A CONSULTATION into new legislation on the sale and use of fireworks has been given a "cautious welcome" by activists.

Campaigners began to push the Scottish Government to create changes to how pyrotechnics can be sold and used after terrifying scenes in Pollokshields on Bonfire Night 2019.

Now the government has published details of a proposed new bill - and the public has eight weeks to give feedback.

Pollokshields anti-fireworks campaigner Danny Phillips said: "I cautiously welcome the consultation.

"It has the potential to make quite a difference, firstly the no firework areas and secondly, is the proposed licensing system.

"The devil will be in the detail because it needs other agencies to implement these things so we need the councils to be brave and use the legislation - we could have the possibility for no fireworks areas but they are never used.

"Where communities have problems we need to speak to communities and find out what they need.

"For licensing, they say people will need a licence to buy fireworks but will that just be a tick box system or will people have to pay for a licence, which will make a greater difference?

"My reading of the proposal is that people will be able to buy 5kg of fireworks per purchase - that's a lot.

"And does that mean people can go round multiple stores and buy 5kg in each place?"

Glasgow Times:

The proposed Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill follows the report of an independent Fireworks Review Group, which recommended tightening legislation to reduce harm caused by fireworks.

It would create a new offence of carrying a pyrotechnic device in a public place without reasonable excuse or lawful authority.

And it would extend police powers to allow stop and search in relation to carrying pyrotechnics without a justifiable cause.

Other proposals include the introduction of an offence to criminalise the supply of adult fireworks to people under the age of 18 – and the introduction of ‘no firework’ areas.

The proposed Bill is in addition to new regulations laid in the Scottish Parliament in February, which come into force at the end of June, restricting the times of day and the volume of fireworks that can be supplied to the public - as well as the times fireworks can be set off.

In 2019 a public consultation on fireworks received 16,000 results - the largest response to a government consultation in Scotland.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: “Following the overwhelming results of the public consultation on fireworks that took place in 2019 it was clear fireworks are an important issue to the people of Scotland and that there is a strong appetite for change to improve safety.

“To help us consider the issue I appointed an independent Review Group of experts who concluded that a fundamental shift is needed in how fireworks are accessed and used.

“A number of the group’s recommendations required legislation and we have moved quickly to lay regulations which will see progress for communities across Scotland in time for this year’s fireworks period.

"The remaining Review Group recommendations require primary legislation which is why we are publishing this consultation."

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Plastic Surgery Registrar Eleanor Robertson added: “We are delighted that recommendations from the Firework Review Group have been swiftly translated into impactful draft legislation.

“The proposed firework legislation in Scotland will introduce controls and safeguards at purchase and limit the time and location of their use.

“This will reduce the incidence of psychologicGlasgow Times: al distress and physical harm, whilst still permitting their use at celebratory events.”


Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Linda Jones said the unauthorised use of pyrotechnics is a criminal offence and of significant concern to police.

Officers in Pollokshields have, over the past two years, carried out enhanced policing in the area around Bonfire Night to try to cut down on crime.

Linda said: "Pyrotechnics can burn at up to 1200 Celsius and have the potential to cause fatal or life-changing injuries to users and by-standers.

"They can emit chemicals which can trigger respiratory problems and cause irritation to eyes. The discharge of pyrotechnics can also cause panic within crowded spaces.

"There is no safe way to operate pyrotechnics unless you are properly trained – leave it to the experts at organised events."

Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation David Hamilton added: “In Scotland alone, scores of police officers and members of the public have been injured by pyrotechnic devices.

"This legislation would empower police officers to deal with this danger and would lead to safer streets and safer events for all.”

Firework misuse is also of significant concern to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens said: "It is clear that the inappropriate use of fireworks can cause harm and serious injury and can distress people, pets and the wider community.

"In a minority of cases, fireworks are linked to anti-social behaviour which can put our crews and our partners at risk whilst drawing unnecessarily on our emergency service resources.

"We therefore welcome any measures to keep our communities safe, including this Bill, and we join with the Minister in encouraging everyone with an interest to have their say.”

Among the many responses to the initial 2019 consultation were animal lovers and pet owners with concerns about fireworks.

Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: "We were proud to be part of the Fireworks Review Group and delighted that these recommendations are being taken forward. The introduction of ‘no fireworks zones’ will help stop animals suffering from stress caused by fireworks.”

While welcoming the proposals, Danny was critical of the pace of change.

He added: "It looks highly unlikely that this will be ready for November 5 this year, which means this is the third November since we were promised action.

"All we have ever had was promises and words and all we have now is promises and words.

"It is really important that people give their views and take part in this consultation because it represents a victory for community campaigning."

Read the consultation at consult.gov.scot/justice/use-and-sale-of-fireworks-in-scotland