Scotland - Fireworks - consultation outcome

08 Oct
2019

The Scottish Government has just published the results of its recent consultation on fireworks. The focus of the consultation was on gathering the public's views on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland.

In total, 16,420 responses were available for analysis. In addition to the online consultation, 29 events were held across Scotland and a range of social media platforms were used to seek people's views.

Answers to the closed questions to the online consultation included:

  • A majority of respondents, 70% of those answering the question, reported that they had been affected by fireworks used in an irresponsible or unsafe way.
  • A very substantial majority, 94% of those answering the question, thought there should be more controls over the sale of fireworks. Individual respondents were more likely than organisations to think there should be more controls – at 94% and 78% respectively.
  • A majority of respondents, 87% of those answering the question, would welcome a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public in Scotland. Of the remaining respondents, 10% would not welcome a ban and 4% were unsure. Individual respondents were much more likely than organisations to think there should be a ban - at 87% and 40% respectively.
  • A very substantial majority, 92% of those answering the question, thought there should be more controls over how fireworks can be used in Scotland. Individual respondents were more likely than organisations to think there should be more controls – at 92% and 73% respectively.
  • A very substantial majority, 93% of those answering the question, thought there should be more controls to make sure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering because of the use of fireworks. Individual respondents were more likely than organisations to think there should be more controls – at 93% and 80% respectively.

Key themes to emerge from the further comments of those favouring more controls or a ban were:

  • General comments in support of a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public or on the general public having access to, and being able to use, fireworks.
  • Frequent references to the harm fireworks can do, particularly in relation to pets, wildlife and livestock.
  • Associated concerns about the period over which fireworks may be released and that they are increasingly being used at any time of year, but in particular between October and January
  • Reports that fireworks are being used in places which respondents considered inappropriate, such as back gardens in built-up residential areas or near fields containing livestock.
  • Concerns about fireworks being set off in locations where it is not legal to do so, such as in the street or other public places.

Views of those who did not favour more controls or a ban on sale to the public included:

A substantial proportion of respondents who were not looking for more controls or who did not support a ban also made further comments (ranging from around 280 of the respondents who did not favour more control on sales up to around 920 respondents who did not favour a ban).

Key themes to emerge from the further comments of those who did not favour more controls or a ban were:

  • Concerns that a ban or further controls would represent a curtailment of freedom of choice and would be a 'nanny state' solution to a relatively minor issue. There was also a view that it is neither fair nor reasonable to penalise the responsible majority for the actions of the irresponsible few.
  • Pet owners need to take responsibility for the care and training of their animals, including ensuring that they become used to loud noises.
  • There was also a view that the Scottish Government is listening to, or risks being swayed by, a small but vocal minority, including amongst them irresponsible pet owners who have not properly trained their animals.

The full results can be found here: LINK

Law correct at the date of publication.
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