Licences for buying fireworks could be on the cards for Scotland

  • Animal owners are among those being asked for their views on proposed new legislation that could require members of the public to apply for a licence, complete an online safety course and pay a fee before buying fireworks in Scotland.

    Last week the Scottish Government launched a new consultation to gain views on a number of proposed amendments to laws on buying fireworks in Scotland. The proposals are: the introduction of mandatory conditions at the point of sale of fireworks, no-firework zones, making it an offence to carry pyrotechnics such as flares or smoke devices in a public place, and granting the police powers to stop and search anyone suspected of carrying pyrotechnics.

    If successful, the point-of-sale conditions could include a system requiring adults aged 18 and over to apply for a licence before they can buy fireworks. This would include members of community organisations and groups organising a public display. Applicants would be required to complete an online safety course and pay a fee to obtain the licence – and must disclose any unspent convictions for fireworks-related offences. Consideration is also being given to whether a licence should be required for the possession and use of fireworks.

    “We are keen to get practical feedback on the introduction of legislation from those who use and enjoy fireworks as well as those affected by fireworks including vulnerable groups, animal owners, and from local authorities, enforcement agencies, the fireworks industry, retailers and other organisations that have a role or interest in fireworks,” said a Scottish government spokesman.

    In 2019 the Scottish government took action after a public survey found 92% of more than 16,000 respondents felt there should be more control on how fireworks can be used. Scottish minister for community safety Ash Denham appointed a firework review group, made up of key organisations including the SSPCA, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to consider options for legislative and regulatory change.

    The review group issued a series of recommendations in December 2020 relating to how fireworks are sold and used by the general public in Scotland. In February this year new legislation was introduced in the Scottish parliament by Ms Denham restricting the times of day and the volume of fireworks that can be sold to the general public and restricting the times fireworks can be set off.

    “I am delighted to report that as a result of these regulations, we will now see a shift in how fireworks are bought and used in our community in time for this year’s fireworks period,” said Ms Denham.

    A series of online consultation events is being held in June, July and August to enable stakeholders, individuals and communities to share their views on the new proposed measures.

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    “These events will provide opportunities for people to come together to discuss the proposed changes in more detail and to identify and discuss the practical implications of each,” said the Scottish government spokesman.

    “A summary report will be produced from each event for the Scottish Government to consider alongside the official consultation responses.”

    The consultation closes on 15 August. Take part in the consultation here.

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