Scotland

MSP wants small fireworks displays in Scotland banned

Fireworks Image copyright Thinkstock

A Labour MSP has been branded a 'killjoy' after he called for small fireworks displays to be banned.

David Stewart said he is not against bonfire night, but he thinks more could be done to improve safety.

He tabled a motion that said small events cause "annoyance and anxiety" to people and animals and he wants people to attend bigger, organised displays.

But another MSP said they are a chance to "bring family and friends together to enjoy an evening outside."

The Highland MSP told the Call Kay programme on BBC Radio Scotland that his primary concern is safety, but he still wants people to enjoy fireworks.

Scared animals

Mr Stewart said: "I've looked at some child statistics over the last few days and the Child Accident Prevention trust said that 500 children under the age of 16 were rushed to A and E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night. They were mostly boys between 12 and 15.

"I've also been in touch with a number of animal welfare organisations who are concerned about the effects on animals over bonfire night and up until Hogmanay.

"What I want to see is a move towards more education and a move towards more community events.

"For animal lovers, if they know there is an organised event nearby they can make other plans for that evening."

He added: "No-one is suggesting that people won't be able to use their fireworks as they always have done in the past. Legislation is strict about when you can buy fireworks and when you can use them.

"But what concerns me is the accident rates and the effect on young people, the elderly and vulnerable people. I think we can enjoy bonfire night and improve safety."

The Labour politician has been labelled a killjoy by SNP MSP Kate Forbes who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

She said: "Since I was a little girl, I've been going to fireworks' displays organised by several cousins.

"It is a relatively small affair with a few fireworks set off at the bottom of the garden and we all have a great time.

"The fireworks go off whilst fireworks in the neighbours' gardens are also going off so I really don't think it's uniquely disturbing.

"Of course we want folk to take extra care with fireworks, but I have faith in the people of the Highlands, and Scotland, to enjoy this time of year responsibly."

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