Fireworks: Scottish government survey finds support for tougher controls

FireworksImage source, Getty Images

Campaigners have called for action to end the "misery" caused by fireworks after a government consultation found support for tougher controls on their use and sale.

Almost everybody who responded to the consultation wanted to see tighter regulations.

It was launched after a series of fireworks attacks on the emergency services last year.

Ministers said an action plan would be announced later this month.

More than 16,000 people responded to the Scottish government consultation. It found that:

  • 94% want tighter controls on the sale of fireworks
  • 92% feel there should be tighter controls on fireworks use
  • 93% want stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of fireworks misuse
  • 87% would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks
  • 70% reported being affected by fireworks used in an irresponsible or unsafe way.

A separate YouGov survey, also commissioned by the Scottish government, found 71% of respondents supported tighter controls on the sale of fireworks and more than half (58%) backed a ban.

The results of the consultation were "overwhelming", according to Danny Philips, a community campaigner against fireworks.

"Communities have made it absolutely clear, in one of the largest consultations ever by the Scottish government that they are looking for action from government to end the misery caused by fireworks in so many communities across Scotland," he said.

"We need to ban the sale of fireworks, restrict the use and get more police on the street."

Mr Philips added: "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met Pollokshields residents last year and promised action. We only have one month to go to bonfire night 2019.

"It is disappointing that we are still waiting to hear what that action will be."

Image source, Getty Images

Researchers who conducted the survey heard reports that fireworks were being illegally set off in streets and other public places.

And respondents told them of concerns that adults are buying fireworks and passing them on to young people and children.

The consultation was launched after fire crews and police officers came under attack last Bonfire Night.

In Glasgow, police officers had fireworks thrown at them by a group of up to 40 masked youths.

Animals injured

The Scottish SPCA said most of its firework calls related to animals trying to escape the noise of fireworks.

"Incidents include dogs running on to roads and being hit by oncoming traffic, birds - such as swans - flying into electricity pylons, and horses being badly injured after running through barbed wire fences," said its head of education and policy Gilly Mendes Ferreira.

"We will continue to work closely with the Scottish government to improve animal welfare surrounding the use of fireworks."

Legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster but Scotland's Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: "I will work with stakeholders to look at the powers we have to drive forward action to reduce the damage caused by fireworks misuse."

She added: "I will update parliament shortly on our intended action to ensure fireworks are used safely and appropriately."