Carrying fireworks in Scotland could become criminal offence under new pyrotechnics proposals

Carrying fireworks in a public place without ‘reasonable excuse’ would become an offence under a bill to tighten legislation around pyrotechnics in Scotland.
The new restrictions would make organised displays like this in Edinburgh one of the only ways to see fireworks.The new restrictions would make organised displays like this in Edinburgh one of the only ways to see fireworks.
The new restrictions would make organised displays like this in Edinburgh one of the only ways to see fireworks.

The eight week consultation will also seek views on criminalising the supply of fireworks to people under the age of 18, while the Scottish Government would create ‘no firework’ areas.

The proposed Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill follows the report of an independent Fireworks Review Group which recommended tightening legislation to reduce the harm fireworks can cause.

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It will seek views from the public on the extension of police powers to allow a stop and search provision in relation to carrying pyrotechnics without a justifiable cause.

The proposed Bill is in addition to new regulations laid in the Scottish Parliament in February, which come into force at the end of June, restricting the times of day and the volume of fireworks that can be supplied to the public - as well as the times fireworks can be set off.

Community safety minister Ash Denham said: “Following the overwhelming results of the public consultation on fireworks that took place in 2019 it was clear fireworks are an important issue to the people of Scotland and that there is a strong appetite for change to improve safety.

“To help us consider the issue I appointed an independent Review Group of experts who concluded that a fundamental shift is needed in how fireworks are accessed and used. A number of the group’s recommendations required legislation and we have moved quickly to lay regulations which will see progress for communities across Scotland in time for this year’s fireworks period. The remaining Review Group recommendations require primary legislation which is why we are publishing this consultation today.”

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He said the consultation was also looking at reducing the misuse of pyrotechnic devices such as hand held flares and smoke devices.

He added: “I am committed to making our communities safer and to taking strong action now to avoid harm, distress and injury and I would encourage everyone with an interest to have their say.”

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Linda Jones of Partnership, Prevention and Community Wellbeing said: "The unauthorised use of pyrotechnics at events is a criminal offence, inherently dangerous, and a matter of significant concern to Police Scotland. Pyrotechnics can burn at up to 1200 Celsius and have the potential to cause fatal or life-changing injuries to users and by-standers.

"They can emit chemicals which can trigger respiratory problems and cause irritation to eyes. The discharge of pyrotechnics can also cause panic within crowded spaces. There is no safe way to operate pyrotechnics unless you are properly trained – leave it to the experts at organised events."

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Chair of the Scottish Police Federation David Hamilton said:

“In Scotland alone, scores of police officers and members of the public have been injured by pyrotechnic devices. This legislation would empower police officers to deal with this danger and would lead to safer streets and safer events for all.”

Animal welfare organisations also welcomed the proposals.

Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: “The introduction of ‘no fireworks zones’ will help stop animals suffering from stress caused by fireworks.”

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