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Tuesday, 14 November, 2023

Firework exclusion zones unlikely to be in place by Bonfire Night study

Firework exclusion zones unlikely to be in place by Bonfire Night – study

Powers to ban fireworks in problem areas are unlikely to be in place for Bonfire Night after councils failed to launch the necessary consultations, analysis by the 1919 magazine has showed.

In June, local authorities were given the ability to create areas where it is illegal to set off pyrotechnics with the introduction of the firework control zones legislation.

But councils must hold an eight-week minimum consultation period before the zones can progress, followed by a further mandatory two-month notice period.

But the justice and social affairs magazine has revealed that no local authority in Scotland has yet launched a consultation, meaning it would not be possible to have the controls in place by November.

The law stemmed from long-term campaigning from police officers following significant disorder around Bonfire Night in 2022, where the force struggled to tackle gangs of youths in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.

The disorder saw fireworks launched at police, and patrol cars smashed up, while hundreds roamed the streets with golf clubs and baseball bats.

David Threadgold, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, told 1919 magazine that the findings were “extremely disappointing” following rigorous campaigning.

He said: “Police fought hard for these zones – they are crucial to the safety of officers and the wider public, especially over the Bonfire Night period.

“It’s extremely disappointing that it seems unlikely any of these will be in place this year.

“It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to decision-makers that these powers were coming, they’ve been on the table for some time.

“It’s no exaggeration to say police and other emergency services have their lives placed in danger around this time of year.

“By having these zones in place, much of that risk would be reduced.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Firework control zones, alongside other measures within the Firework and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act, have been developed to support a long-term cultural change with fireworks, not a quick fix.

“The Act provides local authorities with new discretionary power to designate, amend or revoke a firework control zone within its boundaries.

“It is for local authorities to utilise these powers based on their own assessment of the needs of their communities.”

A spokesman for Cosla, the umbrella group for local authorities, said: “It is rightly for local determination by individual councils whether they want to use this new power or not and – if they do – they’ll need to consult with local stakeholders and communities in advance.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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