An expert group including police, fire and animal welfare representatives has called for the introduction of no fireworks zones and tighter restrictions on the purchase and use of fireworks.
The independent Firework Review Group has submitted its final report to Scottish Ministers, urging a fundamental shift in the way fireworks are bought and used.
The call comes following widespread public support across Scotland to reduce the negative impact of fireworks.
The group, chaired by former Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay, recommended a number of measures be taken forward, including:
· The introduction of mandatory conditions when fireworks are purchased from retailers
· Restricting the times of day fireworks can be sold and volume of fireworks that can be purchased at any one time
· Restricting the days and times fireworks can be set off
· The introduction of no firework areas or zones
· The creation of a proxy purchasing offence to prevent adults from buying fireworks on behalf of those under the age of 18
Responding to the report, Community Safety Minister Ash Denham MSP told Parliament:
“I welcome and fully endorse these recommendations and thank the Review Group for their diligent work, especially in recent months during the pandemic.
“We are determined to keep all of Scotland’s communities safe from the harmful misuse of fireworks and the group’s findings will help us achieve that. I will now explore how these recommendations can be implemented, within the powers available to Parliament, and bring forward legislation to make these a reality.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“With Bonfire Night upon us, it’s vital that we continue adhering to the rules on meeting up with other households to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“I know that particularly during these times, people will want to come together, so if you do plan on using fireworks please do so safely and to be mindful of their neighbours.
“This is of course a time of year that can cause anxiety amongst older people, those with sensory issues and pet and livestock owners so please take that into account.”
The SNP Government’s public consultation on fireworks ran for 14 weeks and closed in May 2019. 16,420 responses were received. It found:
· 94% of people want to see tighter controls on the sale of fireworks
· 93% want to see stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of fireworks misuse
· 92% feel there should be tighter controls on fireworks use
· 87% would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks
Firework Review Group: Report to the Scottish Government.
Community Safety Minister Ash Denham's full statement to Parliament.
Guidance on Bonfire Night Safety is available online from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Parent Club.
The Scottish Government’s Fireworks Action Plan ‘Promoting the Safe and Appropriate Use of Fireworks in Scotland’ was published in October 2019.