Fireworks

I appreciate your concern. While many people enjoy fireworks on special occasions, I know that some people and animals find them distressing. Fireworks can of course be very dangerous and I am glad the use and sale of them is controlled. Events where fireworks are used should be well planned and safety should be paramount.

The Scottish Conservatives agree that a balance must be struck between the safe enjoyment of fireworks and robust regulations to prevent antisocial and illegal behaviour. We will work with both of Scotland’s Governments to seek consensus on the further steps that should be taken.

The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulations 2004 allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods has been greatly reduced.

The regulations also created a curfew preventing the use of fireworks between 11pm and 7am all year round with the exception of 5 November, when the curfew starts at 12 midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew starts at 1.00 am on the night of celebration.

On 2 February the Scottish Government published the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill. It proposes the introduction of a fireworks licensing system, powers for local authorities to designate fire control zones, restricting the days fireworks can be sold to the general public, a new offence criminalising the sale of fireworks and pyrotechnics to those aged under 18 and a new offence of being in possession of fireworks and pyrotechnics while travelling or at certain places without a reasonable excuse.

The Criminal Justice Committee heard evidence from various stakeholders that there are numerous flaws in the Bill as drafted which may lead to more people buying illegal and dangerous fireworks as well as concerns that the police do not have the resources to enforce the requirements in the Bill. These concerns must be addressed by the SNP Government before the Bill progresses any further.