A group led by a former fire chief is looking at potential restrictions of fireworks in Scotland.
The review group, commissioned by the Scottish government, will consider introducing controls to fireworks on private properties.
Curfews and no-fireworks zones will also be looked at as part of a plan to address widespread concerns.
Former fire chief Alasdair Hay, a firefighter for more than 30 years, has been appointed chairman of the group.
‘Reduce the damage’
Community safety minister and MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, Ash Denham, launched the fireworks action a week before Bonfire Night.
Although legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster, Ms Denham said “a full and frank debate on how fireworks are sold” was needed.
Included in the plan is a proposal to set out guidance for community groups on safe public displays.
Earlier this month figures showed strong public support for tighter regulations after campaigners called for action to end the “misery” caused by fireworks.
More than 16,000 people responded to a Scottish government consultation. It found that:
- 94% want tighter controls on the sale of fireworks
- 92% feel there should be tighter controls on fireworks use
- 93% want stronger regulations to ensure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering as a result of fireworks misuse
- 87% would support an outright ban on the sale of fireworks
- 70% reported being affected by fireworks used in an irresponsible or unsafe way.
A separate YouGov survey, also commissioned by the Scottish government, found 71% of respondents supported tighter controls on the sale of fireworks and more than half (58%) backed a ban.
Ms Denham said: “Our fireworks review group will now consider how best to use the powers at our disposal to drive forward action to reduce the damage caused by fireworks misuse.
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“We want to ensure that every community is able to enjoy fireworks without fear of their inappropriate use and I look forward to working closely with communities, key partners and the fireworks industry to achieve this.”
Animal welfare charities welcomed the move and cited examples of pets, birds and farm animals having been “terrified” of noises caused by explosives.
Gilly Mendes Ferreira from the Scottish SPCA said: “For years we have supported tighter restrictions on public use due to the stress and anxiety caused to animals.
“Most calls report animals being injured trying to escape the noise of fireworks, including dogs running onto roads and being hit by oncoming traffic, swans flying into electricity pylons and horses being badly hurt after running through barbed wire fences.”
OneKind director Bob Elliot added: ”Our supporters have shared stories of their animals’ panting, shaking and pacing and being too terrified to go outside even after the fireworks have stopped.
“One supporter even has to find isolated accommodation for Bonfire Night each year as her 11-year-old dog is so terrified of the noises.
”We appreciate that the sale of fireworks is not a devolved issue, and so look forward to Westminster’s response to the possibility of making this a devolved matter and the potential of tighter restrictions on sales, something overwhelmingly supported by the Scottish public and could be a real benefit for Scotland’s animals.”