Edinburgh Council leader '˜delighted' with moves to curb fireworks
Edinburgh council chief has backed government moves for tighter controls on the sale of fireworks after a co-ordinated approach to quell Bonfire night trouble in the capital proved successful.
Local authority leader Adam McVey said he was ‘delighted’ the Scottish Government has opened a consultation aimed at curbing anti-social behaviour linked to the use of fireworks.
Community safety minister Ash Denham wants to hear the public’s views and a consultation will begin next year.
The study will consider measures to reduce their misuse, including restrictions on where and when fireworks can be used.
The feedback will influence ongoing discussions with the UK government about legislation governing the sale of fireworks, which is currently reserved.
In Edinburgh this year a cross-agency approach including a clampdown on the sale of fireworks, the introduction of dispersal zones and engaging with youngsters from hotspot areas, was hailed as effective in curbing a repeat of 2017 trouble when there was widespread disorder across the capital.
In the days around Bonfire Night reported antisocial behaviour in the city fell from 747 incidents in 2017, to 552 incidents in 2018.
Police said that equated to 195 fewer calls and a reduction of 26%.
Overall offences involving fireworks in the capital also fell by 11% in comparison to the previous year - 28 fewer incidents.
Mr McVey told the Evening News: “It’s hugely encouraging the Scottish Government is looking into the actions they can take to tighten controls on fireworks to avoid a repeat of the scenes last year.
“ A number of legal levers which would make a real difference are still unfortunately under the control of Westminster and although the UK Government has shown little interest to date I am delighted the Scottish Government is taking this forwards and I hope the Westminster will now follow the Scottish Government’s lead and look again at tighter sale controls. ”
Ms Denham said: “Many people enjoy attending fireworks displays but I am very aware from conversations with members of the public and emergency service workers that there is growing concern about the use and sale of fireworks to individuals.
“The hard work of the police and fire services to tackle dangerous and anti-social behaviour helped to reduce the number of bonfire night incidents this year.
“However, there were still a number of concerning reports and I am keen to hear the public’s views on the impact of fireworks and action we could take to improve the situation further.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service welcomed the consultation, which will be launched early next year.
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, said: “Our service welcomes any wider public debate around matters of safety, which includes fire, and in particular the use of fireworks.
“We therefore also welcome this consultation.”