Use and sale of fireworks, and tackling the misuse of pyrotechnics: consultation

We are seeking your views on changes to how fireworks can be sold and used in Scotland and the use of pyrotechnic devices.

Part Three: No-Firework Areas

16. The Fireworks Review Group recommended that a provision should be made for no-fireworks areas to be introduced where it is not permitted for fireworks to be set off by the general public, with local communities having a key role in influencing this. The Review Group recognised this as offering the potential for targeted localised approaches based on the specific circumstances within different areas and communities.

17. The Review Group suggested that further consideration is given to how this will work in practice but indicated that: local authorities should be provided with the power to introduce community level no-firework areas; the introduction of any no-firework areas should be informed by a local community consultation process; and there should be clear systems in place for communities to have a say in where these no-firework areas should be.

18. We recognise that for some communities fireworks are associated with celebration and important events that can bring friends, families and communities together. However, through the 2019 public consultation, we also heard distressing accounts from some communities of the impact fireworks can have, particularly in relation to anti-social behaviour and the misuse of fireworks; as well as calls for fireworks not to be used within set distances of specific locations such as animal shelters, livestock or hospitals to protect those who may be adversely impacted by the noise and disturbance of fireworks.

19. The Scottish Government proposes to introduce legislation to enable this recommendation to be implemented in practice. It will be important to ensure that this system is proportionate and fit for purpose, and forms part of the range of preventative and diversionary strategies that local partners currently utilise in planning and preparing for the safe and considerate use of fireworks within our communities. We therefore propose:

  • To give local authorities the power to introduce localities within their local authority area where it is not permitted for the general public to set off fireworks. It is proposed that these restrictions do not extend to community groups at publicly organised events or to professional fireworks operators.
  • The process for considering and authorising no-firework areas would be led by local authorities, in partnership with local communities and relevant public sector authorities including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The process should include consideration of alternative strategies and proportionality.
  • The decision to introduce a no-firework area should be clearly linked to evidence of the impact that the private use of fireworks is having within the area, informed by rigorous evidence to ensure no-firework areas are appropriate, proportionate and planned in response to persistent problems.
  • Consideration will need to be given to the criteria local authorities will need to assess in determining the size and location of any potential no firework areas, including for example, the noise and debris from fireworks.
  • Communities would have the opportunity to be actively involved in considering the feasibility and introduction of no-firework areas, and the decision to introduce no-firework areas should be undertaken in close consultation with communities.
  • The local authority would be responsible for ensuring that sufficient processes are in place to notify those who might be affected by no-firework areas. This could include publishing a notice within a local newspaper and displaying a notice in conspicuous places within the relevant area, as well as on relevant websites/social media.
  • Local authorities would determine the length of time a no-firework area is in place, in line with local evidence and consultation; but this must be reviewed on an annual basis.
  • The impact and effectiveness of no-firework areas would be monitored by the local authority.

20. Police Scotland is currently responsible for enforcing the use of fireworks within permitted times and places. Offences are punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (up to £5,000) or up to 6 months imprisonment, or both (as set out in section 11 of the Fireworks Act 2003). We propose that enforcement of any implemented firework-free areas would continue to sit with Police Scotland in line with existing penalties for non-compliance.

Consultation Questions

Question 10 a). Do you agree with the introduction of no-firework areas?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure.

Question 10 b). Please explain your answer.

Question 11 a). Do you agree that consideration, introduction and management of no-firework areas should be led by local authorities?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure.

Question 11 b). Please explain your answer.

Question 12. Please tell us if you have any comments in relation to how communities can be actively involved in considering the feasibility and introduction of no firework areas, and the decision to introduce these.

Question 13. Please tell us if you have any comments on the proposed process for how no-firework areas would be implemented, managed and reviewed.

Question 14. Please tell us if you have any comments in relation to the enforcement of no-firework areas.

Question 15. Please tell us if there are any other issues you think need to be considered in relation to no-fireworks areas.



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