Government committee to explore changes in firework law

Restrictions on the use of fireworks on private property in Scotland are among options being considered by a new review group.

The Scottish government announced an action plan on 29 October after its public consultation on firework use, which found 92% of more than 16,000 respondents felt there should be more control on how fireworks can be used.

As part of the action plan, a firework review group, made up of key organisations including animal welfare charity SSPCA, Police Scotland, and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), has been set up to consider current legislation, and the “opportunity to explore” a number of options has been identified.

Proposed changes include the introduction of restrictions on the use of fireworks on private property, a notification system before fireworks can be used, tightening of the dates and times fireworks can be set off and the introduction of no-firework zones around locations such as retirement homes and hospitals.

Scottish community safety minister Ash Denham said: “The group will carefully consider how the current legislation around where and when fireworks can be used can be tightened to help ensure that people can enjoy fireworks safely and appropriately.”

A spokesman for the Scottish government said the introduction of a notification system would require those intending to use fireworks to notify a relevant authority, and the surrounding community, in advance of fireworks being set off.

“This would have the potential to lead to a reduction in the volume of fireworks being set off, and would ensure those who need to take preventative measures before firework displays, such as those with livestock or people with sensory issues adversely affected by fireworks, are able to do so,” he said.

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The group is due to begin work “imminently” and will present its final recommendations to the minister in the summer of 2020.

Other actions announced in the plan include a campaign launched on 21 October with the SSPCA and the SFRS to improve awareness and understanding of the impact the legitimate use of fireworks can have on people and animals.

“The campaign encourages people to attend organised public displays, and is supported by a published list of public firework events across the country which is publicly available on the SFRS website. This is supported by a programme of communications run across social media, local press and radio,” said the spokesman.

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