Most Scots support ban on sale of fireworks, says survey

The majority of people in Scotland support a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public, new research has found.

More than 16,000 people responded to a Scottish Government consultation on fireworks amid growing concerns about them being used irresponsibly and recklessly.

Almost nine in ten (87 per cent) said they would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks.

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A fireworks display in the Scottish Borders

More than nine in ten (94 per cent) people said they want to see tighter controls on the sale of fireworks, while 92 per cent feel there should be tighter controls on how they can be used.

Meanwhile, a YouGov survey commissioned by the Scottish Government involving a representative sample of the Scottish population found 71 per cent of adults supported tighter controls on the sale of fireworks to the public, with more than half backing a ban.

Community safety minister Ash Denham said: "The results of our consultation and survey demonstrate overwhelming public support for a change in how fireworks are sold and used.

"While legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster, I will work with stakeholders to look at the powers we have to drive forward action to reduce the damage caused by fireworks misuse.

Most respondents to a survey want an outright ban on fireworks in Scotland

"The consultation also highlighted the wider harm that can be caused to members of our communities, including our ex-service people and those with underlying mental health issues.

"The serious distress and occasional injury caused to animals around times of celebration has also been highlighted as a specific concern.

"I will update Parliament shortly on our intended action to ensure fireworks are used safely and appropriately."

Seven in ten (70 per cent) of those who responded to the consultation said they had been affected by fireworks used in an irresponsible or unsafe way.

Some raised concerns about the devices being used in inappropriate places such as back gardens in built-up areas and on streets, and about them being used as "weapons" against the emergency services.

The consultation also found 93 per cent of people want to see stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of the misuse of fireworks.

Concerns over the impact of fireworks on those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autism were also highlighted.

Scottish SPCA head of education and policy Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: "We're pleased so many members of the public have voiced their opinion and cited animal welfare as one of the reasons to restrict the public sale and use of fireworks. For years we have supported tighter restrictions on public use due to the stress and anxiety that can be caused to animals.

"Over the years the Scottish SPCA has received a handful of calls relating to an animal that has been injured due to the direct misuse of fireworks. The majority of calls relate to animals that have become injured through trying to escape the noise of fireworks.

"Incidents include dogs running on to roads and being hit by oncoming traffic, birds, such as swans, flying into electricity pylons, and horses being badly injured after running through barbed wire fences.

"We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to improve animal welfare surrounding the use of fireworks."

The Scottish Government's consultation on fireworks ran for 13 weeks and received 16,420 responses from members of the public and stakeholder organisations.