‘Ground-breaking’ firework legislation to become law as Scotland leads the way

  • “Ground-breaking” firework legislation that includes the introduction of a mandatory licensing system has been passed by the Scottish Government, but further work is still needed before changes come in.

    In December H&H reported on the findings from a public consultation launched by the Scottish Government to gain the views on proposed amendments to firework laws. The results showed 84% of 1,739 respondents backed the introduction of a licensing system, 92% agreed with creating a new offence to criminalise the supply of fireworks to under-18s, and 83% agreed with creating no-firework zones, suggestions for which included areas around livery yards, riding schools, and vet hospitals. Other proposals included restricting the days fireworks could be bought and used by members of the public.

    The Scottish Government pledged to introduce new firework legislation at the “earliest opportunity”, and on 29 June the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill was passed following a debate at the Scottish Parliament. The bill will become law once it receives royal assent.

    Community safety minister Ash Regan, who has led the work on the bill, said the “ground-breaking” new legislation will “improve the lives of people across Scotland”.

    “This is not a ban on fireworks. We still want people to enjoy them safely, for example attending organised displays,” she said.

    “But this vitally important step will make firework use more predictable and safer. The bill will ensure appropriate action can be taken over the dangerous or disruptive use of fireworks, as well as reducing the misuse of pyrotechnic devices such as flares.

    “It also demonstrates our absolute commitment to further improve safety for communities across Scotland.”

    The SSPCA welcomed the bill and said its passing will help “tackle the impact” private firework use in particular, can have.

    But although the bill is positive news, the Scottish Government does not “anticipate” some of the changes coming into force for some time. The restriction on the days fireworks can be sold is not expected to apply until 2023, to allow “fair and sufficient time” for businesses to adapt their processes, and new regulations will be needed to provide for “any compensation” that might be made available for businesses that are wholly, or mainly, concerned with the supply, distribution or important of fireworks in Scotland.

    The licensing system and no-firework zones are not due to come into force until “later in 2023” at the earliest, as further legislation and/or guidance is needed and this will need to be “scrutinised” by the Scottish Parliament.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...