This Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) considers the impact of the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill on children and young people.
The proposals included within the Bill deliver on a commitment made in the Programme for Government 2021-2022 to change how fireworks are sold and used in Scotland with the aim of protecting public and community safety and wellbeing by ensuring fireworks do not cause harm, distress or injury; and to address the misuse of pyrotechnics.
The components of the Bill will introduce a package of new measures to protect communities and individuals in Scotland from harm, distress or serious injury.
The measures within the Bill have the potential to indirectly affect children and young people as members of the wider community, as part of households/communities where fireworks may be used, and as attendees of events where pyrotechnic misuse takes place.
The irresponsible or incorrect use of fireworks and pyrotechnic articles poses a risk of harm, including to the individual misusing the item as well as to bystanders. Protecting children, and others, from such harm is why it is already an offence for fireworks to be sold to anyone under the age of 18, or for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place. Similarly, the minimum age limit for the commercial supply of category P1 and T1 pyrotechnics available to the general public is also 18.
The creation of a proxy purchase and supply offence for fireworks and pyrotechnics within this Bill, therefore, additionally criminalises the supply of fireworks and pyrotechnic articles to people under the age of 18 outwith a commercial setting. This provides additional protection from harm for children and young people – both in terms of physical risk from firework and pyrotechnic misuse, and in terms of possible manipulation by adults to carry, for example, pyrotechnic articles into crowded events. These provisions also impact on children and young people who may wish to take possession of and/or use a pyrotechnic article provided to them by an adult, with the adult no longer being legally able to supply this (with exceptions). The Scottish Government believes the benefits of ensuring children and young people under-18 do not have access to pyrotechnic articles that could cause harm if misused, make these provisions proportionate and necessary.
The creation of new criminal offences also has the potential to impact any child or young person committing one of the new offences.
The specific provisions with the potential to impact children and young people in the ways outlined above are:
- A requirement for the general public and community groups to apply for and obtain a valid fireworks licence before they can purchase, acquire, possess or use fireworks, with licence holders requiring to be age 18 or above;
- Restricting the days fireworks can be sold by retailers to the general public, and the days that fireworks can be used by the general public;
- The power for local authorities to designate an area as a Firework Control Zone, where the general public will not be permitted to use fireworks;
- The creation of an offence for a person, without reasonable excuse, to possess a pyrotechnic article, including a firework, while the person is (a) travelling to, in the immediate vicinity of, or attending a designated venue or event, or (b) travelling to, participating in, or otherwise attending a public procession or a public assembly;
- A proxy purchasing and supply offence to criminalise the supply of fireworks and (without just cause) pyrotechnic articles to people under the age of 18.
These legislative changes aim to promote the safe and appropriate use of fireworks and pyrotechnic articles, and reduce the negative impact they can have. It will do this through the combination of measures to:
- Reduce the volume of fireworks being set off outside of organised firework displays, and their associated noise and disturbance.
- Reduce the burden on emergency services in preparing for and responding to firework related incidents.
- Reduce firework related harm and injury; and ensure fireworks are used safely by the public.
- Enable those negatively affected by fireworks to be better aware of where and when fireworks will be set off, enabling them to take preventative and mitigating action.
- Reduce the risk of harm and distress caused by the misuse of pyrotechnics at certain sporting and music events, and at public assemblies.
The Bill contributes to the fulfilment of, or otherwise relates to, 10 articles of the UNCRC.
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