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Highlands to have safer homes thanks to cash boost

By Gregor White

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Highland Council in fire safety move.
Highland Council in fire safety move.

MORE than £1 million has been set aside for ongoing fire safety works across council homes in the Highlands.

The money, for the rest of this financial year and next, has been transferred from Highland Council’s housing revenue budget to the capital programme after the Scottish Government announced changes to the standards for fire and smoke detectors in all homes.

At a meeting of the housing and property committee, members were told that the majority of works involve extending existing smoke alarm provision to additional rooms and hallways, and would be completed by a qualified electrician.

Committee chairman, Councillor Ben Thompson, said: “The provision of improved fire detection systems is a significant step forward in fire safety and will increase the safety of our communities, residents and firefighters.

“These systems have been proven to save lives and it is right that we continue to provide the resources to make these essential changes.”

During the meeting, members were also updated on the current capital improvement works under way and the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had had.

Across the Highlands, all capital works were stopped during the national lockdown, but external works restarted in July and others followed in the weeks and months afterwards.

Cllr Thompson thanked tenants for their patience and understanding as additional coronavirus safety measures mean some jobs are now taking longer to carry out due to the need for social distancing and increased hygiene requirements.

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