Summary of Recommendations
As a Group, having considered all of the evidence available, and through many months of discussion and deliberation, we have come to the conclusion that a fundamental shift is required in how fireworks are accessed and used through the introduction of a comprehensive set of measures. These are outlined in the recommendations set out below, and we recommend these are implemented as soon as is practically possible.
These recommendations are focussed primarily on the private use of consumer fireworks and are designed to support a step change in how people access and use such fireworks. The purpose is not to prevent adults using fireworks sensibly and safely – instead the recommendations are designed to reduce the unplanned and spontaneous purchase and use of fireworks, moving it towards becoming a more scheduled and planned activity where all safety requirements and the impact on others has been fully considered.
We also recommend a number of related actions are progressed to ensure any potential negative or unintended consequences are proactively acknowledged and, as far as possible, mitigated against, along with important recommendations in the areas of enforcement and evaluation.
The British Fireworks Association (BFA) has been represented on the Group and has actively contributed to the discussions we have had and conclusions we have drawn. We hope the report highlights the concerns they have raised during this process, particularly around the potential for unintended consequences which are covered in Section 5. However, the BFA has indicated that they do not feel able to support the recommendations that are outlined in the report.
“A fundamental shift is required in how fireworks are accessed and used.”
Recommendation One: A complete ban on the sale of consumer fireworks is not introduced at this time given the risk of unintended consequences.
Recommendation Two: Mandatory conditions are introduced before consumers are able to purchase fireworks.
Recommendation Three: The times of day fireworks can be sold and the volume of fireworks that can be purchased should be restricted. Full consideration should be given to those how different people and groups will be impacted by this, and an equalities impact assessment should be carried out to prevent any potential discrimination and identify opportunities to promote equality.
Recommendation Four: The days and times fireworks can be set off should be further restricted.
Recommendation Five: A provision should be made for no fireworks areas / zones to be introduced where it is not possible for fireworks to be set off, with local communities having a key role in influencing this.
Recommendation Six: The introduction of a proxy purchasing offence so adults are not able to give fireworks to children under the age of 18 without prosecution.
Recommendation Seven: Sufficient monitoring processes are put in place alongside these changes to fully understand the impact that these have, and a full review of impact should be carried out 3-5 years following implementation.
Recommendation Eight: Full consideration is given to which organisation(s) will be required to enforce these new measures while ensuring this is twinned with full consideration of resourcing requirements. And going forward, the Scottish Government works closely with enforcement agencies to identify, share and promote examples of good practice across local community safety partners.
Recommendation Nine: Building on the issues we have identified, a full business impact assessment of the recommended changes is carried out to identify the likely costs, benefits and risks of these changes alongside the identification of measures to, where possible, minimise and mitigate these.
Recommendation Ten: Adequate monitoring is put in place to proactively track the illegal sale of fireworks in Scotland, and ensure adequate mitigations are put in place to coincide with the introduction of new measures. The Scottish Government keep abreast of work being taken forward by UK Government working with Local Authority Trading Standards to reduce the flow of unsafe products within the UK.
Recommendation Eleven: The commissioning of research by Scottish Government to evaluate the wider health and environmental consequence of firework use in Scotland.