Tackling Anti-Social Fireworks Use

An expert group that includes police, fire and animal welfare representatives has called for the introduction of no fireworks zones and tighter restrictions on the purchase and use of fireworks.  

The independent Firework Review Group has submitted its final report to Ministers, urging a fundamental shift in the way fireworks are bought and used.

The call comes following widespread public support across Scotland to reduce the negative impact of fireworks.

The group, chaired by former Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay, has recommended a number of measures be taken forward, including:

  • the introduction of mandatory conditions when fireworks are purchased from retailers
  • restricting the times of day fireworks can be sold and volume of fireworks that can be purchased at any one time
  • restricting the days and times fireworks can be set off
  • the introduction of no firework areas or zones
  • the creation of a proxy purchasing offence to prevent adults from buying fireworks on behalf of those under the age of 18

Responding to the report, Community Safety Minister Ash Denham told Parliament:

I welcome and fully endorse these recommendations and thank Alasdair Hay and the members of the Review Group for their diligent work, especially in recent months during the pandemic.
“We are determined to keep all of Scotland’s communities safe from the harmful use of fireworks and the group’s findings will help us achieve that.
“I will now explore how these recommendations can be implemented, within the powers available to Parliament, and bring forward legislation to make these a reality.
“With Bonfire Night approaching, it is vital the public continues to adhere to the rules on meeting up with other households to help stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). If someone does plan on using fireworks I would urge them to please do so responsibly and safely and to be mindful of their neighbours. I would also ask them to consider the various harmful impacts the noise of fireworks can have, including on our veterans, those with sensory issues and on our pets and livestock. Adapting alternative celebrations and sticking to the rules in place can go a huge way to ensuring everyone’s safety.”

Chair of the Review Group Alasdair Hay said:

“I am pleased to set out the recommendations from the Firework Review Group.  We have carefully considered the available evidence, and believe a step change is needed in how fireworks are accessed and used by the general public.
“This is not to prevent adults using fireworks sensibly and safely – rather, to ensure all safety requirements are fully understood and adhered to, and the impact on others has been fully considered.” 


Firework Review Group: Report to the Scottish Government.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham’s full statement to parliament.

Guidance on Bonfire Night Safety is available online from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Parent Club.

The Scottish Government’s Fireworks Action Plan ‘Promoting the Safe and Appropriate Use of Fireworks in Scotland’ was published in October 2019.

The Scottish Government’s public consultation on fireworks ran for 14 weeks and closed in May 2019. 16,420 responses were received. It found:

  • 94% of people want to see tighter controls on the sale of fireworks
  • 93% want to see stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of fireworks misuse
  • 92% feel there should be tighter controls on fireworks use
  • 87% would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks

The full membership of the Firework Review Group is:

Chair – Alasdair Hay, CBE QFSM

British Firework Association

British Veterinary Association

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde/ Care of Burns in Scotland

Police Scotland

Scottish Ambulance Service

Scottish Community Safety Network

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Scottish Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators

Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland

Veterans Scotland

British Pyrotechnics Association

Community representative Edinburgh

Community Representative Blackburn


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