Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Holyrood passes new restrictions on sale and use of fireworks

(Danny Lawson/PA)
(Danny Lawson/PA)

Legislation bringing in new restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks has been passed by Holyrood, despite concerns that it could create a “black market” for pyrotechnics

Community safety minister Ash Regan insisted changes in the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill would play a “key part in reducing the harm, the distress and the injury” that can be caused.

However Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene raised concerns that by creating a licensing scheme and limiting the number of days when fireworks can be sold, the Bill – which was passed by by 84 votes to zero with 25 abstentions – could lead to stockpiling and the creation of a black market.

He branded the legislation “bonkers and nonsensical”, adding he was “not convinced” it would achieve its primary aim of improving firework safety and reducing the harm caused.

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene spoke out against the changes (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

The Bill will only allow fireworks to be bought and used by members of the public at certain times of the year, including Guy Fawkes Day, Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

It creates a new licensing system which will mean members of the public will need a licence to buy and use fireworks, while businesses will have to check if those buying pyrotechnics have a licence.

It will also become an offence to give fireworks to a child or buy them on behalf of a child.

Councils will be able to establish firework control zones where it will be an offence for fireworks to be used – by either the public or professionals – other than in a firework display or essential purposes.

“The Bill balances the legitimate right to use fireworks and pyrotechnics with the need to protect public safety,” Ms Regan said.

“Without the protection this Bill provides many people and animals will continue to be deeply affected by the use and deliberate misuse of fireworks and pyrotechnics.

“Without the additional restrictions proposed by this Bill people will continue to suffer life-changing injuries, with many requiring months of physical and psychological aftercare.”

Mr Greene said while restrictions around the days when fireworks can be bought and sold “sounds like a great idea”, there were “genuine, vocal concerns about stockpiling, about the black market and the white van man scenario, and this could get worse, not better”.

He added that the Bill “randomly selects certain religious festivals but excludes others”, meaning the legislation could be challenged in the courts.

It would also create the “bizarre situation” where people are barred from setting off fireworks in their own garden “but if you can afford a company to do it that’s fine”.

Mr Greene continued: “You can be refused a licence if you have committed arson but not an act of terror.

“It doesn’t regulate online sales nor does it stop people crossing over the border to England for their stash.”

Labour’s Pauline McNeill also highlighted a “knock-on effect” of the legislation would be “the risk that people will turn to the black market”.

She said: “The extent to which the Bill was rushed through Parliament means we did not get a chance to examine this properly.”

Despite the “many flaws” in the Bill she said Labour would back it.

Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie also gave his support, saying the proposals were supported by the police and fire services.

He insisted the changes were not “about limiting fun”, telling MSPs: “This is about making sure everyone can have fun, not those who would misuse our traditions and misuse these fireworks as weapons.”

The SNP has hit out at the Scottish Conservative’s opposition to the bill, however.

SNP MSP Audrey Nicoll said: “By failing to support tighter controls on fireworks the Tories have chosen not to protect public safety in our communities, not to reduce the burden on our emergency services and not to support efforts to create a safer Scotland.

“Regulating the use and sale of fireworks has clear public support and Douglas Ross’s party have once again ignored people across Scotland.

“Whilst the Tories continue to do nothing more than oppose for the sake of opposing, this time risking public safety, the SNP will continue to take action with the powers at our disposal to create better, safer communities for us all.”