Fireworks regulations in Scotland

I share your concerns regarding the number of injuries related to fireworks. I believe it is vital that the misuse of fireworks is kept to a minimum and they are prevented from being a nuisance and a danger to both people and animals.

Since January 2005 the sale of fireworks to the public has been prohibited, except for from licensed traders. However, fireworks can be sold by unlicensed traders for Chinese New Year and the preceding three days; Diwali and the proceeding three days; Bonfire Night celebrations; and for New Year.

While the UK Government is responsible for legislation on the sale of fireworks, the Scottish Parliament has devolved competency over laws concerning their unlicensed use in public. Under the Fireworks (Scotland) Regulations 2004, it is an offence to use fireworks after 11pm and before 7am, except on permitted fireworks nights, when the times are extended.

In addition, the inappropriate use of fireworks is considered antisocial behaviour under guidance produced alongside the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004. Police in Scotland also have stop, search and seizure powers under Section 76 of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 in relation to offences under the Fireworks Act 2003.

I am aware that over 108,000 people have signed a petition to the UK Parliament on fireworks and that this issue will be debated on 29 January 2018. The UK Government has stated that it has no plans to review the existing legislation, and there are no plans from the Scottish Government to review the use of fireworks in Scotland.

I believe that we need to ensure that the existing legislation (at both the UK and Scottish level) is monitored and enforced. I am therefore concerned about cuts to trading standards departments across the UK and the impact this may have on their ability to monitor the illegal sale of fireworks. Trading standards organisations should have the resources to deal with the illegal trade in fireworks. I also believe that if existing legislation is combined with a stronger public information campaign, it may be possible to ensure fireworks are used responsibly and safely without instilling fear and distress in people and animals.

Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I can assure you I will continue to follow this issue closely and bear in mind the points that you raise.