less support in the UK than The SNP in Scotland. General Election 2019 saw The Conservative Party score 43% UK wide and the SNP score 44% support in Scotland. Over 50% of the UK do not support Boris Johnson’s Government, over 70% of Scotland do not support Boris Johnson’s Government.


Scotland is a nation in its own right, albeit currently a nation within the UK Union, but that is why you cannot simply apply UK mandates and conversely ignore Scottish mandates, is an untenable position. Boris Johnson has now claimed a mandate ‘To Get Brexit Done’, he does that on less than 50% support because first past the post means that the largest party makes the rules, that is how it works,

In that case a Scottish Parliament returning an independence majority in 2016 has a mandate for a new Independence Referendum. That mandate has been confirmed in Scottish Westminster Elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019 respectively in Scottish Westminster General Elections. The SNP have won each of these elections convincingly in Scotland.

The SNP mandate is rock solid if your opinion is that Boris Johnson has a UK Govt mandate on 43% support. The SNP mandate is rock solid if your opinion is that Boris Johnson has a ‘ Get Brexit Done’ mandate on 43% support.


History of The Scottish Parliament

2019 marks the 20th Anniversary of the current Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh.

A special event marking the opening of the parliament is taking place on Saturday 29th June 2019 and members of the public are invited to visit the parliament and join the celebrations.

What many will not be as aware of, is that the previous version of the parliament (known as The Parliament of Scotland was in existence from 1235 – 1707 – a period of almost 500 years of Scottish Independence.


Full Article: Parliament of Scotland 1235 – 1707

The Parliament of Scotland was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king’s council of bishops and earls. It is first identifiable as a parliament in 1235, during the reign of Alexander II, when it was described as a “colloquium” and already possessed a political and judicial role. By the early fourteenth century, the attendance of knights and freeholders had become important, and from 1326 commissioners from the burghs attended. Consisting of the “three estates” of clergy, nobility and the burghs sitting in a single chamber, the parliament gave consent for the raising of taxation and played an important role in the administration of justice, foreign policy, war, and all manner of other legislation. Parliamentary business was also carried out by “sister” institutions, such as General Councils or Convention of Estates. These could carry out much business also dealt with by parliament – taxation, legislation and policy-making – but lacked the ultimate authority of a full parliament.

The Parliament of Scotland met for more than four centuries, until it was prorogued sine die at the time of the Acts of Union in 1707. Thereafter the Parliament of Great Britain operated for both England and Scotland after the creation of the united Kingdom of Great Britain on 1 May 1707. When the Parliament of Ireland was abolished in 1801, its former members were merged into what was now called the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From January 1801 until 1927, the British state was officially called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (even though the Irish Free State had come into existence in December 1922).

The pre-Union parliament was long portrayed as a constitutionally defective body that acted merely as a rubber stamp for royal decisions, but research during the early 21st century has found that it played an active role in Scottish affairs, and was sometimes a thorn in the side of the Scottish Crown.

Union with England

Robert Burns’ claim that the Union of England and Scotland (and hence the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament) was brought about by the Scots members being “bought and sold for English gold” was largely accurate – bribery and parliamentary division combined with wider economic imperatives, partly arising from the disaster of the Darien Scheme, enabling the Crown to incorporate a Union with England in the Acts of Union 1707 which brought into existence the Parliament of Great Britain. Forty-five Scots were added to the 513 members of the House of Commons and 16 Scots to the 190 members of the House of Lords.



Marking 20 years of the Scottish Parliament

Parliament of Scotland 1235 – 1707

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