Scottish Government seeks views on fireworks restrictions

Should the sale of fireworks be banned altogether - and what other measures could ensure they are used safely and responsibly?

This SSPCA poster highlights the sometimes lethal danger fireworks post to pets.
This SSPCA poster highlights the sometimes lethal danger fireworks post to pets.

Those are among key questions the Scottish Government wants people to consider as it tries to find ways of answering long-running concerns.

Years of complaints about the noise and terror caused by fireworks - and the danger of serious injury - have sparked a consultation on whether currently relaxed laws need to be overhauled.

Westminster controls the sale of fireworks - so Holyrood cannot directly impose a ban - but the Scottish Government controls their use north of the border.

However vigorous campaigning down south has so far had no discernible effect, and even if many Scottish consultation responses demand a ban on sales there’s no guarantee action would follow any time soon.

When East Falkirk MP Martyn Day last year asked in the Commons if there were plans to reduce the noise level of fireworks - a key concern - he was bluntly told there were not.

The noise limit is currently 120 decibels, and despite pleas for quiet fireworks - or even silent fireworks - that is seen as satisfactory.

However for Mr Day and many other Scottish politicians the complaints continue, with a noticeable spike around November 5 and over the festive season.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: “From Hogmanay to summer festivals to Diwali and bonfire night (ie “Guy Fawkes Night”), fireworks are a focal point of a range of celebrations through the year.

“Most people enjoy fireworks responsibly but if used inappropriately or without respect for others they can cause great distress or even physical injury to people and to animals.

“From conversations with members of the public and emergency service workers I am aware of concern about the use and sale of fireworks to individuals.

“We want to work with others to reduce the negative impact of fireworks and the public’s voice is vital in shaping our approach going forward”.

He added: “While much of existing legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster, we hope this consultation will identify any gaps in the law, and highlight where the regulation of fireworks could be improved. “

The consultation will run until May 13.