Publication - Consultation analysis

Fireworks in Scotland: analysis of responses to consultation

Published: 4 Oct 2019
Directorate:
Safer Communities Directorate
Part of:
Arts, culture and sport, Law and order
ISBN:
9781839602276

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

65 page PDF

544.6 kB

65 page PDF

544.6 kB

Contents
Fireworks in Scotland: analysis of responses to consultation
Part Two: Legislation and Regulation

65 page PDF

544.6 kB

Part Two: Legislation and Regulation

The consultation asked three questions about legislation and regulation.

Legislation regulates the sale and use of fireworks. There are controls on who can sell fireworks, which types are available to the public, who can buy and possess fireworks, how they must be stored, and where and when fireworks may be used.

Further detail on the controls and legislation surrounding fireworks sale and use is provided in a technical annex to the consultation paper, which can be accessed at https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/fireworks.

Sale of fireworks

For most of the year fireworks can only be sold by licensed traders. Licensing the sale of fireworks is done by local authorities, and traders have to meet very strict criteria to receive a licence. In the run up to New Year, Chinese New Year and Diwali, and for the three weeks before Bonfire night, traders registered with their local authority to store fireworks do not require a specific sales licence. Instead they are required to register with the relevant local authority. Local authorities have no powers to refuse registration at these times.

It is illegal to sell outdoor fireworks to anyone who is less than 18 years old. It is illegal to sell indoor fireworks (such as sparklers) to anyone who is less than 16 years old.

Fireworks which make a noise of over 120 decibels when they are set off, or fireworks that require specialist knowledge to use safely, cannot be sold to the general public at any time. Fireworks associated with antisocial behaviour such as bangers, air bombs and jumping jacks are also banned at all times.

Question 4 - Do you think there should be more controls over the sale of fireworks?

A very substantial majority, 94% of those answering the question, thought there should be more controls over the sale of fireworks. Individual respondents were more likely than organisations to think there should be more controls - 94% and 78% respectively.

Figure 4: Question 4 – Do you think there should be more controls over the sale of fireworks? (n = 16,349)

Figure 4: Question 4 – Do you think there should be more controls over the sale of fireworks?

Views of those who favoured more controls over sale

Around 14,290 respondents who favoured more controls over the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland went on to make a further comment. The focus of the analysis presented below is on types of control of sale. Issues relating to why respondents were looking for greater controls on sales, or a ban on sales to the public, are covered at Question 5.

The two most frequently raised issues were that there should be no sale of fireworks to members of the public and that fireworks should only be available to purchase for use at organised displays. Many respondents connected these two points but made no other comment. For example:

No public sale and used for organised events only with permits required.

Individual respondent

Licensing

Many respondents referenced licences or permits, and again a connection was often made with organised displays and that a licensing or permit system, either for the displays themselves or for the purchaser of fireworks, should be in place. Comparisons were sometimes made to other instances where licensing of sales is in place, particularly in relation to potentially dangerous articles or substances, such as guns, explosives or alcohol.

Calls for licensing were often associated with sales of fireworks being restricted to people trained in the use of fireworks and/or there being a named person, with appropriate training or qualifications, for any event or company purchasing fireworks. Others commented on possible arrangements if fireworks are available for purchase by members of the public, with a common position summed up as follows:

If they are to be sold to the public then surely some sort of registration procedure should be introduced. This could be applying and registering to be allowed to buy and use fireworks. Without registering you should not be allowed to buy/use fireworks. This would make the people buying them more accountable.

Individual respondent

A suggestion from the consultation events was that a more onerous licensing regime could help deter impulse purchasing as well as providing the opportunity to improve recording, management and traceability of how fireworks are being used.

Where and when fireworks should be sold

Other comments related to where, when or to whom fireworks should be sold. Respondents sometimes explained that their preference would be for a ban on sales to the public and that the further comments they were making were either in case that were not possible or were in relation to sales for organised displays.

In addition to general references to the need to tighten regulations or restrictions relating to the sale of fireworks, there were suggestions that:

  • Fireworks should only be available from specialist, licensed shops.
  • Supermarkets are not appropriate places to buy fireworks.
  • Smaller, local outlets are not appropriate places to buy fireworks.

In their comments about supermarkets or smaller shops, some respondents expressed a view that they are less likely to carry out the necessary age-related checks or are less able to give safety advice to purchasers. A theme from the consultation events was that point of purchase can be key both for education and for awareness raising and sharing messages on good practice. It was suggested that guidance could be developed to support sellers to ask the right questions, such as where someone is planning to set off fireworks and who will be in charge.

In terms of when fireworks can be sold, comments included that the sales period for fireworks should be constrained or reduced relative to the current time frames. This sometimes translated into fireworks only being available for purchase over a shorter period, for example for a few days or a week prior to 5th November. This issue was also highlighted at the consultation events, with the length of time that fireworks are available for sale generally considered to be too long. Tightening up on the period of sale was seen as a good way of reducing the length of time when fireworks are being set off. A local authority respondent suggested that fireworks should only be available for public purchase in the one week lead up to the celebrations and festivals set out in the consultation paper.

Taken together, an example of the comments about when and where fireworks could be sold is:

There is no need to sell fireworks several weeks before events such as New Years, Diwali and Bonfire night. The sale of these fireworks should be restricted to certain, dedicated, licensed fireworks stores and the free sale should only be permitted within 1 week of a publicly recognised event. Supermarkets and other stores should not be able to sell fireworks at all. They should not be an "easy" thing to get hold of or be encouraged as part of the weekly shop at certain times of year.

Individual respondent

If fireworks are to be sold through shops, there were calls for tighter regulation or checks of those shops and their practice. Specific suggestions included that local authorities should refuse shops a licence to sell fireworks if either there are too many firework outlets in the area, or the area has experienced firework-related antisocial behaviour in the recent past.

Mystery shopping or test purchasing were also proposed; the focus was often on checking that shops are not selling to under-18s and are carrying out all appropriate ID checks to ensure that to be the case.

Two local authority respondents were amongst those suggesting that a challenge 25 system could be introduced and that this would replicate the regime for tobacco, alcohol or vaping.

There were associated suggestions that any shops found to be selling fireworks contrary to regulations should have licences to sell removed and/or that those operating shops should be prosecuted or fined. A local authority respondent proposed introducing a fixed penalty notice and a retailer's banning order regime, similar to the current controls on the sale of tobacco, with enforcement by Trading Standards. The use of Fixed Penalty Notices also emerged as a suggestion from the consultation events.

In addition to commenting on standard retail outlets, some respondents and some of those attending the consultation events also highlighted concerns about 'pop-up shops' selling fireworks. These concerns tended to be focused around a perception that these shops could possibly be unlicensed or unregulated, selling fireworks too cheaply, selling dangerous, high powered fireworks or selling to under-18s. Some of the young people attending a consultation event were amongst those suggesting that it should be harder to buy fireworks.

Those raising these concerns sometimes suggested that pop-up shops selling fireworks should be banned/refused licences or that very tight regulations should be placed on them and they should be subject to very stringent checks (as above). Tightening up on the number of outlets that can sell fireworks within an area was suggested at some of the consultation events.

There were also suggestions that there need to be restrictions governing the sale of fireworks via the internet. Participants at the consultation events raised concerns about an increasing trend to purchase fireworks online and it was suggested that there should be greater controls over the delivery process, for example by requiring signature on arrival or the introduction of a ban on courier delivery.

Other possible controls on sales

Other suggested changes to the basis on which fireworks are sold to the public in Scotland included:

  • An increase in the age limit at which fireworks can be purchased, with particular reference to either 21 or 25 years of age being more appropriate than the current threshold of 18 years old.
  • Anyone selling fireworks being required to keep a record of all purchases, for example a record that ID checks have been carried out, traceable serial numbers of the fireworks sold recorded and the purchaser signing a disclaimer to say they understand the regulations governing the purchase and use of fireworks. A QR code traceable back to the purchaser was a suggestion made at a consultation event.

Other comments focused on the accessibility and appeal of fireworks and included that fireworks should be made less affordable, including by introducing minimum pricing, for example though increased tax rates, and by banning any '2-for-1' type offers or other discounting. Other suggestions included higher taxation rates/levies for more powerful, noisier fireworks.

On a similar theme of making fireworks less appealing there were a range of comments about not being able to advertise fireworks, not selling fireworks in colourful packaging or with colourful displays designed to attract children or young people, or keeping fireworks locked away and out of sight in the same way that the sale of cigarettes is now controlled.

Controls on the amount or type of fireworks that can be purchased were also proposed. This was sometimes associated with concerns that people may be stockpiling fireworks, and that this may raise very serious concerns relating to unsafe storage of explosives in domestic properties. In line with the higher prices issue raised above, there were also suggestions that only less powerful or quieter/silent fireworks should be available for sale. Silent fireworks are discussed further at Question 10.

Views of those who did not think there should more controls on sales

Around 280 respondents who did not think there should be more controls on the sale of fireworks went on to make a further comment.

The most frequently made comment was that existing firework-related controls, or controls over the sale of fireworks specifically, are appropriate or sufficient. For example, a Fireworks professional or representative body respondent commented that the safety, storage and sale of fireworks in the UK is one the most regulated of any industry.

There were also suggestions that the issue is not with the controls themselves, but with their enforcement, or perceived lack thereof. For example:

Sufficient legislation exists controlling firework sale. The enforcement of that legislation, or lack of it, is the area that needs to be reviewed.

Individual respondent

A Fireworks retailer or supplier respondent reported that they are subject to checks by the local authority, Police Scotland, SFRS and their insurers. They also noted that they are members of the British Pyrotechnists Association (BPA) and that their trained staff provide a range of safety advice to customers.

Question 5 - What are your views on banning the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland?

Figure 5: Question 5 – What are your views on banning the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland? (n = 16,353)

Figure 5: Question 5 – What are your views on banning the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland?

A majority of respondents, 87% of those answering the question, would welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland. Of the remaining respondents, 10% would not welcome a ban and 4% were unsure. Individual respondents were much more likely than organisations to think there should be a ban - at 87% and 40% respectively.

Question 5 was the only closed question at which a greater proportion of respondents of one type answered 'No'; the proportion of organisational respondents that would not welcome a ban being 43% as opposed to the 40% that welcomed a ban. A relatively high 17% of organisations were unsure at Question 5.

Views of those who favoured banning sale to the public

Around 12,230 respondents who would welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland went on to make a further comment.

Impact on animals

Very much reflecting the themes covered at Question 3, the most frequently made point was that animals in general, and pets in particular, would be better protected if the general public were not able to access fireworks for their own use. There were particular references to dogs, cats or horses, but also to other types of pet, including rabbits and birds. Respondents also made specific reference to reducing or removing the impact of fireworks on both livestock and/or wildlife. For example:

Too many animals including wildlife, farm animals, and household pets are traumatised unnecessarily and some even die of shock.

Individual respondent

Misuse or antisocial use of fireworks

Also as at Question 3, respondents often associated animals being distressed or injured by fireworks with their misuse or antisocial use and/or with the locations in which fireworks are set off.

Many of the reports were of fireworks being used in places which respondents considered inappropriate, such as back gardens in built-up residential areas. Concerns were sometimes connected to a perception of risk associated with the proximity of neighbouring properties, over-hanging trees and poor or reckless decisions by those letting off fireworks relating to wind strength or direction.

In other cases, respondents referred to people using fireworks in places or ways that are illegal under current legislation. For example, there were reports of fireworks being let off in:

  • Public spaces, including in residential areas. There were references to parks and playgrounds but also to the grounds of schools or other public buildings, car parks or on patches of waste ground.
  • The street, including being thrown at cars, buses or pedestrians.
  • Closes or stairwells. There were also reports of fireworks being placed in people's rubbish bins or put through their letterboxes.

Some respondents felt that it was often young people who are responsible for using fireworks in the street or targeting people or their property. This was often connected with a view that fireworks can make their way into the hands of under-18s:

Every year without fail in our village there are young ones terrorising people with fireworks and even the police have to drive by because it is so dangerous. It's not just young ones throwing at other young ones, but they are throwing fireworks at parents with children in prams, animals and elderly, even posting through letter boxes and at cars.

Individual respondent

Others did note, however, that people of any age can and do misuse fireworks.

Role of and impact on public services

The role of the emergency and other public services was highlighted by many respondents.

Although some respondents thought that the Police do not prioritise tackling antisocial behaviour associated with fireworks, the considerable majority of those raising this issue saw it as a resourcing issue, including because of a perceived increase in the scale and severity of misuse of fireworks. This was sometimes associated with particular times of year and locations, including around Bonfire night and in parts of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Very much reflecting the concerns of respondents who did not support either a ban or greater controls on sale or use of fireworks, there were suggestions that the current regulations are not enforced or that any changes made in the future will only be of value if they are enforced.

The impact of widespread antisocial behaviour involving fireworks on the emergency and public services more widely was also noted. Respondents spoke of their deep concern about images of fire crews or the police being attacked, including with fireworks being used as 'weapons' against them. More generally, it was noted that fireworks are explosives which are inherently dangerous in their own right, but especially dangerous when used inappropriately or illegally. It was noted that society has clear rules controlling other weapons, including guns or the carrying of knives, but does not appear to apply the same standards to fireworks.

The potential for fireworks to cause injury, whether intentionally or otherwise and whether to the person letting them off or someone else, was highlighted, including by a small number of respondents who identified themselves as working within key public services.

In addition to commenting on the impact the misuse of fireworks has on the police and fire services, the impact on the NHS was often highlighted, including that dealing with firework-related injuries places an avoidable and unnecessary drain on a service that is already under pressure. A third sector non animal-related respondent commented on potential savings to NHS Scotland from not having to treat some horrific physical injuries, along with the psychological impact on those affected, while an Individual respondent described their own experience:

I work as a paediatric nurse in theatres. The life changing injuries we see are horrific. The lengthy and painful treatment these children go through could have been avoided...

Individual respondent

Frequency of use of fireworks

More generally respondents saw part of the problem as being that fireworks are now being let off so frequently and outwith what might be seen as the celebrations traditionally associated with their use. A community council respondent and a Community group respondent were amongst those commenting on the frequent or indiscriminate use of fireworks.

Respondents spoke of neighbours letting off fireworks as part of a range of celebrations, including for christenings, Christmas, birthdays, graduations or in connection with sporting events. Participants at consultation events also felt that the number of privately held displays has increased over recent years and more people are using fireworks to celebrate events such as birthdays and weddings.

The connection with setting off fireworks while under the influence of alcohol was sometimes made by respondents, along with the back-garden settings referred to earlier. Respondents also spoke of the increased number of venues, including those hosting weddings, that now stage frequent but otherwise unpredictable displays.

The frequency and unpredictably with which fireworks are now being let off was sometimes linked to the inability to prepare and protect pets and livestock. With reference to wedding venues, it was noted that these are often in rural locations, or are on the edges of towns of cities, and that their firework displays can cause particular issues for those with livestock or horses in surrounding fields.

Impact on particular types of people

Others, including those attending consultation events, highlighted the impact that hearing fireworks, particularly when unexpected, can have on themselves, family members or potentially vulnerable members of society. There were specific references to:

  • People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with frequent reference to those who have served in the armed forces. More generally, there were references to veterans.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers, and especially those who have lived in war zones.
  • Older people, including those with experience of living through the Second World War.
  • People with dementia.
  • People with mental health problems and suffering from anxiety.
  • Children, and especially small children and babies.
  • People with sensory issues.
  • Autistic people, and especially autistic children.

One respondent explained the impact that fireworks have on their own life:

I am a retired soldier who suffers from PTSD and hyper-vigilance. I also have pets. Late October through to January is awful. People just randomly setting off fireworks all hours of the day and night... I like watching and experiencing firework displays, I just get such a fright when they go off and I've had no warning. My mind like a lot of soldiers interprets a loud bang to a gun shot or an explosion which it is. It's so scary.

Individual respondent

As above, concerns about the impact on some individuals were often about lack of warning that fireworks would being going off, but also about the level of noise some fireworks now make; this was associated with a view that fireworks are getting noisier and becoming more powerful and/or that 'display grade' fireworks are now becoming easily accessible to the general public.

Times of day or night

There were also concerns that fireworks are being let off at inappropriate times of day or night, including during daylight hours or after the 11pm curfew. Again, this was associated with being particularly distressing for vulnerable people and as disturbing the sleep of children in particular. It was noted that daytime fireworks can disturb the sleep of shift workers.

In terms of solutions to the problems identified, some respondents made a general statement in support of banning the sale of fireworks to the general public, including as the best way to protect and promote community safety and wellbeing. This view was often paired with a suggestion, including from a community council respondent and an Animal-related third sector or community group respondent, that only organised and/or licensed firework displays should be permitted. Very much summing up a range of the issues covered earlier, one individual respondent commented:

Quite frankly I don't think they should be sold to the public at all. I think fireworks should only be used at organised firework displays to protect people, animals and property. I firmly believe that this would cut down on the number of fireworks related injuries and fires thereby reducing the demand on medical and fire services, as well as reducing the stress that household pets, small children, people suffering PTSD are subjected to, and reducing potential antisocial behaviour.

Individual respondent

Some of those who referred to organised displays were amongst those who felt that a licensing-based approach – either the licensing of specific events, or of particular people or companies who are trained in the use of fireworks, should underpin any future approach. For example, an Animal-related third sector or community group respondent proposed a licensing system whereby fireworks can be sold to licensed venues only and local authorities would take the location of a venue into account before granting a licence. They also recommended restricting the number of licensed venues per area to limit the impact on dogs.

In addition to being able to introduce safety-focused controls, respondents also noted that having only organised displays would mean that, with the current risk of 'random' use by members of the public removed, people would know that fireworks were to be used and would be able to take measures to protect themselves, vulnerable people in their care, their pets or livestock.

There were also calls for the use of lower decibel or silent fireworks. This issue is discussed further at Question 10. Finally, and in terms of any future approach, respondents highlighted similar issues around enforcement to those covered at the previous question. In particular, respondents suggested that banning the sale of fireworks to the public should dramatically reduce the number of fireworks in circulation and, by default, should make it easier to identify and 'police' any misuse or illegal sales or possession. The issue of enforcement was also a theme highlighted by those who did not agree with banning the sale of fireworks.

Views of those who did not favour banning sale to the public

Around 920 respondents who would not welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public went on to make a further comment.

Most frequently, respondents suggested that many people enjoy being able to use - and by extension buy – fireworks. It was suggested that most people who use fireworks do so responsibly and, on a connected point, that any ban would effectively penalise or punish the law abiding. For example:

A ban would ruin the fun and experience of families who act responsibly. People who act responsibly should not be punished because others can't behave in a manner that abides by the law and takes other people and animals into consideration.

Individual respondent

A fireworks retailer or supplier respondent, a professional or representative body respondent and a Community group respondent were among the organisations suggesting a ban on sales would seem unfair to those who behave responsibly.

For some respondents, a possible ban raised issues of principle, with some comments about a possible ban equating it to an infringement of civil liberties, or being undemocratic or the action of an overbearing, nanny state. Others referred to a ban seeming to be an over-reaction which, in any case, would not tackle to the real issue of general antisocial behaviour:

Banning fireworks is papering over the cracks. The problem isn't fireworks, it's antisocial behaviour... Banning fireworks won't reduce antisocial behaviour.

Individual respondent

Other issues or concerns raised by respondents who did not favour a ban on sale to the public included:

  • The type of people who currently misuse fireworks will not be constrained by a ban; in particular a ban would risk the creation of an entirely unregulated black-market in potentially very dangerous, sub-standard fireworks. A small number of organisations, including two local authority respondents, were amongst those concerned that a ban could result in firework sales going beyond the reach of enforcement authorities.
  • A ban would be a Central Belt-centric response to a largely urban problem and to recent events in Glasgow in particular. There is no reason why those living in the rest of Scotland, and in rural Scotland, should miss out as a result.
  • There may be many people who cannot attend organised events either because, as above, they live in a remote, rural areas or because they are unable to attend an organised event because of mobility or other issues. It is not fair that they should be denied access to the enjoyment of watching fireworks.

A fireworks professional or representative body respondent suggested that having differing legislation on sale and use of fireworks in Scotland and the rest of the UK would simply lead to firework tourism. They went on to comment that evidence from other countries suggests that restricting the sale and use in one country can lead to consumers travelling to an adjacent country to buy fireworks with the unintended consequence that fireworks continue to be used but are now transported in greater quantities in private cars over longer distances.

The small number of respondents who said they were 'unsure' at Question 5 and then went on to comment (around 240 respondents) tended to raise similar issues to those who did not favour there being a ban on sale of fireworks to the general public.

A small number of organisations were amongst those choosing the unsure option and going on to comment. An Animal-related third sector or community group respondent noted that they would like to see the sale of fireworks banned to members of the public in Scotland but that the sale of fireworks is a reserved matter. They had a concern that, if fireworks were banned completely, there would be a risk that trade would be pushed underground and suggested that a licensing scheme that includes restricted times as to when and where fireworks can be used, together with the appropriate enforcement in place would help minimise the impact of fireworks on local communities.

Use of fireworks

Legislation covering the use of fireworks in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This means that the Scottish Parliament can change or pass laws in relation to those issues as they apply to Scotland.

Restrictions are placed on when fireworks can be used. During most of the year fireworks can only be used between 7am and 11pm. On 5th November fireworks can be used until midnight, and on the nights of Chinese New Year, Diwali and New Year's Eve fireworks can be used until 1am. It is for each local authority to decide if it wishes to license public firework displays under its Public Entertainment Licensing regime.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to throw, cast or fire any fireworks in or into any road or public place and this is enforced by Police Scotland.

Question 6 - Do you think there should be more controls on how fireworks can be used in Scotland?

Figure 6: Question 6 – Do you think there should be more controls on how fireworks can be used in Scotland? (n = 16,290)

Figure 6: Question 6 – Do you think there should be more controls on how fireworks can be used in Scotland?

A very substantial majority, 92% of those answering the question, thought there should be more controls over how fireworks can be used in Scotland. Individual respondents were more likely than organisations to think there should be more controls – at 92% and 73% respectively.

Views of those who favoured more controls on use

Around 12,980 respondents who favoured more controls on how fireworks can be used in Scotland went on to make a further comment. A professional or representative body respondent suggested that current controls could benefit from an evidence-based review, but that being clear where and why there are problems is vital. They identified noise levels, air quality, greater controls over more limited periods when fireworks can be let off, the classification of fireworks, licensed sellers and the enforcement of existing provisions as areas that any review might consider.

Otherwise, and as noted at Question 4, the themes raised at Question 6 were very similar to those covered under the previous questions, and the focus of the analysis here is on issues raised about use of fireworks.

Organised or licensed displays

Most frequently, respondents commented on organised displays, with the vast majority making clear that they favoured the use of fireworks only at organised or licensed displays. Comments about licensing (as discussed at Question 4), included connecting organised displays with being licensed or only being carried out by licensed or registered companies or individuals. There were also references to needing to apply for a specific licence for each or any event. For example:

I think there should be controls on use of fireworks so that they can only be used by people who hold a licence. Licences could be applied for by people who are organising an event.

Individual respondent

This need for an event-specific licence was sometimes connected with controlling the circumstances and number of occasions on which event venues, and particularly venues that host weddings, can release fireworks. In line with some of the issues discussed below about the timing of firework release, an Animal-related third sector or community group respondent noted their concern that hotels, venues or wedding parties are free to hold firework displays any day of the year up until 11pm. They also noted that local authority dispensations during the 11pm to 7am period will not be granted if there is a risk of 'death of animals or injury or distress to animals'. However, they felt it is unrealistic to expect local authorities to differentiate between the risk of injury and distress to animals just prior to or after 11pm, and queried how any risk is measured.

Otherwise, the advantages identified as stemming from a licensing system and/or allowing only organised events included that there could be a requirement for a named, responsible person for each display or that there could be robust safety checks or risk assessment requirements.

Restrictions on dates or times when fireworks can be used

The frequency with which fireworks are being used, and a sense that their use is increasingly unpredictable and random was a theme covered at Question 5. In response, respondents sometimes suggested controls on the dates or number of days on which fireworks can be used, often making general statements, but sometimes referring explicitly to controls relating to use by the general public or to controls for organised or licensed displays.

In addition to general comments that the occasions or number of days should be restricted, there were specific suggestions that the use of fireworks should be restricted to: one or two nights a year; 5th November, sometimes including the weekend(s) closest to 5th November; and New Year's Eve. There were also occasional references to dates with a religious or cultural significance for different sections of Scotland's population:

I would like to see each local authority area agree to specific dates each year where fireworks may be used, restricted to no more than five: New Year/ Chinese New Year/ Diwali/ 5 November. If any of the latter fall on a week night, a further date of the closest weekend night would be allowed.

Individual respondent

There were also a small number of references to the festival of Eid.

In addition, there were calls for stricter controls on the times at which fireworks can be released. Suggestions tended to coalesce around a period of 2 or 3 hours in the evening during which fireworks might be used.

Penalties for misuse

A consistent, if lower level theme across questions was in relation to the penalties for anyone who misuses fireworks. As noted at Question 4, it was suggested that anyone mis-selling fireworks should have their licence to sell revoked or be prosecuted. There were also suggestions that anyone licensed to use fireworks or hold organised displays, including licensed venues, should have licences revoked or be prosecuted, if regulations are broken.

In terms of the general public, and also reflecting the comments of those who did not support a ban or further controls on sales, there were suggestions that fines, increased fines or prosecution should follow on from misuse.

Views of those who did not think there should more controls on use

Around 540 respondents who did not think there should be more controls over the use of fireworks in Scotland went on to make a comment. As at Question 4, the most frequently made comment was that existing firework-related controls are appropriate or sufficient. For example, a local authority respondent commented that fireworks are safe if used in accordance with instructions, and Police Scotland have powers to deal with anti-social behaviour in relation to the misuse of fireworks.

Again, there were concerns that any tightening of the controls over use would impact on the wrong people, and in any case may not have an impact on misuse. For example:

Current controls are sufficient. Further controls would disproportionately disadvantage responsible law-abiding individuals and would likely have little effect on antisocial/illicit use - people who break the law using fireworks in a dangerous or antisocial way at present are hardly likely to be deterred by new laws.

Individual respondent

Otherwise, there were queries as to whether the misuse of fireworks is really getting any worse or whether a small but vocal minority is driving what would be an unpopular agenda across the population of Scotland as a whole.


Contact

Email: fireworksconsultation@gov.scot