Firework Review Group minutes: 27 October 2020

Minutes from the fourth meeting of the Firework Review Group, held on 27 October 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • Alasdair Hay, Chair
  • Alasdair Perry, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Andy Hubble, British Pyrotechnics Association (on behalf of Cliff Stonestreet)
  • Christopher Bell, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland
  • Donna Baillie, Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Eleanor Robertson, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Fraser Stevenson, British Fireworks Association
  • Gilly Mendez Ferreira, Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Gillian McNaught, Glasgow City Council
  • Hazel Scott, Police Scotland
  • Kathleen Robertson, British Veterinary Association
  • Lorraine Gillies, Scottish Community Safety Network
  • Mike Callaghan, CoSLA
  • Tim Ross, Police Scotland

Scottish Government

  • Eilidh Smith, Building Safer Communities
  • Elinor Findlay, Building Safer Communities
  • Hollie Gibson, Building Safer Communities
  • Kim Hunter, Building Safer Communities


  • Alison Kerr, Community Representative
  • Cliff Stonestreet, British Pyrotechnics Association
  • Jim Wilson, Veterans Scotland
  • Willie Black, Community Representative

Items and actions


  • Alasdair Hay opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending the final meeting of the Group and welcomed those in attendance. Alasdair thanked everyone for their work and commitment over the last 10 months and expressed his appreciation for their involvement.
  • Alasdair also thanked everyone for their comments on the final report and expressed his gratitude to the group members for meeting the required deadlines. Alasdair explained that final edits are in process and that the report would be finalised on Wednesday.
  • Alasdair asked the group comments on the note of the previous meeting. Fraser Stevenson asked for it to be amended to make clear the Fireworks industry offered assistance to members of the group throughout the process for content and messaging for campaigns, not just future campaign. It was agreed that the note will be updated accordingly.

Action: Secretariat group to update the note of the previous meeting.

Bonfire Night 2020 Planning

  • Eilidh Smith gave a final overview of bonfire night planning for this year and the current relevant Covid-19 guidance, where presently standing outdoor events are not allowed and the majority of the fireworks displays have already been cancelled. Eilidh also noted that the new five-tier Strategic framework would come into place on Monday the 2nd November. Current Covid guidance would allow the use of fireworks outside in private property with a maximum of six attendees from two households.
  • The three Scottish Government public awareness and safety campaigns had successfully launched and all included public safety and health messaging. Information has been included on the Parent Club website providing advice and guidance, and alterative activities to parents and carers. 
  • The Minister for Community Safety met with SRFS and Police’s gold commanders to discuss Operation Moonbeam planning; and the Minister will  update Parliament on planning ahead of Bonfire night along with the recommendations from the Review group in a Statement on the 3rd November.
  • A number of questions and points were raised during the update:
    • Fraser queried why his fireworks retail shop in Glasgow had not received the Scottish Government safety leaflets. Eilidh explained that Trading Standards are in the process of delivering leaflets to local shops when carrying out site inspections, which are still ongoing. Eilidh agreed to contact Glasgow Trading Standards and Gillian to follow up.
    • Alasdair Perry gave an update on the work that SFRS are taking forward in the run up to bonfire night including the coordinated multi agency approach. Alasdair also mentioned information from Fraser regarding individuals stockpiling fireworks and noted that, while this has not been reported in Scotland that he contacted the Fire Chiefs Council on the issue and all local teams have been made aware.
    • Fraser expressed concern about unintended consequences of the potential ban the sale of fireworks in Scotland and referenced the Welsh lockdown, where he noted anecdotal evidence of people travelling to England to purchase fireworks in order to bypass the controls in place in Wales. Fraser highlighted that the BFA has written to the UK Government highlighting their concerns.
    • Gilly Mendez Ferreira confirmed the educational resource would be launched on 28th October and noted that 42 Primary Schools and 8 Secondary Schools had agreed to take part in an evaluation process. Gilly explained that a report would be drafted to evaluation and monitor the success of the campaign.
    • Fraser expressed that he was concerned about a local news report of a man fined £150 for firing fireworks at two police officers and expressed his disappointment in this response, and questioned whether the fine level was an appropriate deterrent to others. Lorraine expressed concern about excessive sentencing and  noted that the focus should be on identifying and implementing effective prevention strategies

Action: Eilidh to discuss with Gillian distribution of safety leaflets in Glasgow.

  • Elinor thanked the group for their work and comments on the Final Report. Elinor explained that the third version has been circulated for comment, and noted the addition of BFA comments.
  • Gilly and colleagues from SSPCA offered to design the artwork for the final report and asked for any additional comments to be made by 4pm. Alasdair Hay would send the report, on behalf of the Group, once finalised, to the Minister for Community Safety.
  • A number of questions and points were raised during the update:
    • The group thanked the secretariat team for pulling together the report and overall felt that it was representative of discussions and a well-balanced report.
    • Fraser stated the BFA do not support the recommendations in the report due to the risk of unintended consequences for tightening regulations. Alasdair noted that he fully appreciates the passion and concerns of the BFA but the group has highlight the unintended consequences and concerns within Final Report and recommendations.
    • Andy Hubble noted that BPA understand the concerns expressed by BFA.

Action: Final changes to be made to the final report, and final report to be shared with the Minister and published.   

Action: Details of the date and time of the Minister’s Parliamentary Statement to be shared with the group.

Next Steps and Closing Remarks

  • Elinor noted that  the Minister for Community Safety will consider the report and recommendations from the Review Group and publish a  formal reply in due course.   
  • Alasdair concluded that the Review Group’s aim is for fireworks to be used safely and appropriately and these change will be developed overtime, stressing the cultural shift is required.
  • Alasdair again expressed his sincere gratitude to the group and that he would be hopeful that the group would have future involvement as their expertise is invaluable.
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