Curbing the misuse of fireworks is something I’ve campaigned on since I was first elected in 2017.

So I was delighted to secure cross-party support this week for my proposal to establish a Fireworks Control Zone covering the entire Glasgow City Council area.

Fireworks Control Zones are new powers available to councils which make it an offence to set off most kinds of fireworks in certain areas.

A zone could set specific dates and times when the offences would be enforced and organised public displays are exempt. To use the powers there must be evidence of need and people must be consulted. 

The Council is inviting local communities to make requests for these Zones by June 12.

While local interest is welcome, I believe there should be a Fireworks Control Zone across the whole Glasgow City Council area.

As a first step, council officers have been instructed to gather evidence for a city-wide Zone, in particular by working with charities representing groups most adversely affected.

I believe the need for a city-wide zone is self-evident.

If we want to protect animals or people with extra vulnerabilities, such as sensory disorders, or a history of trauma, then very obviously these groups are not confined to one or two areas. It’s an issue in all our communities across the city.

In my ward, Pollokshields, there have been longstanding issues with misusing fireworks.

They have been handed out from car boots and used by (mostly) young men as weapons, being aimed at people, property, and at police and fire service workers.

Young children have been hospitalised. The barrage of fireworks lasts weeks, even months, all the time making many people afraid and terrifying pets.

This all carries a cost. There is significant pressure on already-stretched police and fire resources, as well as extra clean-up costs for the Council and a loss of trade for local businesses, with people afraid to leave their homes at night.

The legislation that led to Firework Control Zones followed a public meeting in Pollokshields – the best-attended I have ever been to – at which the then First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, committed to take action on this issue as far as possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

I’m proud that the Pollokshields community helped to inform the powers in the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act.

However, while new powers are welcome, I think we must still go further.

Almost three-quarters of people back restricting the general public sale of fireworks.

The Scottish Government has delayed introducing a new licensing scheme for buying fireworks and that is extremely disappointing.

The UK Government refuses to even consider using its overarching powers to restrict sales, despite strong support from many Conservative members and voters.

Whether these new powers make a difference remains to be seen. But what’s clear from all parties on Glasgow City Council is that if we want to end the dangerous and harmful use of fireworks then doing nothing is not an option.