Fireworks in Scotland: analysis of responses to consultation

Summary of key themes to emerge from the consultation to gather the public's views on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland.


Background to the consultation

This report presents the analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's consultation on fireworks. The focus of the consultation was on gathering the public's views on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland. While much of the current legislation on fireworks is reserved to Westminster the consultation sought to identify gaps, issues or unintended consequences with the current regulatory framework and to hear any views on whether regulations on the use of fireworks needs to be improved.

The consultation was launched on 3 February, ran for 14 weeks, and closed on 13 May 2019. The consultation paper can be found at:

The consultation asked 10 questions, with seven closed questions and nine opportunities to provide further comments[1].

Profile of main consultation respondents

In total 16,583 responses were received. Of these, 163 were removed as they were either duplicate or triplicate responses[2]. The remaining 16,420 responses were available for analysis.

Most responses were received through the Scottish Government's Citizen Space consultation hub. Where consent has been given to publish the response it can be found at:

Respondents were asked to identify whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation. Most responses (16,322 of those available for analysis) were submitted by individual members of the public. The remaining 98 responses were submitted by groups or organisations.

Organisational respondents were allocated to one of 15 groups by the analysis team and the Scottish Government[3].

A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1 below and a full list of organisational respondents can be found in Annex 1.

Table 1: Respondents by type

Type of respondent Number
Animal-related third sector or community group 19
Animal-related private sector 5
Community council 19
Community group 9
Community safety organisation 2
Community-based firework display 2
Emergency Service 1
Firework events company 1
Fireworks professional or representative body 3
Fireworks retailer or supplier 5
Local authority 15
Professional or representative body 4
Third sector - non animal-related 2
Young peoples' group or service 5
Other 6
Organisations 98
Individuals 16,322
All respondents 16,420

Profile of events

In addition to the online consultation, 24 public events were held across Scotland. All events were advertised on the consultation website on Citizen Space and were promoted via a variety of stakeholders. Event information was also shared on a wide range of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and a letter was issued to every community council and community safety partnership to raise awareness and garner interest.

Events were held in 12 locations across Scotland and, in most of these locations, an event was run in the afternoon and evening. The locations were:

  • Aberdeen
  • Ayr
  • Dumfries & Galloway
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Elgin
  • Inverness
  • Glasgow
  • Paisley
  • Perth
  • Stirling
  • Stornoway.

Each event was facilitated by Scottish Government officials and the majority were supported by the Scottish Community Safety Network. In addition to the 24 public engagement events, three additional events were held for specific population groups – one for the South Asian community in Pollokshields, and two for young people, one through Young Scot and one through a fire skills course for young people run by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). A further two events for young people, held in Edinburgh youth centres, were supported by the Scottish Community Safety Network.

A total of 258 people participated in discussion across the 29 events.

Social media engagement

During the consultation, a range of social media platforms were also used to seek people's views and opinions. Four polls were carried out - two on Facebook on Sunday 3 February and Monday 15 April, and two on Twitter on the same dates, asking the following questions:

  • Poll 1: Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks? (Facebook, 3 February).
  • Poll 2: Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks? (Twitter, 3 February 2019).
  • Poll 3: Do you think there should be more controls on the use of fireworks to make sure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering? (Facebook, 15 April).
  • Poll 4: Have you ever been affected by fireworks being used in an irresponsible or unsafe way?" (Twitter, 15 April).

The first two polls carried out on Facebook and Twitter on 3 February, which coincided with the launch of the consultation, received the highest number of responses: 15,300 and 12,745 respectively. The Facebook poll carried out on 15 April received 5,500 responses and the Twitter poll carried out on the same date received 358 votes. Analysis of social media activity was carried out by the Scottish Government and a summary of findings is included at Annex 3.

Analysis and reporting

The remainder of this report presents a question-by-question analysis of the comments made to the main consultation and at consultation events. Summary results for the closed questions are presented in chart form. The full breakdown by respondent type is provided at Annex 2.

A small number of respondents did not make their submission on the consultation questionnaire but submitted their comments in a statement-style format. This content was analysed qualitatively under the most directly relevant consultation question.

The comment rate was very high across all the questions, with the themes raised across the questions often very similar. To avoid repetition, the most detailed analysis of each broader theme raised is presented at the most directly relevant question.

The analysis presented below is designed to give an overview of the type and range of views expressed. Please note that the language used within the report reflects that used by respondents. This includes in relation to the irresponsible use, misuse or illegal use of fireworks. However, further comments sometimes suggested that use of fireworks which some respondents referred to as misuse or illegal would not contravene current legislation or regulations.

As with any public consultation exercise, it should be noted that those responding generally have a particular interest in the subject area and the views they express cannot be seen as representative of wider public opinion.



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