News

Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill

Published: 20 Jun 2021 00:01

Consultation on legislation to improve safety.

A consultation on new legislation on the sale and use of fireworks and tackling the misuse of pyrotechnics has been published.

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.

The eight week consultation will seek views on the creation of a new offence of carrying a pyrotechnic device in a public place without reasonable excuse or lawful authority.

It is also seeking 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.

In addition a number of proposals will change how fireworks can be sold and used in Scotland.

These include the introduction of an offence to criminalise the supply of adult fireworks to people under the age of 18 – and the introduction of ‘no firework’ areas.

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.

“I am also seeking views on how we might reduce the misuse of pyrotechnic devices such as hand held flares and smoke devices which represent a significant safety risk to anyone who comes into contact with them.

“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."

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.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens said:

“It is clear that the inappropriate use of fireworks can cause harm and serious injury and can distress people, pets and the wider community.

"In a minority of cases, fireworks are linked to anti-social behaviour which can put our crews and our partners at risk whilst drawing unnecessarily on our emergency service resources.

"We therefore welcome any measures to keep our communities safe, including this Bill, and we join with the Minister in encouraging everyone with an interest to have their say.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Plastic Surgery Registrar Eleanor Robertson said:

“We are delighted that recommendations from the Firework Review Group have been swiftly translated into impactful draft legislation.

“The proposed firework legislation in Scotland will introduce controls and safeguards at purchase and limit the time and location of their use.

“This will reduce the incidence of psychological distress and physical harm, whilst still permitting their use at celebratory events.”

Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research Gilly Mendes Ferreira said:

“We were proud to be part of the Fireworks Review Group and delighted that these recommendations are being taken forward. The introduction of ‘no fireworks zones’ will help stop animals suffering from stress caused by fireworks.”

Background

Read the consultation https://consult.gov.scot/justice/use-and-sale-of-fireworks-in-scotland

Because the Scottish Government is intending on introducing primary legislation to the Scottish Parliament it is important that we consult the public and stakeholders and we want to hear from everyone with an interest.

Read the Fireworks Review Group report Firework Review Group: report to the Scottish Government - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Read the 2019 public consultation Fireworks in Scotland: analysis of responses to consultation - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Further measures include: 

  • requiring the public and community groups to meet a number of mandatory conditions before they are able to purchase adult fireworks
  • restricting the days adult fireworks can be sold to - and set off by - the public 
  • introducing no-fireworks areas where it is not possible for the general public to set fireworks off
  • introduction of a proxy purchasing offence to criminalise the supply of fireworks to people under the age of 18