Publication - Independent report

Firework Review Group: report to the Scottish Government

The final report from the Firework Review Group presents recommendations to Scottish Ministers on tightening legislation on fireworks in Scotland.

Firework Review Group: report to the Scottish Government
Annex B Summary of Legislation And Enforcement

Annex B Summary of Legislation And Enforcement

Fireworks Legislation and Regulations
Legislation Enforcement Responsibility Description Practical considerations
Product Safety and Standards
Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 Trading Standards
  • Construction and markings/packaging of fireworks.
  • Trading Standards services are involved with importers and manufacturers of fireworks, and generally inspect stock in licensed retail premises for compliance with requirements on construction, marking and technical compliance with relevant standards. There are a very limited number of such producers/importers in Scotland, and anecdotally Trading Standards do not see significant numbers of non-compliant stock being retailed in traditional premises.
The Explosives Regulation 2014 The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 Regulation on Accreditation and Market Surveillance (RAMS) 765/2008 Trading Standards
  • Trading Standards are responsible for broader market surveillance (i.e. ensuring compliance with safety requirements on all consumer goods) at Scottish ports to ensure compliance where this is from a 3rd country.
  • This will not cover 'imports' from EU countries at present as these are not controlled at point of import through free circulation rules.
  • Trading Standards have run the available data relating to Pyrotechnics importation from 2018 to 2020 and are unable to find any importers of known concern, especially coming directly into Scotland. This is not to say that these are not being brought into the country, but would seem to indicate that their importation routes exist out with Scotland (or that they are being mis-declared/brought in in small quantities). The bulk of this is coordinated by Suffolk Trading Standards Team (Felixtowe) as a single point of contact.
  • Trading Standards has indicated that some intelligence exists relating to the self-importation from other EU countries, but this would be substantially the remit of Border Force.
Fireworks Storage
Fireworks Regulations 2004 And Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER14) Local Authority Trading Standards
  • Under Fireworks Regulations, retailers wishing to sell fireworks must hold an All Year Sales Licences storage licence. Otherwise ER14 licence is required.
  • Requires retailer to meet strict criteria for storage of fireworks.
  • Local authorities deal with up to 2 tonnes net explosive content.
  • Premises generally inspected by Trading Standards Officers each year to ensures measures are adequate to ensure safe storage.
  • Under ER14 Reg 20(2) Trading Standards can refuse or revoke a licence based on unsuitable storage and have the power to revoke a licence if they deem the person unfit to hold an explosives licence.
  • There is HSE guidance on refusals and revocations including Explosives Licences since September 2019-
  • House of Commons Petitions Cttee recommended the Government take action as soon as possible, and at the latest by April 2020, to clarify the 5kg storage rule by amending the relevant Regulations to explicitly state it applies to low hazard category F1 fireworks only.
  • The UKG responded that the Government believes that the exemption set out in Regulation 7 of ER2014 is appropriate as it enables limited, reasonable storage of small quantities of consumer fireworks and explosives for legitimate use. HSE will continue to provide guidance to support safe practices. HSE also publishes guidance on its website to support the safe storage of fireworks.
Sale of Fireworks
Fireworks Regulations 2004 And Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER14) Local Authority Trading Standards / Licencing
  • Regulation 9 requires suppliers of adult fireworks to hold a licence, except at traditional selling periods[16].
  • Licences are granted by the appropriate local authority, which must refuse a licence unless the applicant complies with relevant statutory requirements concerning the keeping of fireworks which regulated under ER14.
  • Trading Standards are responsible for the unlicensed sale of fireworks and the supply of fireworks out with the permitted periods.
  • Some Trading Standards services will administer the licencing / registration regime themselves. Others will do this via a centralised licencing department.
Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 Regulation 31 Trading Standards
  • Makes it an offence for an economic operator to make fireworks available on the market to anyone under 18 years. (Sale/Supply)
  • Trading Standards have the power to carry out test purchasing for underage sales in line with identified concerns.
  • Many authorities will attempt test purchases for age restricted compliance where there is sufficient intelligence relating to specific premises.
  • Proactive work in the area of Age Restricted Sales ensures that existing retailers are aware that spot checks are being made, which drives higher compliance. There is no uniform approach to these matters as they are substantially locally managed according to local priorities. The level of proactive enforcement activity in these areas has reduced in recent years as a natural consequence of the resource constraints placed upon local authority Trading Standards Services.
Fireworks Regulations 2004 Trading Standards
  • Online sale of fireworks are regulated by Trading Standards in the same way as conventional sales.
  • All supplies of fireworks irrespective of the medium of the supply, are governed by the relevant legislation.
  • The nature of online sales makes enforcement challenging.
  • Online purchase of fireworks is an area which could pose some challenges in the future but the scale of this is currently unknown.
  • Online sales are substantially uncontrolled, although these may be dealt with by Border Force if these are identified. Smaller individual packages would require an enormous resource to monitor and police, which is unlikely to be proportionate.
  • Trading Standards do not currently have an intelligence picture which would allow 'illegal importation' to be linked to antisocial behaviour.
  • Trading Standards participate at a national and local level in Operation Moonbeam (and associated Ops) and Trading Standards locally may also become involved in controlling the illicit supply of fireworks e.g. via social media working in conjunction with colleagues in partner agencies. These arrangements are substantially locally managed.
  • House of Commons Petitions Cttee recommended the Government conduct a review of online sales of fireworks, with a particular focus on sales via social media, with a view to establishing a national, cross-agency strategy to tackle the problem.
  • The UKG responded that OPSS is working with Local Authority Trading Standards to lead a pilot project aimed at reducing the flow of unsafe products through fulfilment houses within the UK. The project includes capturing more data on fulfilment activity within the UK and disrupting the activity of any fulfilment houses supplying unsafe products. While the project does not focus on fireworks, the lessons learned can be applied more widely to other sectors as necessary.
Explosives Regulations 2014 (Reg 9) Trading Standards
  • Not permitted to havemore than 50 kilograms of fireworks unless person holds a valid licence for the storage of those fireworks.
  • Not permitted to sell or otherwise transfer to any person more than 50 kilograms of fireworks unless that person shows to the person selling or otherwise transferring the fireworks a valid licence for the storage by Person B of those fireworks.
Explosives Act 1875, Section 30 Local Authorities/ Trading Standards
  • Fireworks shall not be hawked, sold, or exposed for sale upon any highway, street, public thoroughfare, or road or in any public place.
Use of Fireworks
The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulation 2004 Police Scotland
  • Sets a curfew on adult firework use between 11pm – 7am with the exceptions:
  • Until 0100hrs on the nights of Chinese new Year/Diwali/New Year's Eve
  • Until 2400hrs on 5 November
  • Local Authority employees running local authority firework displays, national public celebrations or national commemorative events can be granted dispensations by a local authority to hold displays out with the restriction times detailed above.
The Fireworks (Scotland) Regulation 2004 Local Authorities
  • Local authorities are able to grant dispensations for special events such as local festivals or celebrations.
Misuse of Fireworks
Explosives Act 1875 (section 80) Police Scotland
  • Makes it an offence to let off a firework in a public place
  • This offence is punishable by fine.
  • Potential absence of dedicated power of search for fireworks based on reasonable grounds, where person aged 18 years or over is suspected of being in possession of fireworks for use in public contrary to legislation or common law.
  • However there is a lack of a basic 'possession charge' for over 18s therefore, the offence is not complete until the firework has been set off in public – this could be an offence under the Explosives Act or a Culpable and Reckless common law charge.
Environmental Protection Act 1990 Local Authorities
  • Excessive and persistent noise from fireworks could potentially constitute a 'statutory nuisance' under this legislation.
The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 Police Scotland
  • Regulation 31 of the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015:
  • An offence to expose adult firework for supply / supply adult fireworks to under 18's
  • An economic operator (i.e. retailer) must not sell category F1 fireworks to anyone under the age of 16; F2 and F3 category fireworks must not be sold to anyone under 18. The most powerful F4 category fireworks (display fireworks) must not be sold to members of the public; they can only be supplied to a person with specialist knowledge.
Fireworks Regulations 2004 Fireworks Act 2003 (S.11A – Power of Search) Police Scotland
  • An offence of possession of an adult firework by a person under 18 years in a public place.
  • Section 11a gives the power of search for this offence
  • Reg 6 Fireworks Regs 2004 provides the exemption for a retailer to possess and sell category 4 fireworks – this could be an area for a gap re a power of search. However, it would only be for category 4 fireworks.
  • Over the past few years Police Scotland has received intelligence regarding the sale of illegal fireworks, and selling fireworks to children - this is via online, at shops or within vehicles. All intelligence is explored further and tasked where appropriate.
Public Displays
Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (section 41) Licensing Authorities
  • Licensing Authorities may require organised firework displays to be licensed by way of a Public Entertainment Licence under section 41 of the 1982 Act.