Local authorities have new powers to reduce the negative impact of fireworks.
From 22 June, councils can designate Firework Control Zones that would make it a criminal offence to ignite a firework, or knowingly throw a lit firework in a zone which can include private properties or gardens. The maximum penalties are a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison.
Organised public firework displays will still be permitted within Zones to allow people to enjoy fireworks safely.
The provisions are one of the key measures from the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Articles (Scotland) Act 2022.
Firework Control Zones are part of a suite of complimentary measures being introduced by the Scottish Government aimed at encouraging the safe and appropriate use of fireworks. Earlier this month, new offences came into force to tackle the risk to public safety caused by the misuse of pyrotechnics. It is now illegal for members of the public to possess pyrotechnics in a public place, as well as at any sporting or live music events with more than 1,000 people attending, without a reasonable excuse.
The creation of Firework Control Zones was included in recommendations made to the Scottish Government by the independent Firework Review Group alongside limiting the quantity of fireworks which can be sold and restricting the times of day when fireworks can be used in public . These recommendations have already been progressed through primary and secondary legislation, with a programme of work underway to implement the remaining measures.
Minister for Victims and Community Safety, Siobhian Brown said: “Evidence and engagement with communities shows strong public support for tougher action on fireworks, which along with other pyrotechnic articles can cause harm, serious injury and distress to people, pets and the wider community.
“Giving local authorities additional powers to create Firework Control Zones, with input from the local community, marks a significant step in tackling the issues caused by fireworks, which are dangerous when used inappropriately.
“This change to the law demonstrates our absolute commitment to further improve public safety and wellbeing for our communities.”
Police Scotland Chief Inspector Nicola Robison said: “Fireworks Control Zones allow local authorities the power to designate areas where fireworks cannot be possessed or set off and ultimately restricts the improper use of such items in Scotland.
“It is a criminal offence to be in possession of, or setting off, fireworks within a Fireworks Control Zone and I would urge all members of the public to be aware of designated zones within your local area to ensure you are not in breach of the legislation.
“Police Scotland is committed to keeping the public safe from the risk of harm associated with the reckless and criminal use of fireworks and we welcome the addition of Fireworks Control Zones within Scotland.”
Review Group member, and Director of Innovation and Strategic Relations at the Scottish SPCA, Gilly Mendes Ferreira said: “We warmly welcome introduction of Firework Control Zones. The restrictions are much needed to prevent unnecessary suffering among pets, farm animals and wildlife. They will help to alleviate distress caused by fireworks and also prevent any firework debris that can be harmful to, or ingested by, animals.”