Ayrshire politicians back new law which could see people need license to buy or use fireworks

Ayrshire politicians are in favor of a proposed new law which could see people in Scotland needing a license to buy or use fireworks.

The Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill, published last week, aims to reduce the negative impact of fireworks and pyrotechnics and limits their use to certain holidays and festivals including Hogmanay, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Vaisakhi and Guy Fawkes Night.

Under the new law, it would be a criminal offense to buy, possess or use fireworks without a license, with offenders facing fines or up to six months in prison.

The Bill also grants local authorities the powers to set up ‘firework control zones’, with councils able to restrict the use of fireworks in these areas, although professionally organized or public displays may still be allowed.

The proposals have received support from Ayrshire MSPs and councilors who agreed that stricter regulations of fireworks use are needed.

Councilor Chris Cullen said he is in favor of the Bill – particularly after the explosion in his ward in Kincaidston in October.

He said: “Everyone will have fond memories of growing up and witnessing the wonderful visual fireworks display at special events and bonfire night, but with the beautifully designed and choreographed display also comes the loud and for some, scary bangs.

“With reference to the large explosion in my ward only months ago, there are still a large section of society very much affected by sudden loud noises and fireworks can trigger a lot of PTSD; not to mention the impact on quite a lot of animals.

Cllr Chris Cullen says 'stricter regulations are vital to ensure a safer more responsible use' of fireworks
Cllr Chris Cullen says ‘stricter regulations are vital to ensure a safer more responsible use’ of fireworks

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“Reducing the noise impact whilst retaining the visual aspect is an excellent way to address this problem.

“Stricter regulations are vital to ensure a safer more responsible use which will benefit all.

“I welcome the progress on this bill and am fully supportive as this directly impacts myself and my ward.”

Siobhian Brown, Ayr SNP MSP, said the proposals aren’t a case of “being anti-fun” but would help monitor responsible use of fireworks, reducing pressure on emergency services and the NHS due to firework related injuries.

She said: “As well as the damage to people and property, fireworks cause a great deal of distress to the elderly, veterans, young children, and those with conditions like autism.

“As humans, most of us can rationalize the noise, understand it and get through it but pets, farm animals and wildlife cannot.

“We’ve all seen harrowing videos and images of animals struggling to cope and quaking in fear. As a dog owner it’s upsetting for me to watch Ruby cower in terror at the noise.

“I would always advocate going to an organized display, but the introduction of licenses means anyone buying fireworks will have to do so in a responsible way.

“This isn’t a case of being anti-fun. These explosives are too easy to get a hold of and can be used to cause nuisance to others.

“I am often contacted by constituents who are at their wits end with this type of anti-social behavior and I am confident they will also welcome these proposals.”

South Scotland Tory MSP Sharon Dowey added: “It is common knowledge that some people and animals find fireworks distressing. “Fireworks can be really dangerous and that’s why I’m glad the use and sale of them is controlled.

“Personally, I can see plenty that is good about these proposals but it is important that a balance is struck between enjoying fireworks safely and robust regulations to prevent antisocial and illegal behaviour.

“The Scottish Conservatives will look at any proposal with an open mind.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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